Saturday, September 8, 2012

Brick Biplane

Unless you couldn’t guess, Bike&Chain was among the first books to mimic Internet surfing. Conceived in 1990, it paralleled Internet becoming commercial and going from 1% of trafficked information to 97%. Like network news and websites, its discussions are shallow and short, hopping randomly among peaks, substantiated only by reader’s willingness to accept unclaimed authority. Hitherto, books carried stamps of academic, ecclesiastical or editorial approval, studied topics in depth, and wasted a lot of time for those wanting to arrive at destinations before they die. Not quite true, encyclopedias also abbreviated facts and were arranged alphabetically for fast access, but were originally intended to end guilds, who held processes secret to exploit wealthy patrons. Once anyone could manufacture necessities, middle class and shared justice manifested widely.

A truism says, “Only in hometown and own house has a hero no honor.” Some homebodies do get cred and props. As with any generality, it’s only true so often; a broken analog clock correctly indicates time twice a day. Familiars are jealous, friends forgive your faltering first steps, and neighbors never expect anything worthwhile to whelm among them. Conditioned by availability of remote news, they tend to hire from afar, look toward horizons, marvel at successes elsewhere, and neglect own. Why is “World class” never local? It’s taboo to mingle within tribe; you don’t date relatives. Improves courting efficiency and gene pool to connect abroad. Even then, obstacles remain in bicker addiction, misogynist backlash, puerile provocation, and stranger suspicion.

Art could reflect society, but since so homogenous emotionally, genetically, and intellectually is there enough diversity to distinguish itself meaningfully? A Borg collective would be as busy and dull as a beehive, a featureless monolith. If your project doesn’t succeed in being downright different, it flies like a brick and nosedives into plain noise. Some argue that individuality is no longer a necessity, only cooperative actions stimulate progress, and thinking for oneself is offensive. Yet a stack of generalities can’t withstand onslaught of one weakling channeling might of Universe. Minds don’t even need a bicycle to spin through space and time, and that one fact is establishment’s worst fear. But Bike&Chain is only an insane paper plane tossed into a hurricane; from it there's no telling what readers will gain or retain, whether bane, mundane or wittily urbane.

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