Halfbaked N’ Bothered: Notes From The Pigeon Hole by Margaret Baker

spy pigeon
Photo Credit: snappedshot.com/ghost/kwx

Because I watched a thriller called “Sea of Love” with Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin, Netflix has decided that I am a ‘steamy midlife crisis serial killer’ sort of consumer and sends me movie recommendations reflecting my ‘steamy midlife crisis serial killer’ tastes. I’m not entirely comfortable with that profile.

I decided to revisit classic films I have loved to see if I can come up with a more fitting category for myself:

Casablanca: Nazi driven cheating barfly… No, I’ll pass.
African Queen: Nautical leach-infested passionate prude… Not quite it.

Gone with the Wind: Hokey Southern accented curtain wearing gold digger…. Better but…

Streetcar Named Desire: Horny light bulb-phobic sweaty tee obsessed seductress … Sold!

Netflix will of course leak my preferences to merchandisers so if I decide to watch all four on a rainy weekend I will be bombarded with ads for insect repellant, Halogen lights, drapery couture and Aryan Nation martini glasses. Or will they bundle the information and just try to sell me a vibrator?

I am further subjected to being summarized by strangers every time I use a Rewards Card. Here’s how it works. If I use a Rewards Card to buy Natural Peanut Butter, the bar code zapping unit delivers a pulsating tingle to the thighs of the big boys in corporate causing them to dash to a chalkboard and squiggle down a bunch of square root and pi signs which are fed into the Ludicrous Logarithm Matrix and it is concluded that I am a target market for Reece’s cups (due to peanut butter content) and cruelty free cosmetics ( implied natural) whereby coupons for these products arrive in the mail. Now if I buy Pork’n Beans, I get coupons for barbecue potato chips (junk), Vienna sausages (pork junk), and again, Reece’s Cups (sugar junk). In that instance the Ludicrous Logarithm technician wee wees in his whitey tighties, runs back to the blackboard and gets to put Reece’s cups in the center of a big Venn Diagram. I am forever after locked into the label Reece’s Cup Compatible and the Reece’s Cup icon will reside by my name in perpetuity.

If you think that process is warped, discover how American citizens become niche slapped into potential terrorists. First of all they train pigeons in teeny tiny headsets to listen to our phone conversations and if the pigeon hears the word BACKPACK it presses a bar and gets a sesame seed. If the pigeon hears the word BOMB it presses a bar and gets a Fruit Loop. If the pigeon hears the word FERTILIZER it presses a bar and gets an Altoid. If a pigeon hears all three, an FBI agent presses a bar, gets a suppository and you get free room and board at Guantanamo. I’ll probably get body scanned on my next flight just for writing this paragraph. Will I also receive online advertisements for paraphernalia enjoyed by Treasonous Whistle Blowers of Pigeon Espionage?

The human race is in danger of being defined by data. To quote the X Files we are “at the mercy of anyone or anything that cannot be programmed categorized or easily referenced.” Spontaneity is a virus. Whimsey is a worm. Personally, I’d like to see impulsive decisions, meandering off script and turning on a dime get some respect. I want us to be happy being the quivering mass of variables we are. I know I’m just an old fashioned steamy midlife crisis serial killer but that’s what I want.

– Margaret Baker @ LBSPY #39 (Aug 12-26th, 2013)


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