file under: cool hand luke

The following is the running monologue from Oz 52: "A Failure to Communicate." I thought it was interesting.

Augustus Hill: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. So from the starting gun, it's all about the Word, all about communication. Couple million millenia go by, along comes man. God wants somebody to chat with. Turns out, man wants more than that. Man wants the gossip page and phone sex, reruns of Seinfeld and auctions in cyberspace. Man has got his own plan as far as communication goes and the inventions to see it through. And poor God…

Antonio Nappa: …he's still got no one to talk to.

The printing press changed the world forever, and for the better. Bibles got printed in vernacular, rather than Latin, bringing God out of the Dark Ages, out of dark corners, to ordinary folks like you and me. But imagine old Gutenberg at a newsstand today. Think he'd be proud of paving the way for Juggs, High Times, and Soldier of Fortune?

One day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell uttered through a wire: "Watson, come here, I want you." 130 years later, we're talking through satellites. Strange, huh?, that before hanging up, we say, "keep in touch," when there's never any touch involved — no contact! — just cables and frequencies. Still, to get an "I love you" call in the middle of a shitty day — that makes a cell phone seem miraculous.

Midway through the 20th century, man wants communication without communication. He wants to sit in his living room and watch people in a box fall in love, work, sing, golf, cry, fuck and fuck off. Television: a one-way conversation between you and the world, where the world does the talking. Like God, man can finally create man in his own image, and then kick back and watch all sorts of shit hit the fan.

Back in the 60s, the Department of Defense created the internet. Little did they know they were mixing concrete to build the global village. There's nothing concrete about it though. People get digital mail from electronic boxes, they congregate in chat rooms that have no walls and no doors. Millions around the world have instant access to each other and stores and food and entertainment. But, if it's such a revolution in communications, why do studies show the more time one spends online, the more isolation one suffers? [yes, why do they, JON?]

So what's next? Microchips in the brain? The ability to read each other's minds? Too late! A primitive tribe in the other Oz (Australia) already beat us too it. They talk by not talking. Yeah, they're way, way ahead of us in the realm of communications, and they didn't have to invent squat to get there. They stayed connected in the original sense, in the aboriginal sense.

When man goes collectively mad from downloading all the mental messages in the air, when there's no trees left 'cause we needed all that paper for the printing press and therefore are left with no oxygen to breathe, then satellites will fry from overuse and drop from the sky. Then we'll make desperate cell phone calls to our loved ones, while watching Mother Earth's last days on reality TV. Communications will be once again what it was in the beginning —

Hill: the Word, moving over the face of God, who now, instead of wanting to talk, is tired of listening.

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