Daily Archives: July 16, 2009

Charlie Brooker on our over-dramatic loss of faith

But this is just one small part of the ongoing, almighty detox of everything. There’s been such an immense purge, such an exhaustive ethical audit, no one’s come out clean. There’s muck round every arse. But if the media’s rotten and the government’s rotten and the police are rotten and the city’s rotten and the church is rotten – if life as we know it really is fundamentally rotten – what the hell is there left to believe in? Alton Towers? Greggs the bakers? The WI?

The internet. Can we trust in that? Of course not. Give it six months and we’ll probably discover Google’s sewn together by orphans in sweatshops. Or that Wi-Fi does something horrible to your brain, like eating your fondest memories and replacing them with drawings of cross-eyed bats and a strong smell of puke. There’s surely a great dystopian sci-fi novel yet to be written about a world in which it’s suddenly discovered that wireless broadband signals deaden the human brain, slowly robbing us of all emotion, until after 10 years of exposure we’re all either rutting in stairwells or listlessly reversing our cars over our own offspring with nary the merest glimmer of sympathy or pain on our faces. It’ll be set in Basingstoke and called, “Cuh, Typical.”

What about each other? Society? Can we trust us? Doubt it. We’re probably not even real, as was revealed in the popular documentary The Matrix. That bloke next door? Made of pixels. Your co-workers? Pixels. You? One pixel. One measly pixel. You haven’t even got shoes, for Christ’s sake.

As the very fabric of life breaks down around us, even language itself seems unreliable. These words don’t make sense. The vowels and consonants you’re hearing in your mind’s ear right now are being generated by mere squiggles on a page or screen. Pointless hieroglyphics. Shapes. You’re staring at shapes and hearing them in your head. When you see the word “trust”, can you even trust that? Why? It’s just shapes!

Right now all our faith has poured out of the old institutions, and there’s nowhere left to put it. We need new institutions to believe in, and fast. Doesn’t matter what they’re made of. Knit them out of string, wool, anything. Quickly, quickly. Before we start worshipping insects.

via The Guardian.

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