Monkey Logic no.4 – Do it for Monkey!

Life should not be miserable. When I say ‘should not’, I mean from an evolutionary perspective. When you are feeling bad, it’s evolution’s way of telling you — based upon opinions grounded in tens of thousands of generations of experience — that you’re not on a good path and you’d better correct your course. Evolution doesn’t want you to suffer for nothing, it only wants you to suffer so that you will avoid similar, sub-optimal situations in the future. A creature suffering is no good to anybody. It will be distracted, expending lots of unnecessary energy getting all tensed up and stressed out.

Passive contentment is what we should feel most of the time; middle of the road; plenty of space at the top and the bottom for evolution to apply its carrot and stick incentives. Chill should be the default. This is simple Monkey logic…

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Monkey Logic no.3 – The New Abnormal

As lock-down lifts, many of us find ourselves non-specifically uneasy at the thought of returning to the world. A search for the root cause of our discomfort will yield a confusion of confabulated yarns, but I suspect monkey inside has just gotten used to lurking in his cave. He wants us to stay isolated in our pajamas because if there is one thing Monkey doesn’t like—and believe me there are many!—it is change…

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Post AV. My Neo-Luddite Utopia


We bought a new Microwave oven. The dials broke on the old one and it became impossible to accurately time the heating of the macchiato for my espresso. Having super-heated the milk into a frothy explosion-then painstakingly sponged the inside of the microwave clean again-one too many times, I sighed, gathered my Extra-Vehicular Activity equipment and prepared to suit-up for an excursion beyond the safety of our habitation pod.
…by the way, on the subject of biological hazard protection, I have a stash of vintage t-shirts that I have never gotten around to throwing out. Many sport amusing and/or iconic motifs. Opinions may differ here, so I will not make any claims to objective coolness, but a Darth Vader cartoon on a face mask should look at least as cool as it once did on a t-shirt. I have persuaded my wife to add these bespoke, handmade, vintage items to her burgeoning end-times, lifestyle-accessories store.

So, microwaves. My amplifier broke. It was a monster; 7.1 surround sound, multiple zones, pain in the arse to install, far too many settings. I bought it because it could play music from iTunes, not that the single feature I bought it for ever actually worked.

When it died, I braced myself for an excursion into the HiFi zone and down amongst the seething Youtube reviews and editorials, I stumbled across a whole new segment: ‘Post AV’.

Apparently, ‘Post AV’ means simple, beautiful devices targeting a demographic tired of dicking around with tangles of cables, unwanted features, and endless menu items. They claim to do everything a complicated multi-channel AV receiver can do… only with friendly old-school Stereo instead of dozens of speaker boxes which all require power and space in your living room.

Two speakers, a couple of nobs, works pretty much out of the box…
 …Take My Damn Money!!!

I am prone to interpret things as signs. This is a sign. People are fed up with products that do things they don’t need while smuggling in features they don’t want.

Anyone for a TV that has Disney+ permanently cemented into first place on your channel list and listens to everything you say?
Then we are not going to let you have HDCP2
Don’t want HDCP2?
Don’t even know what HDCP2 is?
Tough. You need it to watch Netflix
Now shut up and buy it!

This Bundled-Crapware outbreak spread from its patient-zero-the dodgy PC manufacturers of the 2000s-to become a raging pandemic infesting our entire economy.

It doesn’t even matter to the big boys if you fight back and protest by buying an overpriced niche alternative from one of their competitors. As soon as this plucky challenger gains any appreciable market share, they will be gobbled up and your beloved product line discontinued. That will teach you!

The customer is always wrong
You get what you are given

Look, I don’t want to go off-topic and get too ranty here, but society has become numb to the incessant badgering government and big business uses to push us things we don’t want. Numb and beaten down, we became resigned to just taking it. This only empowered them to push harder and ignore our pleas to stop shoving that junk in our faces. It’s the Harvey Weinstein economy.

You don’t want it?
Tough. Take it and stop complaining!

They are not all bad, the big companies. Elon seems to be ahead of the curve again. His cars do what people want. He focuses on making them safe, fast, cheap to run, and, well, bulletproof. He doesn’t spend money on advertising. Imagine that, people buy his cars because they want them?!? It almost sounds quaint and old fashioned.

Perhaps as sales plateau and consumer’s belts tighten, we will witness more nascent stirrings of this radical idea. Others might get in on the trend of offering people what they actually want to buy, rather than what big monopoly power can force them to swallow.

Don’t force people to take what they don’t want
Respect for the freedom of others begins with little things

The microwave we ended up choosing has two nobs: power and a timer. It’s a ‘Post AV’ Microwave. Tech for Neo-Luddites. We love it.
Okay, sure, it probably has Siri and Alexa built-in to spy on me, but baby steps, right?

Monkey Logic is a weekly column to help us through these unhinged times.

Why are people so angry?
Why are people so stupid?
Why the hell did she/he/it just do that?

The answer is Monkey Logic. We are not sanguine sages or intellectual titans. We are messily evolved amalgamations of ad-hoc fixes collected over Billions of years of hard-knocks trial and error. We have high expectations for the world, but Sanity and Rationalism are human inventions. Truth does not equal Beauty. Madness, money, and monogamy are our own psycho-cultural inventions; emergent tokens; semiotic short-hand heuristics for the recurring patterns of reality—

One man’s sanity is another man’s bat-shit crazy.