It’s So Meta

The most frightening thing I watched this Halloween weekend was not any one horror movie, in a marathon of movies, but the Mark Zuckerberg replacement of reality with the Metaverse.

This isn’t an anti-gaming crusade or even an anti-Facebook rant against Zuck and his many friends

Nor is it meant to reinforce the mean girl curated social media image of his supposed alien-like appearance.

not that there’s anything wrong with that #channelingmyReginaGeorge

Nor is it even a knock against his status as one of the five richest MEN in the world.

(Note: He’s at $97 B, trailing Bezos ($177 B), Musk ($151 B), Arnault ($150B), and Gates ($124 B) )

It’s a WARNING to everyone that FACEBOOK has NO INTENTION of NOT enabling FAKE NEWS. 

Instead, they want to take this further and build us into a FAKE WORLD.

In essence, the plan is to invest his many billions to capitalize on a virtual reality universe where Facebook backs, empowers, sells and controls as much of the marketplace as possible. 

… the same thing we do every night, Pinky

A planet where we each sit alone in our rooms but live in a pretend state of traveling the world daily.

An existence where we spend our real money on fake things that only the more, or even less, pretty AVATAR version of us can use.

A personally curated (Note: with a lot of help from Facebook and its holdings) version of our life where we believe that what we SEE or HEAR or PARTICIPATE IN through our glasses, headsets and brain harnesses are truly us.

Does no one remember Google Glass?

What Zuck is advancing, and putting his many billions behind, is humanity existing in a space that is now so technologically advanced that real and virtual will merge to the point where which is what will be truly indecipherable. 

And the majority of the goods and services and technological manipulators of this plane will be Facebook financed, controlled or backed derivatives.

EXCELLENT

In his two-hour mind-numbing video where he officially attempts to rebrand Facebook as META, Zuck admits that in many ways this sounds like a science fiction movie.

But he attributes that merely to the fact that technology has not yet advanced far enough on a massive scale for us to be able to truly experience and appreciate what he has in mind.

I beg to differ.

Though I’m far more technologically challenged than Zuck (Note: Though as a fellow pale-skinned N.Y. Jewish guy, he does make me look positively sun-kissed, so I do win on that), I get it. 

I truly do.

What he is proposing is a 2021 reboot of the 1978 remake of a classic 1950s horror film, one that I watched this Hallow’s Eve weekend on Turner Classic Movies –

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.

AHHHH!!

I actually had NEVER seen the quite compelling and now also classic 1978 film starring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams and Jeff Goldblum, based on the 1954 horror novel.  But I was familiar with its plot.

A San Francisco health inspector (Note: It’s a doctor in the original) and his female co-worker discover over a few days that humans are being replaced by alien duplicates that are perfect copies of them BUT devoid of human emotion.

In the film this is done through human exposure to tiny, irresistibly fragrant pink flowers, each of which has initially miniscule alien pods with the secret capacity to replicate into ANY ONE OF US if given a googol of a chance.

Welcome to the Metaverse

It’s an insidious little m-f-cker because it was specifically designed to smell that damn good to all of humanity AND can infiltrate that damned fast through the human subconscious. 

And if all of this DOESN’T sound familiar perhaps you are already one of these pod people and the Body Snatchers story was never fiction at all.

Sadly, the longer I live through the 21st century, the more I am sure of exactly that.

Not to bring down the room or tempt any flower on my patio, or virtual reality device within 500 yards…um.. miles.

In any event, here’s what all this, that movie and, consequently, the reimagined Meta of it all, tells me:

Zuck has learned NOTHING from the last four years of misinformation and insurrection enabled by Facebook. 

So lifelike!

Check that, he’s a smart guy so he has learned something.  And that is how to take advantage of what we perceive to be his mistake of allowing a virtually rule-free platform of false information, since doing so might curtail ad revenue from lucrative sources and lower his profit margins. 

So basically what he has decided to do is make it far more difficult for us to spot disinformation since, with extended exposure to this new, proposed Meta lifestyle, our reality will become our Facebook generated Avatar reality. 

And with all of his billions behind all his planned technological advances, this fake existence will become far easier to enable and far more difficult to disengage from (Note: It’s worth noting that the 10 minute section of his presentation addressing policing offers no concrete plans for any enforcement whatsoever but merely advanced the idea that it will take us all TIME to figure this out and that some controls are indeed, encouraged).

I’m with Amy and Tina on this one

Oh, Zuck.

Meanwhile, this new world he touts where we won’t be experiencing the world through videos and social media posts but where YOU WILL BE IN THE EXPERIENCE is pretty darn sparkly.  And in true 21st century entrepreneurial style it will take advantage of where VR is now and harness all of it to make YOUR LIFE FULLER.

Though, I don’t know, is fuller the same as BETTER??? 

Just asking for a friend.

Nevertheless, with the wave of a hand, the flick of a wrist, or merely moving your fingers an eighth of an inch on your pants leg, you will be able to transport your hologram self to Europe in a second, attend a John Baptiste concert with your buddy on the opposite coast AND go to the after party with her (Note: Yes, Mr. Baptiste appears in that video), or type an email merely by thinking about it.  That is if you’ve got the right Ray Ban sunglasses on (Note: Yup, they’re tied in, too.) or the correct mini device on your physical body channeling your brain waves.

Could we use some billions to like… do anything else?

