Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Viva la CyberPunk

We first met as students in the Gifted and Talented program at our middle school. Like almost all gifted kids, we were both voracious readers. He was the first person to ever turn me on to cyberpunk. It really resonated with me. The dystopic existence, the integration of technology that ultimately leaves us more isolated than ever before...all of it fit in with the era that he and I were born into.

My father was a computer programmer back when I was a small child. We had a shed attached to our house and that is where he spent many of his hours after work. I still remember the Tandy Green Screen and the Commodore 64 that he kept back there. I don't ever recall a time beyond my toddler years when my father didn't have at least two computers set up wherever he lived. We were the first people in our social circle to have a PC. I remember when people from our congregation would visit and they'd scrunch together in that tiny shed to see the games that my dad on his computer.

When I was a kid, I went to a pretty fancy schmancy elementary school where all of the children went to computer lab once a week. Every Friday we'd each sit at a desk and play the little Cookie Monster math games that my dad had created and installed on the computers.

I've basically grown up with computers. I remember the way my father was seen as anti-social and geeky. He's always been obsessed with logic. I suppose that's why computers appealed to him so much. He didn't have to be friendly to make them work. He didn't have to go through the often pointless "niceties" that most humans require in order to interact with them effectively. I think he passed that on to me, in some way.

For months now, ever since the Anonymous raid on a couple of feminist blogs, I've been thinking about why it is that I don't feel as threatened by Anonymous as some folks do. I think it's because I see them as an extension of the Cyberpunk generation that began in the 1980s. What we see today is a lot like the beginning of the dystopia that sci-fi writers wrote about back then.

To Be Continued...

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