Month: November 2016

[words] existential threats, or not

“an existential threat” ≠ “a threat to all existence”

2015_11 park slope high rise fire

Simple semantics often slip up speakers. The phrase “existential threat” is used too often to imply that something described as such portents the apocalypse, in the way “communist threat” was used throughout the Cold War to as a casual substitute for nuclear annihilation. But “existential” is not a synonym for “apocalyptic” any more than “communist” was. Rhetoric and doubletriplepolitispeak are funny that way, though.

Semantic checkpoint: “Existential threat” implies the threatening thing threatens because it’s existential. To be afraid of something practicing Existentialism, then, for real, connotes a fear of what Sartre termed the “doctrine of self-making” where human reality is an individual, lived experience. Not very scary at all, really, unless making choices for yourself terrifies you.

[words] coggies

21221109.1422
GenCare.23, BK-125

“Doc, it’s so weird – been a month and this mosquito bite hasn’t gone away.”

“It’s not a mosquito bite.”

“What do you mean? I saw the f|_|c|<er bite me.”

“It wasn’t a mosquito, Quinn. It was a GBI CogGuard Microdrone.”

“A coggie? But I’m not a redvector. I haven’t done a feelbad or said a makesad in months!”

“The CPD’s latest redword list only went grid around the time of your ‘bite.’ We’ll uplink the chip the drone left in you to the NYCPD and see what it picked up.”

“C’mon, forrealz?”

“Look, the coggie probably heard you say a homonym. I’ve seen a few cases of bites when coggies think ‘I’m snowed in’ means ‘I’m Snowden.’ A CPD interview clears that up pretty fast. Relax for now…”

[words] Telepath 2910.2096

DATE: 2910.2096
TIME: 0110
LOCATION: GBI HQ, Room 404

“We know you participated in the DDoS attack on Senator Quicknum.”

“No I didn’t.”

“But we traced it to your head.”

“I never thought that thought.”

“Yes you did. It passed through your head via Telepath into the global system. You just weren’t aware of the transmission at the time.”

“So I’m being detained for 3rd-party use of my subconscious that I couldn’t control?”

“No, you’re being detained for having an insecure and vulnerable subconscious. Weak-minded people are not allowed to think freely in Telepath.”

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