THE DIGITAL DISAPPEARING

“Well, I came upon a child of God.”

Baby Boomers are next in line to die.

What next?

“Boomers” had a considerable impact upon the culture to this point but the culture from this point seems determined to burnish the past, all of it, if possible.

Boomers out on the pavement thinkin bout the government but soon no one will ever know, just as no one now really cares.

“We are stardust. We are golden. We are caught in the devils bargain. And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

We are the net result of our tools and our tools are remaking life, living, working, learning, playing, and dramatically impacting our physical and mental parts, making it so there’s no way for anyone to go back, to live as before, to be like those before, and so — in defiance and in rage and in glory and in fear — those who are next will seek to destroy, literally, all the signs, symbols, relics and leavings of those from before.

All the great artists of the Baby Boomer age, even The Beatles, who are peerless, will soon be publicly scorned, the controllers of the levers of popular culture deriding anything that smacks of the past attempting to seep into the now.

All the grand symbols of Baby Boomer culture will be torn down.

The Vietnam Memorial does not celebrate America, American greatness, nor heroism. It is a dark reminder of a stark time, a time that influenced Baby Boomers probably more than any other. By, say, 2029, the Vietnam Memorial will be toppled. Likewise, the arenas which the boomers took over and made their own, universities and media, in particular, will be fully de-constructed.

This is messy stuff.

But what of when everything’s all digital, virtual, erasable?

When destruction is clean.

Should we place any restrictions on what and who may be erased, and why?

Feasible: In 2022, your watch informs you that you are allotted an additional 32g of protein. You walk into the market and your earbuds list all your available rewards and coupons. Your smartphone automatically shares your location with your spouse and children, whose reminder bots also speak in your ear, urging you to buy them some chips. Your purchases are logged, the money instantly debited from your preferred account, as your steps are recorded, along with your caloric consumption, which is instantly sent to your primary care physician, whose algorithms alter — just slightly — their recommendations for you, which then reduces the cost of your medical insurance, all while this flow of data is beamed to a university, one whose research study you approved of, which is examining your longevity and all of those with similar DNA.

Potential: None of this happens, not one bit, because you — in a fleeting fit of foolishness — mocked a recent government decision. Or went online and derided a beloved cultural icon, or made a joke which all the right people found to be sufficiently repellant. Or are a Canadian country artist, like Shania Twain, and dared suggest that America’s president, presently Donald Trump, isn’t so bad.

Thought crimes are the new accounting.

We are already actively engaged in the digital disappearing of those guilty of offenses to the senses.

On social media:

NBC was quick to remove all photos of Matt Lauer off the “Today” show’s social channels following news that the longtime co-host has been fired amid a sexual harassment allegation.

As of Wednesday morning, “Today’s” website, Facebook page, and Twitter account have been scrubbed of Lauer’s name and picture.

In film:

Ridley Scott said he quickly decided to replace Kevin Spacey from “All the Money in the World” after hearing the news of his sexual harassment allegations.

Very quietly, Scott said he quickly put into motion a plan to cut out Spacey and shoot his scenes with another actor.

No doubt, you’ve already been made aware of individuals being removed from Twitter, Facebook, and other virtual arenas. Or that, if you don’t speak the acceptable speak, you’re banished from YouTube, meaning you are effectively banished from speaking non-acceptable speak.

No doubt, you are aware that the original Star Wars films have been altered, multiple times. Soon, those originals will never be accessible.

Just like your (neighbor’s) daughter won’t be able to enter the popular metaverse playground with her schoolmates — because of what the wife said, on Facebook, which everyone saw.

In nearly all recent cases, the banning mob is led by self-labelled “progressives” who insist they stand on the right side of the future.

Let’s hope not.

While it’s still in our power, and since it won’t be for long, let’s do our best to embed right rules into our erasable knowledge.

  1. We should each have the right to control all our own data.
  2. We should each have the right to be forgotten, should we choose.
  3. We acknowledge the means to digitally erase a person or group, the past, an idea, or an other, but we will use this power only after much consideration and due hesitancy, making the act as rare as a unicorn.

You know who was at Woodstock? Everyone who said they were.

Except for the writer of Woodstock, Joni Mitchell, she was not there.

Prove me wrong.

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