Mike Brown: Death of Intimacy

I’m a huge fan of evolution. The fact that I don’t go to church anymore is not because I’m mad at my parents or was touched in my special place by a bishop (or something like that) but because church could never explain to me where dinosaurs came from … but evolution could. It also solidifies my belief that God and Jesus were made up by capitalists. I don’t care if other people believe in god or aliens or other shit that I can’t see, but if there is a god I just have a picture in my head of some weird old dude taking bong rips and making shit like platypuses and the Gaza Strip just to keep himself entertained all day.

Illustration by Tim Odland

As far as humanity goes, I personally feel that humanity is evolving at an astonishingly fast rate. I feel this is mostly due to technology; thanks, nerds. It wasn’t that long ago that cell phones were only for doctors, drug dealers and assholes in movie theaters. Before that, it was pagers. Remember pagers? Now there is no difference between a pager and an eight track. I could totally show a sixth grade classroom how a pager worked and they would be blown away in the same manner of when I was in sixth grade and some old lady came to our class and showed us how to churn butter.

So what do I think we are evolving into? Mostly a bunch of fucking pussies afraid of hugging. Granted I’ve always been weird about hugs, I don’t know why, but I hate it when someone I don’t really know hugs me. My personal bubble is very sturdy. So if you ever get a hug from me, you’d better appreciate it because I don’t do that shit very often.

How do I think this weird form of evolution happened? Two things mostly: Myspace and text messages. I’ll go into the two separately. (While I was wrighting this very paragraph the SLUG editor sent me an IM asking me what my article was about and when I told her she IMed me back saying, “what about ichat? You love ichat!” I told her that it was totally different. Why is it different? I’ll get to that later you impatient fucker, read the rest of the article.)

My only real experience with Myspace was when I started covering the skateboard shit for SLUG. I felt at the time that the local skate scene was getting a little soft and boring and needed some life breathed into the zombie fest. So, I decided that I should start a fake Myspace page and a fake column to go along with it under the alias Brodie Hammers. The Brodie Hammers section of my column was strictly for shit-talking and rumors. My idea was that kids could be Brodie’s friend and inform him of lies and stupid shit that their buddies did. Any skater could post on Brodie’s Myspace page something like, “My friend so-and-so switchflipped the perfect 8 first try and then he pooped in the shower.”

I also incorporated a handful of skaters who shall forever remain nameless, to inform me of different local skateboard rumors. So many people thought Brodie was cool but he caused quite a bit of controversy and it seemed best to end it before the SLUG office got fire bombed.

But … the Myspace thing creeped me out. Most of Brodie’s friends were 15-year-old skateboard kids, and no one seemed too intent on interacting. The number of friends you had seemed more important than how often you communicated with people; quantity, not quality.

It makes perfect sense for using Myspace for commercial purposes, but to me it seems like a fucked up way to find friends. Rupert Murdoch now determines how popular someone is. He already feeds us most of our news; this is very fucked up in my opinion and friendships can be created and deleted with the click of a mouse instead of over a cup of coffee or bottle of whiskey. I opted to make zines, real pages that people can touch instead of pages that people can delete.

I was recently engaged in conversation with a woman who told me about how one of her old roommates, who was very reserved, was only able to explain his deep platonic love for her via text message. The two have been friends for years and he couldn’t let her know that he appreciated their friendship any other way but through a teensy weensy cellular tellular? Excuse me while I call this guy a pussy.

But this is often the case and why I think texting turns us all into pussies. It’s easy to be intimate when you don’t have to look the person in the eyes, thus killing intimacy. It’s a nice big social safety net.

I personally have to admit that I’ve replaced my nicotine habit with cleaver texts I hated smoking but I used to do it anyway. And now here I am, writing this article, jonzing for my five-minute text break.

I think instant messaging isn’t as much of a BFD as texting. Our cell phones are always with us, our computers aren’t (yet). I used to be afraid to go to the dentist because I thought he’d put a government microchip in my molar but now he doesn’t have to. We keep our microchip tracking devices voluntarily and we call them cell phones.

I think in about 1,000 years or so humans will evolve into this: Man will reproduce through a USB cable that connects to his penis and plugs into his computer. He can go to his Myspace page, click on the VBJ tab (virtual blow job) and upload his seed into a test tube stored in a Rupert Murdoch branded sperm bank. Women can insert a special 30GB flash disc/dildo contraption up their canyon that ships eggs to the same sperm bank. Then you can click on your friends tab and create a baby without any hassle and minimal emotional connection. Babies will be made there in the Rupert Murdoch baby facility and raised by cute little robots that look kind of like monkeys until they are old enough to fit the same USB cables and Flash disks up their genitalia.