Soon I will be rich. Two trends: social networking and the death of privacy. I’m cashing in on the confluence. Why should only celebrities be publicly humiliated? Let’s democratize it. Log on to Disgracebook.com and publish your cell phone photos taken from underneath the bathroom stalls, rumors gleaned from an undisclosed source, and venomous bullshit you make up. Users can rank levels of humiliation. Any user flagged for including non-embarrassing information will be banned from Disgracebook.
Status will be achieved by posting the most embarrassing videos or stories, creating an incentive to expose the shameful secrets of the person with whom you are most intimate, which means that after everybody gets dumped by their boinkbuddy winners will post the most embarrassing videos and stories about themselves. If reality TV is any measure, people will volunteer to humiliate themselves. Soon, people will be proud of their latest disgrace.
One clear rule: Under no circumstances will any story be judged by whether or not it is true. Lies, so long as they are embarrassing, are encouraged. We’re trying to attract advertisers here. To quote my favorite actor, Daffy Duck: “Consequences, Shmonsequences. As long as I’m rich.”
Just because you’re allowed to lie does not mean you win points on this system by just any old lie. Your lies will win high ranks among the Disgracebook community by the elegance with which they are designed to spark argument and counter-spin. Through user response and counter- response, your disgrace will climb up Disgracebook.
You can even publish humiliating opinions. For instance, I support South Carolina’s right to hang the Confederate flag over their state capital. After all, I’m 1/8 German, and I’m proud of my heritage, and I think we should fly a swastika over the California State capital.
Whoopie! This must be what it feels like to post like a troll. Anonymity frees you from the burden of having to have a clue before you post. Or vote. The less you know about a subject, the easier it is to have an opinion about it.
Next killer app: Identify every dumb thing ever said by every anonymous troll and post it on Disgracebook next to his photo and mom-given name. Once this code-breaking software is available, everybody will be literally standing by everything they ever said, complete with entertaining misspellings.
(Sorry I typed “his.” I know that’s sexist. But it’s also 100% true. No penisless person would name herself xxxpipecleaner99 and type onto a breastfeeding discussion board: u r so gay reterd.i am a traned ninja so cud esily kik yr ass, bioch. USA # 1!!!!!! In order to be that much of a dick, you need to have one.)
In the very near future, microcameras will be so cheap and plentiful, private cameras will exist in every corner of every room and on every corner of every street. Artful editing will prove opposite conclusions about crimes filmed from multiple micro-angles. The Rodney King beating proved that reality cannot be filmed. It can only be interpreted. Tribal humans must bring their pre-constructed frames to the observation in order to see anything at all.
Not long after microcameras turn paranoia into common sense, our lives will be flooded with nanopaparazzi, mosquitoes of the information age, annoying… and producing buzz. You will read magazines like this, taking it for granted that a million spycams smaller than your cells are searching you right now as you struggle to do nothing interesting. You will purchase an atmospheric immune system of kamikaze nanocamera-killers to swarm your home. This will come in a package deal with a nanocamera flood-your-friends plan. These systems will be locked in an everlasting arms race as they hire each other’s engineers. A trillion tiny eyes will be so small and safe you won’t notice them… except, after every monthly privacy protection upgrade, you’ll notice your bedroom will get a bit more dusty.
We all have a brain gizmo that enjoys seeing other people embarrassed. It’s the same gizmo that makes us feel humiliated if we are embarrassed. Lesser mammals do not possess this frontal lobe module that allows us to indulge our innate douchbaggery. Come on, don’t you want to see if your husband had patience for cunnilingus with his former girlfriend? Search for the upskirtings, downblousings, and nosepickings of all your frenemies and play them on a loop while you talk to them on your phone. We debate the privacy-vs.-security issue like it’s going to be settled at some symposium. The real market war will be between privacy and nosiness, and nosiness will win through sheer glee.
In the very near future, face-recognition technology will improve to such an extent that I will be able to find every single photo of you ever posted on the internet. Simply type into Google: “Disgracebook photos Bill McKibben” and you will receive hundreds of hits, or, better yet, “Disgracebook R.U. Sirius scandalous photos compromising positions questionable partners” and receive hundreds of thousands of hits, listed in order of humiliation rank.
You’ll go on a first date, and as your potential boinkbuddy approaches, micro-lasers will flash invisibly from your contact lenses as you engage in mutual retinal scans. The supercomputer in your contact lens will automatically download their resume and masturbatory habits ranked by their enemies on Disgracebook. These images will be displayed on your right contact lens and superimposed on their face while they’re talking.