It’s the perfect setup where you can have even the most casual (or business) interactions without ever having to commute and sit in traffic because your AVATAR will do it all while you experience it.  Well, sort of.   And he or she or its non-binary version, if you prefer, can navigate in a nanosecond.  You will feel like you are LIVE…and A-live….with anyone.

But you won’t be.  You will be communicating through IT or, perhaps, a proposed hologram, and begin to believe, through repetition, that this IS…YOU.  Much in the way that many of us believe, through repetition, that a fake news story that isn’t real IS REAL because it’s been repeated so many times.   

Sounds tempting, no?

I’m done here

Not to this still barely human being who admittedly IS spending too much time at home still because of the global pandemic.

On the other hand, by the time this all happens en masse my breed and me will likely be long gone or, at least, on our way out.  

So we won’t be much of a factor.

But don’t say I didn’t warn you about virtually everything.  Assuming you can even remember we had this…um…conversation.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers Scream

The Golden Zooms

The bar wasn’t very high for the 78th annual Golden Globe Awards and, clearly, that’s the way the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press like it.

In fact, co- hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler literally joked to us in TV promos leading up to Sunday’s ceremonies:

The stakes have never been lower!

Followed by:

Come on, you need this as much as we do.

You know it!

By any definition these awards are now, have been, and always will be, the equivalent of three slices of sheet cake after an 18-hour nightmare day of zoom calls.

Certainly there’s nothing wrong with that.  We all need our stress relievers.  Be they desserts, drugs, one-night stands or a triple margarita dinner. 

But in the halcyon non-pandemic, pre-insurrection days some or all of those would have followed a bad shift at work or seeing your ex at the movie theatre with a ridiculously hot new squeeze.

Not a year’s plus worth of semi-isolation, mask wearing (note: or defiance) and near encounters with armed government or citizen militia.

Not great… not great

This automatically elevates each guilty pleasure we now choose.  I mean, if you’re gonna devour three pieces of a tacky cake it better well g-d damned be sugary, chocolately and stick to your mouth buttery.

In the same way, if you willingly decide to spend three hours plus in front of your TV screen watching celebrities accept awards voted on by a bizarre group of 87 international entertainment journalists, none of whom are Black (Note: As we were continuously reminded of all during the show), well that show better darn well be as cheesy, hilarious and train wreck dramatic as an episode of anything you could watch anywhere else on TV during the past year.

You know, the awards show equivalent of Nicole Kidman (and her coats) in The Undoing

Which is, well, quite A LOT.

Given that very high LOW BAR, this year’s Globes were a bit of a… letdown. 

Oh sure, they weren’t entirely half-bad.  Many deserving film and TV artists won and both Tina and Amy snuck in a few clever bon mots.  (Note: They even enabled the perfect Maya Rudolph to cleverly wander onto the stage in full diva drag).

Not to mention, there were some lovely speeches from two legends: 98 year-old Norman Lear (Note: Laughter and family is the key to longevity, folks) and 83 year-old Jane Fonda (Note: Art historically leads our way so it must include diverse voices).

Hollywood royalty (and Jane, girl, you have never looked better)

And the heartfelt words of Chadwick Boseman’s widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, tearfully accepting his posthumous best actor honor for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom:

He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you, ‘You can,’ that tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing…”

Still, given all of our current circumstances their words were ultimately dwarfed by the smallness of these awards from this very dubious of organizations.  Especially when it is compared to the largeness of the disorganization we are all experiencing daily in these strange end of times we’ve all been living through.

This feels right

So as much as I was personally thrilled for Andra Day’s win as best actress for resurrecting the spirit of Billie Holiday in The United States Vs. Billie Holiday, or the great Aaron Sorkin being rewarded for yet another seemingly unadaptable story with his screenplay for The Trial of the Chicago Seven, I couldn’t help but wonder –

Why the hell am I watching three hours of celebrity zoom clips masquerading as a prime-time network TV special controlled by a group of people I and many of these recipients have little or no real respect for?

Too much?

Is this exaggeration? 

Jason’s sweatshirt sums it up pretty well

Well, maybe just a little bit.  Amy and Tina were live on different coasts.  Jane joined Amy live at the Beverly Hilton and presenters such as Chris Meloni (Note: Yes, SVU’s Stabler is back on NBC April 1st and No, that’s not April Fools) joined Tina live at NYC’s famed Rainbow Room.

In addition, a few real-life celeb couple presenters like Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, showed up non-socially distanced/actually touching in an effort to help us remember that human beings can still stand skin to skin in real time and in real life, live or even on a stage.

Was I expecting this? #mybrainisbroken

Still, these moments were few and far between. All other presenters went solo.  And those others who were close and unmasked could only be viewed in their homes or in a hotel room via another dreaded Zoom shot.  (Note: And by this time we all have learned to be suspect at the very sight of any person, place or thing that instantly pops up at us via a platform as fuzzy as that).

Is the Chair losing patience with all of this after more than year and taking it out on the Globes???  Or just lost it??

 Of course he is!!  And has!!

CHAIRY! Stay calm! Think about Jodi Foster’s dog!!!

But when you’re promised sheet cake and still get nothing more than a continuation of the very enlarged computer screen you’ve come there to avoid, then what else can you expect???

The following is a list of this year’s Golden Globe Winners:

“I’m So Tired” – The Beatles