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Google Glass Scuffle in LA: ‘You Wannabe, One-Eyed Antichrist’

Google Glass Scuffle in LA: ‘You Wannabe, One-Eyed Antichrist’
May 19
17:42 2014

…the Antichrist would come, “a man blind in his right eye in which all light is extinguished, even as it were a grape”, and he would cause great corruption on earth, and by his power to work marvels he would win more and more men to his side. — Martin Lings, Muhammad

LOS ANGELES — The scuffle in Larry King Square was nearly finished by the time I’d arrived. In the gutter, next to a giant plastic cup with the words Big Gulp written across it, was a pair of clunky glasses, clearly broken. The left frame was cracked, and its lens had been jarred loose. Two red-faced men were being held back by a group of people, all young to middle-aged. Beards and tight pants seemed to be the dominant dress code.

It was mid-afternoon on Sunset and Cahuenga Boulevard. The sun was hot, but thankfully the breeze was cool. Cars slowed to a halt as drivers looked over at the commotion on the sidewalk. Even the local homeless folks had scattered across the street and sat on the grimy strip of grass that separated the Jack In the Box parking lot from the sidewalk.

Google_Glass_with_frameI stood just outside the fray. I didn’t fit in, sartorially-speaking, with my worn gray t-shirt and blue jeans. Another fellow who looked like me without the long hair stepped out of the crowd. He’d obviously painted his shirt himself: wild red streaks smeared over yellow and burnt orange splotches.

What happened here? I asked. I’m a professional blogger and I journal important events that happen around Los Angeles.

He introduced himself as Jeremiah. “It was the craziest thing,” he said.

There’s always something going on in Larry King Square, I told him, and pointed across Sunset at the looming CNN building with its big-screen news ticker running the length of the building. Those headlines swirl a lot of negative energy on this block and it affects people in a physical way.

“Those two guys were just sitting outside of the coffee shop and everything was cool. One of them had that goofball Google Glass device on, and he kept watching the other guy, who was reading a book. Finally, the guy reading asked if there was a problem.”

Which book? I asked.

“Jerzy Kosiński’s Steps, I believe,” he said.

It doesn’t get wackier than that, I told him. But continue, please.

“The guy with Glass kept watching him until finally the guy with the book blew up and accused him of taping him with the little camera embedded in the right lens. The Google Glass guy kept giving smug answers, like ‘You’re in public, I can tape what I want in public.’ And, ‘There’s no law against it even if I am.'”

While Jeremiah recounted the scene, the two groups of people had formed into one. Both of the men in conflict were on opposite sides. The Google Glass owner refused to apologize, and the other male refused as well. “I don’t need someone inconspicuously taping me while I’m reading,” he kept saying, and held up a battered paperback. He spotted the busted Glasses in the street and carefully bent over to pick them up.

“Here you go,” he said, “you wannabe, one-eyed Antichrist.” He tossed the device over the the heads of the others. The Glasses bounced off the other guy’s head and skidded across the concrete.

The Google Glass fellow jumped back into action. He slammed into the bodies between him and his assailant. A string of curse words left his lips as he swung his elbows and struggled through the crowd. The other man was ready. He turned to me and said, “Would you hold this?” and handed me the Kosinski book (its cover was a little sweaty). But the good Samaritans between them held firm. A few of them chided the man for having thrown the device as being overly antagonistic.

“You’ll pay for them! You’re going to pay for those,” the Glass guy kept shouting.

Right_Eye_Damaged

“We’re sorry, sir”

That’s when I noticed his right eyelid was twitching. It would flutter rapidly for a second, then stop, before one hard spasm distorted the upper right side of his face.

Dear Lord, I told Jeremiah, his right eye is out of whack. Look at that. It’s twitching and jerking. Is that from staring at that tiny display in the right lens?

“That’s exactly one of the lesser known problems of Google Glass,” he said. “You’d better include that in your article. Glass is detrimental to the health of your right eye. The brain doesn’t like having one eye seeing an image, but not the other.”

Binocular rivalry, I said. I’ve heard of that. It’s a nightmare for the extraocular muscles, and the cranial nerves and lower motor neurons that innervate those muscles. I can see the headline now, I said. ‘Modern Day Innovation Causes Extreme Demand on Ocular Innervation.’

“The small muscles in the right eye will be strained after even a minute of wearing that goofy device. But then think of the brain, which has to compensate for that disparity and reconfigure how it views reality, measures depth, and adapts to both eyes focusing on the real-time world ahead of them, then having the right eye focusing close and intensely on that half-an-inch digital image.”

When this device gets popular, I said, as it’s poised to do, there’s going to be scores of folks with damaged right eyes. If that’s true, we’re going to have a society filled with mindless, wannabe, miniature one-eyed antichrists. Even when they aren’t wearing them, the right sides of their faces will twitch at random. The vivacity of their right eyes will be sapped and deadened by the constant light stimulation. That’ll be the sign of who has, and who hasn’t, been marked by Google. Who’s been irreparably damaged by the Beast.

And, I said, holding up my pointer finger, that Beast is everywhere. It owns part of or all of nearly everything that is important for our techie future. Matt Labash covered that beautifully in “Through A Google Glass, Darkly” — “Google owns you,” he wrote. “Or at least your data they scoop up as you beaver away for free on their services.” Much corruption. Total control. And they don’t even look cool.

Jeremiah laughed at that, but then he sobered and said, “Serious change is coming, whether we like it or not. I don’t know much about the end times, but I do know there are extreme side effects that can happen with this type of technology. Dizziness, for example, is the least of the Google Glass wearers’ problems. This is a potential neurological issue that can result in cognitive disharmony and even flashbacks for those who wear them too long.”

Imagine the confusion in the streets, I said. And in a place that is already so bewildered as Hollywood, or the greater Los Angeles area. It won’t be safe to be around anyone wearing these Glasses. They’ll be prone to hallucinate or lash out at innocent bystanders. The new psychosis, culturally hip, socially sanctioned.

“And imagine some people are driving with these things!” my new friend said. “Putting the entire population at risk–”

Google_Glass_Vogue_Photoshoot

“So good to be part of this new world”

To look trendy, I said, finishing his statement. Society is attempting to normalize the device. We all need to be plugged in as thoroughly as possible to reach the next advancement toward a hellish global community that is forcibly interconnected, but ultimately plugged into the source at the top of the pyramid and regulated all the way down, to the most minute detail.

“Well, I don’t know for sure about that,” Jeremiah said.

By the time we finished talking, the crowd had dispersed. Many of them had gone back inside the coffee shop. The Glass guy fiddled with his limp technology. He slid his fingers gently over the cracked bridge, down to the endpiece, surveying the damage.

It doesn’t look promising, sport, I told him, to which he grunted but did not glance up.

I said goodbye to Jeremiah and walked South along Cahuenga. In the shade of the CNN building, I flipped through Kosiński’s book I’d haply acquired. Certainly there was some prescient knowledge in those pages that would coincidentally shed light on what had happened in Larry King Square that day.

SEE ALSO

Free services & smart devices in exchange for your data

Mainstream society normalizing society to Google Glass & coming technology

[Evolution of heads-up devices of Steve Mann, photo by Glogger; Google Glass photo by Mikepanhu; right eye patient photo by Kristopher Radder]

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