A hundred years from now, when our century joins human civilization in its conclusive temporality, what will our page in the history book look like?
My wager is on a pop-up ad.
When TV sold people shit, it was unequivocal. It wasn’t ashamed about coming off as crummy. Because what was your alternative? Stop watching? “Over my broken balls.”
The internet put an end to that tyranny. Consumerism, it told us, was an acquired taste. It even gave us an option to turn off the ads. And it was free.
“There’s got to be a ball clamp to this.”
Yeah: While retaining its inbred schemes, the thing that was sold changed.
This thing needed constant attention to be effective. This thing that the dumber it was, the more popular it got. This sleepwalking. The greasiest product to be sold in the history of selling:
Congrats on narrowly beating out hand-jobs on craigslist.
We are the product. And the reviews haven’t been great. There’s too many of us. We are our greatest distractions. We’ve became as symptomatic as a fly squatting on shit.
Writing about us will feel like using a lint remover to get rid of dandruff.
Still, when I see an ad, I fall for it—and its central treatise:
“You are missing out.”
The sharing economy is a trickle-down of the sellout economy. Behind the veil of education and comfort is the callous conspiracy to automatize every part of our lives and convince us we could always be doing something else. Something more. Something that’s not this.
In the web crawl that is humanity’s quest to find itself, the 21st century is an acid trip of advertisements. Products to make your life better. Promises to get to your destination quicker. Pretensions to look more sensitive than ever.
It’s why a pop-ad is a consummate swan song.
How do we salvage this?
What do I know? I just needed something to write about, so I sold out to another essay trashing my species. Maybe it’s about time we miss out. Not because we can do it all (when has that stopped us), but so we can see what we have. To finally look at the part that cannot be automated. Sold.
The thing you are sure will change your life never does. Everything magical happens in the time you are hankering for something magical to happen. By becoming objects of attention, we have lost the one thing that was our salvation all along:
The 21st century:
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