Tech spies and outsourced prayers
By Andrei Codrescu
The most insane predictions are coming true at an alarming rate. The implantable chip is here ready to deliver all your data to anybody with a scanner. Every phone call is taped. Every computer has enough spy-ware in it to keep a thousand marketers and blackmailers in business. There is no place to hold a private conversation because theyll lick the sound right off your car windows. And those stickers on fruit? Each one is an eye trailing you through the house. All these advances in technology are exclusively for our benefit, the citizens of the freest country in the world. Whats going on in Fortress America? During the Cold War it was said that one in every four people in Russia spied on their neighbors for the secret police and every person, regardless of whether they were spying or not, felt spied on. Well, rest assured that youre being spied on right here, right now. The crazy thing is that you may be spying on someone yourself, without being aware of it. Thats the genius of capitalism: instead of one secret police we have jillions. Even they are a lot scarier than they used to be: they used to be the N.S.A., the C.I.A., the F.B.I., people who could afford sophisticated equipment. Now they is anybody with access to the internet, including you. I heard a guy on the radio who changed his name officially to They, hoping to take the blame, but its too late for that. Even ten years ago, a human could still hide if he didnt care to be found. Look at those quaint 70s movies: phone-booths, fingerprints that took months to come back from the lab, police that turned back at the state line, wanted men living high on the hog in Mexico. The old days. Well, no more: eye-scans, D.N.A., satellite imaging, implantable chips: youre just a clunky relay in a network with its own plans. Of course, not everything is flawless: out there in Pakistan where this stuff might be actually useful, it doesnt work. Terrorists dont sit still for chip insertion, and still have ways of giving us the slip. Its just us who cant give ourselves the slip. This week I was going to pray for the defeat of George Bush and his Spy State, but then I realized that that road was closed, too, because George and his boys pray so much Gods hold time is longer than the line for a flu shot. God may be giving George instructions, but Hes ruining prayer for the rest of us. Plus, its not God we reach when we pray now: its Hal, somewhere in India.