Each of us will assume our politely-listening date is watching us puke on the plane, beat our children, and boff a blowup doll. You’ll get used to sudden grimaces, gags, and giggles from your listener while you talk, knowing they must be viewing full-color photos of your latest venereal disease, or hearing you harmonize with Celine Dion. Your jilted lovers will edit together all the stupidest things you ever said in the presence of nanocameras, and it will be a popular highly-ranked search among your potential employers and teenage children.
The supercomputer in your contact lens will automatically download their resume and masturbatory habits. These images will be displayed on your right contact lens.
You will learn the futility of defending yourself. Nanocameras will film you talking in high def, search among each microsecond for the most hideous grimace, blow it up to a pore-revealing moonscape, and auto-post on Disgracebook. Psychologist Paul Ekman has shown that our secret reptilian rages appear on our faces a few microsceconds before we suppress them with a graceful smile. These detectable spasms offer a kind of window into your primal self, which might even be secret to yourself. That’s right, “Tiny Eyes™” will capture your unconscious motives and I will see the true you more clearly than you do.
Gait analysis will be perfected, and pervasive nanopaparazzi will I.D. your unique biometric signature walking into the panda-porn shop. Why bother wearing clothes when cheap terahertz radar will penetrate clothing, and while searching for microscopic weapons of mass destruction, record the detailed contours of your genitalia, hair distribution, and flab folds, all uploaded for public view?
Far-fetched? Right now, parabolic microphones allow you to record conversations through closed windows at a distance. Right now, the average londoner gets caught on camera 300 times a day. Draw your exponential curve and extrapolate that one, transhomies. Imagine all of this info cheap, digitized, public, and searchable, making all alibis humorous.
The age of surveillance is upon us, baby, and it won’t be centrally controlled by some governmental Big Brother, but democratized and Googlable. Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon will be the order of the day and reality will be a reality show. Shakespeare was right. All the world really will be a stage. He just didn’t realize it’d be The Jerry Springer Show.
Imagine if all your binges, barfs, and buttburps were posted for infinite reliving, an everlasting record of all your dumbass deeds. You won’t get fifteen minutes of fame — you’ll get an eternity of infamy. This will change you more fundamentally than any cranial implant. Consider that your deepest needs are to be loved and to belong.
Once everybody has access to everybody’s shames, we’ll create what Christianity envisioned, an eye peering into our private deeds and knowing us at our private worst, except it won’t be God but the world community itself that will scrutinize and judge, each member of whom will themselves be scrutinized and judged. Thus we will all cut each other slack.
The road to universal empathy is universal humiliation. The death of privacy will create a world of mutual forgiveness because each of our secret cellulite jiggles, malapropisms, and sexual rejections will be known to whoever cares to check. Then, finally, having exposed our deepest insecurities and frailties to the world, we will get over ourselves. Eleanor Roosevelt defined maturity for us: “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
When there’s nothing left to hide, we will cease trying to figure out what everybody is hiding. The end of privacy will be the beginning of trust. I’ll know all about your bushisms, bitchfits, and bonobo behavior, and you’ll know mine, leaving us with no alternative but to concentrate on each other, in this present moment, in all our glorious frailties. Remember listening? The day your shame becomes mundane is the day I’ll love you for who you really are, not for who you pretend to be.
Lo, this is the true Rapture of the Geeks, when the whole world must experience what we experienced in Junior High: an excruciating selfconsciousness that we must transcend when we learn we will never stop being a walking talking mockery magnet, so we must embrace our social awkwardness for the sake of something more important: honesty and unabashed enthusiasm for our quirky interests.
We will cultivate a superior maturity, the kind that celebrities must learn, when we realize everybody we meet already knows about our blowjobs, breakdowns and bunnyfucks, yet we must present ourselves publicly anyway and try to salvage a diamond kernel of dignity that is more nobly earned than the dignity we maintained through secrecy. So get your pimply ass out on the street and dance naked for the cameras, for the sake of infinite compassion.
Joe Quirk has an extremely hairy ass, the photo of which was used to prove the existence of Sasquatch, and his first stirrings of sexuality were evoked by Sweet Polly Purebred from the Underdog cartoon. He invites you to humiliate yourself of Disgracebook.com so we can all get over our damn selves. He also writes books and speaks to college students about inappropriate subjects.