Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Disgusted incompetence"

Full video of Bruce Sterling's talk at SXSW is up on YouTube.  It's chopped into several parts, but you can queue them together easily.  I took the title for this post from a phrase he used to describe our current political morass.  As you watch the clip you'll see why.  He talks about his own role as a critic of ideas that haven't happened yet, how yesterday's cyberpunks are today's design professors, and that you can do anything to an amoebae and no hippie will show up with a protest sign.  After all, "microbes aren't in the Bible."  
Sterling's funny and still railing against the Baby Boomer mentality, justifiably lamenting and expatiating how truly revolutionary and world-changing ideas sit on shelves for lack of political will.  He talks cyberwar mercenaries and the disdain of wind power while gas hits $5 a gallon and three nuclear plants catch fire.  We've got to start caring about things, many things.  Otherwise it makes it far easier to get steamrollered by the rich but ignorant with their useful idiots on the Right.
I sometimes think that Sterling could easily have written the script for Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World.  The "future" (the film is from 1991 and set in 1999, giving it an unfortunate dinosaur-like quality to current viewership) in that film is one that seemed very Sterling-esque to me. 

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