Episode One Hundred and Sixty: After All; 2014 (7)

by danhon

0.0 Sitrep

My wife and I have two pieces of slang that we use around the house: the first, over text message, is invariably SITREP when one of us is looking after our son. How’s everything going? Has he pooped? Is he awake? Has he gone to sleep? What has he broken? Was it his limb, or someone else’s limb? The other one is *babby* – a stupid reference to the infamous Yahoo! Answers Question, How Is Babby Formed. Babby, in this case, is the one who’s just done a gigantic poo, finally.

1.0 After All

It’s easy to poke fun and stuff and easy to rail at things that other people do and put out into the world. I could try, but in the end I wouldn’t be able to top this quote from Anton Ego in Pixar’s Ratatouille:

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.”

It’s hard to do, to be a friend to the new. At the old job, the culture was that as a creative director, you had to protect fledgling ideas. They were too frail, too easily bent or broken or challenged at the early stages to survive out in the world. That’s why the entire creative department had to sit on its own floor, why strategists and planners and account people weren’t invited to creative reviews and if they were, had strict instructions to be seen but not heard.

I would like to believe – I think we don’t really have a choice but to believe – that most people, most of the time, have good intentions at heart. And that it can be the state of the world and the environment that grinds us down, because how else are you supposed to react to an indifferent universe? There’s good stuff out there, and whilst it’s not like there’s a duty to be optimistic and kind to the things happening in the world, perhaps we need to be – or I need to be – to help the things we want to happen, happen.

So, I’m going to try again. The new stuff. The stuff that makes us feel excited, *should* make us feel excited. That is an achievement and whilst it might not be completely there yet, is still pushing us in the right direction and is taking us forward. Is better, and can be made better. That stuff.

2.0 2014 (7)

Hundreds of thousands of sensors monitor the sleeping patterns of people worldwide, allowing a private company to pinpoint the exact second that an earthquake roused people in Napa, California. We see 3D data regularly depicted as LIDAR point-clouds and voxels, we use pixelated models more than ever before to interpret our surroundings. Millions of people have watched a goldfish play videogames, live on the internet. We can make images of objects using less than one photon per pixel. There are at least thirteen active robotic solar system missions. American Football players committing domestic violence, witnessed by surveillance camera, are ex-post-facto removed from popular videogames. There are now nine documented cases of people who have lived without a cerebellum. Scales that measure your weight and are connected to the internet geolocate themselves, accounting for fluctuations in gravity around the planet. A citizen science project has found evidence that humans can gain the ability to see into the near infrared just by eating lots of vitamin A2.

12:10am. iPhone 6’d up. I am a puppet, pull my strings.