the end of all things

gene roddenberry has doomed us all

Around fifteen years ago someone alerted me to the Star Trek Universe paradox - namely, that the history of Earth in the world of Star Trek resembles our own in every particular, except for that fact that the Star Trek television show could never have existed. Also, we didn't get involved in the Eugenics War and Ricardo Montalban never conquered Asia, but whatever.

Think about it for a second. Why would a fictional universe include in its fictive history a piece of pop culture that foretells the future? It would be the most earthshaking thing to have a series of shows, movies, novels and role-playing games that turned out to constitute a body of prophecy. It would be somewhere on par with finding a medieval manuscript that rated all the restaurants in New York in 1957. But if Star Trek as a cultural phenomenon appeared in the historical annals of the Starfleet Academy, nobody's talking about it. Maybe the horror of predestination caused them to expunge all records? I don't think so.

This evening, as I was watching Pretty In Pink with Schmutzie and Saviabella, the obverse face of this paradox presented itself to me - that the human race is doomed to extinction, or at best, to a ragged barbarism on par with that stupid Yangs vs. Coms episode* from the orginal series. And we have Star Trek to thank for it.

According to Star Trek lore, the discovery of warp power saved the Earth from collapse by initiating contact with a whole universe of habitable planets, living gods and different foreheads. But the existence of Star Trek effectively reduces that chance to nil, because what are the odds of a sci-fi movie starring a bunch of cheesy, technobabbling prigs being replicated precisely in the real world? Exactly. The discovery of warp power by a guy who looks like James Cromwell, the next leap forward for humanity, just isn't going to happen. It's been narrated right out of existence. I'm pretty sure Borgs are in the cards, but as for the rest of it, no way.

*This is my favourite Trek episode, because there is nothing funnier than watching William Shatner berate a roomful of cavemen for their terrible grammar and pronunciation of the US constitution.

endless caruso

YouTube - CSI Miami - Endless Caruso One Liners

Ah God. I just can't look away. Over seven minutes of David Caruso delivering an inane line, slipping his aviator sunglasses on and exiting to the right. And then the strangled scream from The Who, which starts to sound like a couple of off-camera assholes mocking Caruso's delivery.

I recommend the clip in its entirety, in part because the 'Yeeeahhh!' musical sting clings to its seedy charm no matter how often it's repeated. The clip begins to develop a hypnotic power, numbing you to its rhythms and alerting you to minute deviations in the formula. Does the camera cut to another character before the credits? Then something weird is up. What if David Caruso doesn't put his sunglasses on? What if - and this was the most jarring moment - he doesn't exit right but left, or even, in one instance, up, his face sweeping out of the frame to carry on its terrifying work in some previously undefined upper space? Shit, David Caruso is hovering above us now! Yeeeahhh!

beyond history

Citizens of Vineland (plus one Slovenian): it turns out that Dubai is better than America. I know - you thought America was better than America. America proved that it was better than itself after Vegas began excreting replicas of the world's monuments as part of a project to weld the family theme park, the gambling den and the open-air brothel into one money-sucking fake-boobed beast. Now Dubai has trumped that with Falconcity of Wonders (L.L.C.).

Falconcity of Wonders. Just the name makes your brain enter a zone of irreality as you cope with that uncomfortably stretched grammar. FOW is a luxury destination that is, in every way possible, better than wherever you live now. Except it doesn't exist yet. Not completely. FOW is so fantastic that it's still a fantasy of money and maquettes and the collective will of a gang of really quite amazingly overwealthed bastards from the United Arab Emirates.

Falconcity aims to recreate the "eight wonders of the world," plus a couple of their own invention. My favourite postmodern wonders are Theme Park and Falconcity Mall. I cannot recommend Theme Park enough:
Come opening day, I'm going on the Giant Straw Cannon Ride.

How is FOW superior in all ways (except the ontological one) to whatever pigsty you currently rest your sorry dogs in? Picture this conversation:

You: Hello old friend. I haven't seen you since highschool. [You hate this smug asshole]
Him: Hey loser. Still a loser?
You: No.
Him: Yeah, you're a loser. Where are you living these days? Tin shack in Bakersfield?
You: I live in Falconcity of Wonders, Dubai, at the top of the Dubai Eiffel Tower.
Him: [big gory head explosion as smug asshole absorbs the awesomeness of what you just said]

You see? Yeah, you see just fine.

If you ever went to Vegas and thought "Gee, I wish I could actually live in the Luxor," then you're an appalling freak - but you're Falconcity's appalling freak. Every single one of FOWs wonders is designed bigger and better than its progenitor. An Eiffel tower decked out with luxury apartments, retail and office space for "elits," taller than the original; the Dubai Hanging Gardens of Babylon, helpfully distinguished from non-Dubai Gardens to avoid confusion - plus the original probably didn't house as many "eco-friendly luxury flats". FOW's slogan is "Beyond History," which is where the developers clearly imagine themselves to be - protected in a cocoon of capital, propelled out beyond the flux of fortune. They should hire J.G. Ballard to live there and walk the streets as a kind of living exhibit.

I'm honestly not sure how I feel about these kinds of developments. I always get stuck somewhere between disgust and awe, plus a kind of dumbfounded emptiness at the realization that human beings will do absolutely anything. Slaughter a nation, pitch a game show, build a shrine to capital so enormous and multipurposed that people can visit, shop, live and grow old there - you imagine it, we'll do it.

Best sentence from the website (among many): "We are not revealing a secret by stating that the vision of the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has put Dubai in the fast track towards a prosperous future." Well, you wouldn't want to go out on a limb and pretend that UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was keeping his ambitions a big secret.

The other best sentence: "The legs are a collection of 4-6 story buildings with different themes ranging from Happy Yemen, Lebanon down town Solider, India Taj Mahal, Rome’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italian Gondola boats of Venice, and London’s Big Ben." Okay, let's leave out the fact that this sentence features a highly unusual description of legs. Happy Yemen theme? Lebanon... Solider (I googled it)? Rome's Leaning Tower of Pisa? I always thought it was Pisa's Tower of Pisa.