They are short, pithy statements that have been bequeathed to us by the ancients. Statements – call them sermons if you may, that are sweeping in nature, but precise in their message. Yes, I am talking about proverbs – ditties of advice that are based on common sense, are born out of experience and expresses traditionally held truisms. We all know them, use them often to stress the points that we are making, to even add the punch of past legacies. But seldom do we notice how they too are evolving, like the English language, entwined as they get absorbed by the digital domain.
Allow me to spread my ware – of Old Proverbs, photoshoped and hashtagged, ready to engage the Google Search Engines.
Birds of a Feather, they don’t flock no more, they tweet. The Cuckoo’s chirp and the nightingale’s song have been condensed (and contained) to a hundred and forty characters.
Gone are the days when it was the female of the species that was considered to be the deadliest. It was the female anopheles that sucked one’s blood and injected it with the dread inducing Malaria. It was the Cougar that prowled, the lioness that hunted. Not any more, for she has been replaced by the email – invading private spaces with impunity, destroying balances, devastating lives.
Oh yes, the modem is the message, for the medium (or is it modem) has evolved and fragmented into platforms – Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter, Instagram … each demanding customised content, crafted specifically for it. It is no more what you write, but more whether it is optimised for the reach. And yes, viral is not a fever that you get, but a fever in the brow that you crave. Crazy, but true.
Forget a thousand steps, things as mundane as a trip to the neighbourhood grocer’s too starts with a click these days, for the fearless female warriors (or at least one of them) have vanquished everybody else to have taken over the world of commerce. Want a soda? Click and Amazon will deliver. So much for your thousand-step journey.
Don’t look a Gift Horse in the mouth, they taught us, stressing, that it is not about the bad breath (the horse’s), but all about manners (your). Today, from Achilles’ heel have sprouted the geeks, dysfunctional dementors from the digital domain, with blueprints of innovative disruption that promise to topple the apple cart (yes, including that Apple) – nuts that are certain to grow up to become mighty oaks. Don’t tell me that I hadn’t warned you.
Well, this is the age of China. Not the fine China, as in tea-sets, that our grandmothers craved, but the mass-produced copies and cheap, plastic trinkets that are not bio degradable. Naturally, for every success story, there are a million spawns, a billion wanna-be’s and a trillion me-too’s. Point is, “every venture on a shoe-string does not a Microsoft be” (whether or not it starts in a garage)!
Yes, they will, but they will be everything but meek. An army of optimisation guys will man (and woman) their back offices ensuring their place in the Google sun and obscene performance-linked pay packets will be the order of the day, before they too are upstaged by an upstart. Moore’s Law is not merely applicable on the brick and mortar entities you are disrupting today, they will learn to their consternation, it (the bell) tolls for thee as well!
Who says that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks? Just look at the number of geriatrics flocking to Facebook. Point is, the digital blackhole has an appetite that is bottomless and is quietly sucking in all and sundry. It transcends the space time conundrum and once in its grip, the victims are known to lose their bearings for all times to come. Lead them to the fix and teach them how to chase the dragon. The rest… well, what rest?
As we approach the roaring twenties of this century, the glitterati from the last have been replaced by the Tweetarati. One is known by his Tweets even as we get drawn more and more into its vortex. Life is doing a Dali, resembling Melted Time, Sci-fi prophecies are coming true with gay abandon and naked exhibitionism is replicating expressionist Edvard Munch’s Scream. Welcome to the Matrix! The stitch? Well, is there time, still?
With everything hurtling in every possible direction at the speed of thought, it is but neigh impossible to stick to whatever one is searching for. This is the era of the information overload, of digital dominance, of the triple A – a situation where anonymity and accessibility is leading us down the path to annihilation. Sad, in light of the fact that the purpose of all this advancement was aimed at making life just that bit easier.
Sumanta Adhikari, a young exponent of digital art has done the templates and deserves all the credit for this piece. A silent scream against everything ordinary, Sumanta loves wielding his Apple pencil as much as he loves to work out in the gym. Sumanta is also an accomplished beat boxer though, digital art continues to be his reigning passion, his raison d’etre. When he is not busy with the agency’s work, he works on the creation of his signature style – his work, stating the things he leaves unsaid.
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