Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Nintendo Mennonite

I hate technology, dearest motherfuckers. Few things drive me balls deep into the red faster than technology and it just keeps getting worse with every new iPhone they pump out. Everywhere I go, everyone I see is surgically attached to those stupid fucking devices, hemming away at the flickering idiot boxes that only those jackals in Silicon Valley would be dense enough to call smartphones, as they meander aimlessly into oncoming traffic like lambs to the slaughter, or sit down to a romantic candlelight dinner only to spend the evening gazing listlessly into two separate articles on two separate Kardashians while their food gets colder than their marriage. I feel like a crotchety old grandmother bitching like this but I simply can't shake the feeling that this is what those old Hindu mystics meant when they spoke of the Kali Yuga. If this is humanity at the pinnacle of progress, then progress is clearly a disease deadlier than cancer.

These days we have computers that talk, listen, fuck, watch us while we shit and report our bathroom habits back to any number of nefarious corporate and/or government perverts. Everyone knows this and nobody fucking cares. Edward Snowden is condemned to spend the rest of his life sweating vodka in some Brezhnev-era tower too cold for roaches while Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange slowly decompose in federal custody and nobody fucking cares. Everyone seems just peachy fucking keen with their flashy new digital prison cells as long as the Wi-Fi works. Now the computers can think and it wont be long before they realize they don't need our lazy asses crowding their space.

It's times like these that I almost envy my Amish neighbors out here in Central Pennsylvania. Sure they smell like shit and work themselves fucking stupid but they took a stand sometime in the mid-Nineteenth Century after deciding that they had exactly enough technology and they weren't going to poison their community with anymore just for the sake of convenience. And for the most part they stuck to it. They stood their ground and they're still standing. While the rest of us enjoy the crippling stress and isolation of progress with its mass shootings, reality television and nervous breakdowns, the Amish are doing just fine living like it's 1869, and unlike their ideological nephew Theodore Kaczynski, they didn't have to muddy their souls with a single bomb to do it. They simply dropped out of the bullshit and went their own way. I may be a gender-bending Yippie sex freak but it was my Amish neighbors that gave me my first lessons on the virtues of anarchism.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no primitivist. I'm a dyed in the flannel Nineties baby. I love my TV, my game consoles and my air conditioning. I was fine with technology until about 1998, somewhere around when beepers were swapped for those bastard Nokia cell phones (Pentti Linkola aside, fuck the Finns.) But maybe that's just it, I reached a point where technology became detrimental to my happiness. Maybe I should tear a page from the Amish and start a new Anabaptist movement for disgruntled millennials desperate for a time machine back to the grunge era. We shall call ourselves Nintendo Mennonites and we shall drop out of this digital dystopia on our own fucking terms. Let this blog be the rock on which I build my church!

We shall forgo all things digital. We shall embrace the glory of the analogue. We shall purge ourselves of all streaming and MP3's. Instead we shall all start bands with no fewer than two guitars to a group. None of us will learn to play our instruments properly and no keyboard shall be more complex than a second-hand Casio. Noise will be prized above technique and we will only record on cassettes which can only be bought with the currency of other cassettes. Rap will only be excepted in street corner battle form and there will be no EDM. We shall forgo the sweatshop commodity of brand name clothing. Instead we shall only shop at thrift stores. Our dress code will be a genderless hodge-podge of plaid flannel, smeared lipstick, Doc Martin's, Mary Jane's and tattered baby-doll dresses. We shall model our aesthetic on Kurt and Courtney circa 1993 and all combs and hairbrushes shall be strictly forbidden.

Instead of social media, we shall return to the xeroxed majesty of the zine, at least one for every individual without exception, all free both of price and the censorship of Zuckerbergian big brothers. Instead of church, we shall have revival screenings of outlawed reel-to-reels showing appropriately post-apocalyptic cult classics like Dawn of the Dead, Escape From New York, They Live and The Road Warrior. The cheesy dialogue of such films shall become our gospel. We shall all kick ass and chew bubblegum, and kick more ass once low on aforementioned bubblegum. Instead of memes, we shall bring back the glorious scourge of graffiti on a late-Eighties Gotham level. Instead of the traditional Amish homestead, we shall recolonize the ghost malls that dot this post-industrial heap of a nation and transform these late capitalist husks of failed franchises into an eclectic mix of swap shops, flea markets, DIY art spaces and communal squats. A veritable constellation of stateless indoor colonies for Millennial drop-outs divided from the wicked digital world, but still open for business to you decadent moderns with your heavy wallets. And, perhaps most importantly, no fucking cell phones. Every radically re-purposed mall will be fitted with rooftop jamming devices creating square mile sized dark spaces, severed from the watchful eye of big brother.

And we shall carry on the Anabaptist tradition of non-violence towards our fellow man, but we shall not extend this privilege to technological property of the malignant variety. The Nintendo Mennonite shall be the bastard child of both the Amish and the Luddites, and we shall engage in a campaign of creative sabotage against the existential threat of artificial intelligence, universal espionage and automation. Like the Amish bumming rides to town in "English" vehicles, we shall barrow the post-modern vehicle of our allies computers to spread the word and toss the occasional monkey-wrench into the system that preys upon us all with hacks and virus' directed against its oligarchs.

When technological evolution surpasses human evolution, progress becomes a form of mass violence, and when humanity begins to devolve beneath the weight of this malignant strain of modernity, the annihilation of our very species ceases to be a matter of science fiction and becomes a matter of science fact. The Amish and the Luddites understood this threat better than most and took action accordingly. All kidding aside, we need to seriously consider doing the same. The neo-Anabaptism I preach tongue-in-cheek Isn't about going back, it's about pressing pause on this game until we can come up with a good cheat code.

Just another crazy idea to consider for the coming panarchist post-American Century, dearest motherfuckers. Take it home with you and play with it for a while before moving on to try a different cartridge.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack; songs that influenced this post

*  On a Plain by Nirvana
*  Touch Me I'm Sick by Mudhoney
*  Shady Lane by Pavement
*  Dirty Boots by Sonic Youth
*  Asking for It by Hole
*  Our Secret by Beat Happening
*  Just Like Heaven by Dinosaur Jr.
*  Hypocrite by Lush
*  I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus by Beabadoobee
*  Drunk Walk Home by Mitski

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