Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Zippies x 3

Online Zippie (Issue One)

Zippies x 3

The Zippies are a technoculture that transcends space and time.

The Zippies are an identity created by Fraser Clark and used by Wired Magazine to sell advertising.

The Zippies began in India and currently number in the hundreds of thousands, and although few in number, there were also zippies in the 1960s.

All of these statements are true, and depending upon your point of view and whom one trusts or believes, the Zippies could just be the only thing that is left on this planet, after the blast. As Marshall Macluhen predicted, the Internet has gone from being merely a global brain to an extension of reality, a planetary nervous system with its entrails connected to pretty much everything.

One could also take a breath here and say, technospirituality is oh so nineties and thank god for rock 'n roll if only to assuage the sneaking suspicion that everything about the 21st century is second-hand fakery, perfumed propaganda, and media-spin.

Take the brutality of having to watch DSTV second-hand, via observations on human behaviour, street fashion and a fast-moving youth-culture that seems able to fore-shadow everything one says and does these days, without anybody having to actually do the ground work, the labour of thought that enables us to comprehend our position in space and time.

What I am about to tell you then may shock you out of complacency, to engage with a phenomena that is not going away anytime soon.

Briefly, technology has achieved something that scholars warned us about over a decade ago -- the much vaunted, Death of Distance on the Internet, has meant that Destination is no longer Destiny, one may as well live in New York and commute from LA, or stay in Cape Town and work in Johannesburg, but this does not half-explain what is happening at all. Predictably, our old concepts of thinking about spacetime and geography have failed to take into account the rub-off effect on culture that such a philosophical conundrum as "Death of Distance" brings to a society struggling to grasp the narrative of Death/Rebirth/Death, in an ever-widening entanglement of western estrangement from the material world.

Materially speaking, think about what you are reading now, which could very well be uploaded directly from Bangalore India, edited on the fly, without so much as a sign "Made in India" and the speed of human development at this juncture begins to worry those of us who don't speak Gujirat, or know anything about Hinduism and Vedic Culture. Are the Zippies having a rub-off effect on students in Taiwan? Is the Sub-Continent's Giant awake or sleeping like some Gulliver?

Culture Shock works both ways, and while India floods the West with cheap software, the West floods India with Elvis, who else but the King? Images of an Elvis Convention in Rajistan are broadcast around the world, finally making there way onto a local news broadcast in Africa.

Next Up: South Africa has the largest Indian Community living outside of India, are there Zippies in Africa?

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