Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Futurist

Hace poco terminé un libro que no solo disfrute mucho sino que además me impresionó: The Futurist de James P Othmer. El protagonsita de la novela, JP Yates es un individuo de cuestionable moral que tiene como ocupación detectar modas y tendencias, anticiparse a ellas y vender sus conocimientos al mejor postor. Cuando su don se agota, lo único que puede poner a la venta es su prestigio, dando discursos alrededor del mundo que se adaptan a las necesidades del que lo tienen en nomina y lo pone en un asiento de primera clase. Desde que la leí desconfio aun mas de los medios. De los expertos. De los voceros. De los gobiernos. Esto que pego a continuacion es un discurso que da Yates en casi al comienzo de la novela. A ver si lo leen y les interesa.

JP Yates' "Coalition of the
Clueless" Speech at Futureworld in Johannesburg I realized this morning over breakfast with a prostitute with whom I did not have sex who is a better human being than all of us that I’ve spent a good portion of my life seeking the approval of people I can’t stand. Including myself. The truth is, I know nothing. Understand nothing. I try. I am not lazy. But the more I try to understand something the more intertwined and complex it seems. The more I realize I am out of the proverbial loop. The literal loop. The existential loop. The more I think of things the more I question whether anyone is properly looped. In fact, I challenge the very existence of the loop, proverbial, literal or metaphorical. So this is a fundamental problem, being out of a loop that I don’t even believe in. Most books or movies or creation myths have a hero who knows all there is to know about at least one thing. And they use that gift to overcome an obvious and blatantly evil adversary. They have insider knowledge. Special gifts. Ingenious ways of getting to the core of things. The answer. The solution. The truth. They know what’s right and wrong. They know what’s next. And they know what to do about it. I don’t. I don’t understand the present, let alone the fucking future. Yet we claim to understand. Pretend to. Some actually believe it, that they do know. You know the people. The ones who talk about things with such cocksure passion that you think, Shit, maybe they do know, maybe they really do. They speak in absolutes. Blacks and whites. They speak with soothing partisan simplicity. They speak with their hands and use Power Point like a sword. They quote people you ought to know more about. They work on a privileged higher plane and posit their views with a condescending subterranean confidence, convincing you not to worry, that forces are at work on other levels, levels that simple folks like us cannot even begin to fathom, so it’s best to not worry your little head about it, and to trust us, the experts, that this is the way it is. And the way it will be. People get rich and powerful operating this way, perpetuating the myth of the uber-level, the exclusive loop. Dispensing their wisdom and opinions and edicts to the masses. Breaking down the conflicting moral, political and economic issues of 52 billion people into a binary proposition. Yes or no. War or Peace. Good or bad. With us or against us. Ginger or Marianne. Presidents work on this level. And dictators. Talk show hosts. Professional wrestlers. Actresses on the steps of the Capital. Conservatives. Liberals. The members of VFW Post #442. CEOs. Madison Avenue. Wall Street. Sesame Street. They’re all in the loop. All working on another level. I’m not. I don’t believe in the sacred loop or the secret level. In fact, I think the more people claim to absolutely know, the more clueless and insecure they absolutely are. Of course I can’t be sure of this. Which brings me to us. And to me. Who do we think we are? Who did I think I was? How can I call myself a futurist when I missed the most cataclysmic event of our time? How can I predict tomorrow when the world is on fire today? How did I see reality TV coming but miss this? And let’s be honest: we all did. We make all these pronouncements but none of us ever goes back to check on their accuracy. Shit if the people in this room were right just one percent of the time we’d all be telecommuting from Tahiti, eating dinner in pill form and having literal sex with our virtual selves. You talk shit long enough, sooner or later you may actually be right and if by some fluke that is the case watch out, because any successful prediction is always followed by the cannibalistic scramble for credit. The blood grab to brand an original thought as your own. We all want to be the first to be there to identify a “click moment” but we live in a world that may never click again. We’re great at telling people the future they need to buy into instead of the present one they ought to be making the most of. And what’s hilarious is that we all believe it. That we are geniuses. That we are all responsible for and deserving of our wealth. More deserving of the privileged life than, say, a teacher or a mason. A cleric or a hot dog vendor. Despite the fact that 99 percent of us did not create our good fortune. The markets did. Or luck. Or heredity. I believed it. But not any more. You see, we may be able to identify cool but we can never invent it. Cool is never manufactured. You never try to be cool. It happens. Same goes for goodness. And truth. And the only truth I know…is that I know nothing. And even though you may dress the part – the Missori scarves, the yellow jumpsuits, the tiny glasses, the all whites, the all blacks, the nehrus, the sandals, the magic glasses, the glittering gadgets -- none of you know anything, either. Sorry about that. We are not innovators. We’re fucking abominations. To paraphrase someone smarter than me, but who still knows nothing, the philosophical task of our age is for each of us to decide what it means to be a successful human being. I don’t know the answer to that but I would like to find out. In the meantime, I know absolutely zilch. I am the founding father of the Coalition of the Clueless.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Tengo varias semanas sin escribir nada ¿Qué he estado haciendo? Comí toneladas de pizza en Chicago y oí a Julito un millón de veces maldecir la ciudad porque sus cheques de viajero no eran aceptados en ningun lado. Instauré, con Lynn, los martes de domino. Estoy planeando una revista nueva con Golfo. Celebrando que vamos a pasar Halloween en compañía de Daft Punk. Sorprendido con el nuevo disco de Common. También me gusta mucho el de The National. Y una canción nueva que me envió Pepe Moogt. Este update está un poco austero. Pero el chiste era reiniciar la actividad.