The brilliant Linh Dinh‘s latest, an interview with João Guimaraes, includes reflections on the hyperreal vs. authentic (i.e. mediated vs. reality). Synchronistically, my latest essay begins: “There are disasters, and there are media representations of disasters. But what if representations are the worst disasters of all?”
Even more synchronistically: Last Monday night, after I had triumphantly finished that piece on the horrors of life on the internet, which includes a rant against cell phones and a modest amount of bragging about how I do everything on only one device—a laptop—I used “force shutdown” to turn off my laptop for the first time in months (it wouldn’t shut down normally)…and faced a real disaster the next morning when it froze and wouldn’t boot up.
I spent the week with a dead laptop and hardly any access to the internet. Google and Microsoft froze my gmail and Skype accounts because some weirdo in Morocco (me) was trying to log in using somebody else’s device (my wife’s phone). My recovery phone, a landline in Wisconsin, no longer exists.
In short, it was a week from hell. The moral, I guess, is that instead of slagging communications technology, I should be grateful that Allah has permitted me to finally get the laptop up and running in time for today’s show.