The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades
I’m a bit late on jabbering about the release of Google Glasses: The miracle eyewear that does everything a smartphone does, except make you look like a member of Devo. But timing really doesn’t matter because the future is unfolding 20/20 before us—revealing how blind humanity is going to be in no time.
Already notable tech prophets are crying in the cyber wilderness about how our privacy is going to take yet another crucifixion. A Seattle bar has already banned these devices in a preemptive but hopeless strike against eroding civil rights. Drones on the left side, Google Glass on the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you, oh dying Bill of Rights.
Any debate against these devices will ultimately fall on deaf ears (until Bill Gates comes up with Microsoft Earpiece, although it will mostly be to mask his eugenics programs). Google Glass will be a ubiquitous reality in all of civilization. Remember, we live in a society where consumers have been trained to gleefully pay for water in a bottle, nutrition in a pill, and crappy music for 99 cents. It’s going to happen. Steve Jobs famously said that consumers don’t know what they want, in the sense that they always have a “want” that just needs to be filled by some Solomonic CEO.
Yet there is a deeper meaning to all of this, though, beyond the tragedy of the collective human vision. Let me explain, no, let me sum up: They say the eyes are the windows of the soul. Google Glass will be the window to your ego.
Think about it. With Google Glass, all your unhinged personas in cyberspace will constantly be at your side, chaperoned by corporations with only the best interest in your psycho-logical development. The Facebook ranter, Twitter stalker, Pinterest nihilist, Reddit pervert, and all your other Internet Id’s will float before you at all times of the waking day. It’s kinda like having a hundred Tyler Durden’s shouting at you while trapped in a 24-hour Fight Club.
Sure, many wonderful bits will continually flash before you like The Matrix code, but the only that will truly count will be the numbers of your credit card to the highest bidder, as your awareness of the outside world dims.
You get the Grumpy Cat picture, but perhaps the cruelest tragedy will be Google’s coup on an essential component of Americana—the powerful and cultural symbol that are glasses.
Consider such films as Risky Business, The Blues Brothers, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Glasses represent the individualist and pioneering spirit of the American ethos. Think of Jack Nicholson at a Lakers game; Roy Orbison belting an ethereal serenade on television. Without glasses, the Terminator is just another homicidal agent of a despotic government, not the badass symbol of a world ruled by technology (okay, maybe that’s what Google wants).
I know my examples are shades, but Harry Potter and the bigot from Falling Down prove that eyewear of any kind is part of the hero with a thousand Ray-Ban’s.
Regardless, whatever these timeless images mean to us, they will soon be lost—or more like reversed—because Google Glass and its inevitable spawn will monopolize the American game of cool. Kill it. Sterile toxins of unimaginative consumerism will be injected into our exposed egos, inflating them into tumors of collectivism, and then directly into our souls. Then even Heaven won’t let our cancerous spirits in.
It’s ironic that in John Carpenter’s cult-classic movie, They Live, electronic glasses are the tool used to reveal that our society is controlled by bloodless creatures with an insatiable lust for capitalism and group thought. Now, it seems, eyewear is going to do exactly the opposite.
Again, there is very little we can do. Once you’re the only person in the office or at the bar not looking like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, it’s going to be difficult not to fall into herd mentality. The truth is that marketing exploits our fear of being an outcast far more than our desire for nonessential stuff; and no one markets better than the Baron Lords of the Internet. To make matters worse, whenever the notions of being an outcast and herd mentality are there to be misused for any reason, the government is always there to put its jackbooted stamp of approval.
In time and at this rate, George Orwell won’t be turning in his grave but asking God in Paradise if there’s something wrong with his prescription. Steve Jobs will appear right next to him telling him that what he “wants” was wrong all along. And we’ll be his willing accomplishes.
Or make up a less corny ending to this 80's sci-fi existence we've officially entered.