Snowcrash in 2018: A hopelessly optimistic dystopia

Neal Stephenson’s breakout ‘post-cyberpunk’ novel, Snowcrash, injected a heaping dose of realistic hard science fiction to slap down the more fanciful mind-uploading cyberpunk worlds of vague geometric ‘data’. Instead, Stephenson imagined a video-game like ‘Metaverse’ very much like many virtual worlds and massively-online games that exist today.

“Didn’t anybody tell you that I was a hacker?” Hiro tells an opponent after hacking him to pieces in an online sword fight. In 1992, this didn’t mean that he was a cheater, it just meant that he was a skilled computer programmer.

Snowcrash “Gargoyles” are nerds who wear bulky computers on their body, too immersed in an augmented reality to carry on a decent conversation. Today, high powered pocket computers, ‘smartphones,’ make nearly everyone a gargoyle.

Time has revealed this seemingly cynical novel’s boundless optimism, and it’s not just a handful of small ‘jetpack’ moments like these. Stephenson’s antagonist, L. Bob Rife, is the stereotypical bad guy depicted by Silicon Valley monopolists even today. His plot to control the ‘technological priesthood’ through ancient religion is foiled by Hiro’s swashbuckling antics. But the telecoms who handle the internet’s hardware aren’t controlling anybody’s minds or forming vast unaccountable monopolies that have any influence except over the bottom line at YouTube and Netflix. This is, in fact, the same antagonist that Silicon Valley has forced onto the world through so-called “Net Neutrality” campaigns even as their libertarian-individualist-disruptive monopolies usher in a disturbing and terrible age of right wing mind-control that makes the mind-control dystopia of Snowcrash look like the Hundred Acre Wood. The hacker elites are not the target of mind-control. If only. They are the hapless and often red-handed purveyors of ‘fake news’ propaganda, anti-semitism, and other horrors out of last century, rather than ancient Sumeria.

Hiro Protagonist works for the CIC, a privatized CIA, which pays good money to internet users for uploading videos and other content. If only neoliberalization ate the military intelligence institutions and turned them into some entertainment apparatus like YouTube, except with fair pay! The one important thing Snowden’s revelations have shown the public is how privatized military intelligence is only opening up possibility for more and more abuses. In Snowcrash, the relics of the US government are depicted as the bad guys, colluding with the unregulated mind-controlling L. Bob Rife. It is more than a bit curious that one of L. Bob Rife’s central missions is importing vicious criminal refugees to the US, and chief among them is a Native American sexual predator.

While still a bit edgier and more fun than its bland and shitty counterpart, Ready Player One, Snowcrash has aged very poorly over just the last few years. If it predicted anything, it was only the narrow and terrible world that Silicon Valley and their heroic hackers have built for us today.

“YouTube Homesteader” Jesse Stafford Dead after Construction Accident

Jesse of Pure Living for Life died Friday in a tragic home building lifestyle decision gone wrong.

INTERNET — Jesse Stafford of Pure Living For Life passed following a tragic construction accident, Friday evening after trying to repair his new home’s leaking roof.

Pure Living For Life recently drew controversy from the YouTube Homesteader community after Jesse went “on-the-grid,” rigging a 300 amp line directly into his garage’s bedroom.

“The first snowfall ripped all the screws right out of our house,” Jesse uttered in this fateful last video, titled Is this THE END of JESSE on Pure Living for Life?!? The video, which includes graphic footage of Jesse’s death, has received over 10,000,000 views, earning his surviving partner, Alyssa, a Platinum YouTube button.

“Yeah, I’m not so sure about these products,” Jesse moaned, “We doublescrewed the whole house and they still didn’t hold. Everyone said they were good screws but I guess what does the internet know.”

The house’s famous Structural Insulation Panels, buckled and dangling into the badly cracked foundation, funneled a stream of water directly into the exposed 300 amp electrical box.

“Now I know a lot of YouTube safety people are going to say this isn’t safe, but I’m going to install a bigger ridgecap, which should finally be big enough, put the glue down first this time, and see if another 7 cans of foam will fill in the extra gap. THAT should solve our little ‘electrical’ problem.”

Climbing up a hand-made wooden ladder, Jesse howled into the wind as Alyssa tried to stabilize the drone. “Now this will get some clicks! Woooo!!!” Fans noticed this was the first time Jesse had ever worn a toolbelt, but instead of tools he had filled each pouch with cans of insulating foam and clipped even more cans to the back.

Fans noticed that the timber frame structure of the house, which was attached to the foundation only with a few toenail screws, is shown totally detached earlier in the video. Moments after removing the first piece of the leaking ridgecap, an immense creaking can be heard as several of the Shelter Institute’s joints give way and another corner of the timberframe slips off the foundation. As the Structural Insulation Panels are shorn across the splitting roof, a cloud of sytrofoam obscures the view of the cameras. Several minutes pass, and the drone footage shows a scene that only gradually becomes clear. Alyssa is standing in her garden next to a ball of foam that has engulfed Jesse. A hundred jars of Verde Salsa are embedded in the surface of the foam.

Jesse’s cause of death has not been determined, but Dr. Angstrom H. Troubador of the Bonner’s Ferry Hospital told reporters, “All seven of the cans of foam split open within a second, and because there were two different brands with just the right catalysts, the foam expanded almost explosively and set up before he even hit the ground. Whether he was squeezed to death, suffocated, cooked by the immense heat, or was somehow poisoned by the toxic gases remains to be seen. It was likely some combination of all of these, but it looks like the foam at least shielded him from the worst of the fall from the roof.”

Alyssa has retreated from the public eye for the moment and there is no word on the future of Pure Living for Life.

Chris Nemelka: Advancement Opportunities

Christopher Numb Milka’s new book is about advancement of person, place, and time.

It resembles his previous works in every way, except this one is called Advancement Opportunities and You: Christopher Nemelka’s guide to enlightenment through entheogens, having sex with Chris, and doing heroin, probably also with Chris.

He is married to the Oxford comma, even in titles. But what is Christopher NOT married to? A wife!

Now that’s advanced.

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A short radio test will follow.