THE CUT-OUT DOLLS
Once cut-out dolls took over a social networking site. The takeover was so swift there was widespread speculation in social media (where such developments are routinely reported, analyzed, discussed, and opined on for the minutest evidence of an emerging trend with possible global significance—or, whenever such could be discerned, cosmic import), the common opinion was that only planning “on the order of techno-social genius,” it was repeatedly said, could have resulted in all these cut-out dolls coming together on one networking site to form a virtual chain around the planet. There were even claims that the much-trumpeted coming of the Kingdom of Total Interconnectivity was at hand, when all the world would join as friends to do something momentous, unprecedented, and paradigm-shifting. And who better to usher in this new age than cut-out dolls, already up-to-the-minute on the latest trends and eager to share them with millions of their friends? Social media mavens were abuzz with the latest doings and thinking of cut-out dolls. As were advertising executives, who smelled a mega-target in the making. Being one-dimensional, those countless cut-out dolls would surely be eager for guidance on how to fill their lives with ever more . . . well . . . momentous, unprecedented, paradigm-shifting stuff. All that was needed to achieve this goal was personal data on each and every cut-out doll so that individualized advertising blitzes could be tailored to make each and every one of them eager to be part of this new paradigm thing. The more data, the better, of course. So ways of following the cut-out dolls long after they’d logged off the networking site were devised, traces that reached deep into their secret lives, plus the secret lives of any other cut-out dolls they might have even casual relations with in their nonstop group connection day and night. For the dolls themselves, as might be expected, the allure of connecting up with the whole world 24/7 caused much excitement. It was so difficult to find something exciting about yourself all the time. Besides, what was the good of auto-excitement anyway, if you couldn’t form a daisy chain of nonstop mutual stimulation with every other cut-out doll out there? And to be deep into what all of them were reading, eating, thinking, doing, whatever, at this very moment—like wow! What could be closer to cyber-nirvana than that? Soon Internet servers everywhere groaned with the burden of information being gathered by numerous parties on the cut-out dolls, some of it with their knowledge but mostly not as they gleefully went about exposing themselves before the multitudes. To handle the load, outsourcing to developing countries became necessary, turning whole swaths of the earth into virtual data wastelands of doll trivia. Skies darkened with pollution from power plants straining against their limits as more and more energy had to be generated and sent coursing through overloaded electrical grids, in some cases bringing down the entire civic infrastructure of nations already struggling to provide basic services for their own citizens. All to keep cut-out dolls in the ever-soaring throes of rapturous union. What the networking site’s founders, social media mavens, and advertising execs alike hadn’t factored into their calculations, however, was the well-known tendency for cut-out doll couplings to fall apart at some point, since any chain of one-dimensional figures is only as strong as its weakest link. It just took the first ADD yawn—so common among the paper thin, the light of weight—for that weakness to become obvious.
Copyright © 2012 by Geoffrey Grosshans