Data Nation

Desert Patriot – John Fraim

The possibility of escaping the brainwashing of today’s media in the high desert.

The danger of doing so.

IDEA: A father and son work on a new way to create commonality in the world through matching similar data behaviors. In our story, an old man and his son work at the old man’s off the grid trailer in the high desert to create a new nation. The old man was a passionate member of one political party but now he sees both parties as mere creations of government to distract attention from government. It was much the similar that Thomas Paine reached many years ago in his pamphlet Common Sense. There is a point when a person reaches this realization and realizes the battle is always against the government. His son is one of the leading people at the world’s greatest Internet company (modeled after Google). He has the ability to put the data together or hire the people to do this.

Sometimes, it never happens, and citizens remain members (hostages) of one political party. They go into battle with the other political party as the government sits up in the tennis stands and watches the battle down below on the courts. In all of this, the battling teams on the court never realize there is someone sitting in the stands controlling all of their actions against each other, encouraging their grand divisions. It was always in the interest of the government to do this.

In the early part of this century, I wrote an article called Electric Symbols about Google. The premise was that words could be considered symbols of their time and the ability to measure words (via search) gave Google the ability to predict large symbol trends in culture through rising and decreasing words used in search. It was published in the peer-reviewed online publication called First Monday. The article earned me an invitation to visit Google by the VP of Publicity at the time.

* * *

Almost twenty years later, the world has changed so much. This change has been brought about, in large part, because of the actions of this company I visited in the early part of this century. The power of this company has grown so much since those first days when I wrote about it. Now, I see it in a different way.

Google has the data that identifies the electronic activities of the entire nation. While these activities have so far been used to sell advertising by matching similar electronic behavior, they have never been used to create a separate political party. A third-party alternative in American might arise as a reality if the great Internet companies are involved. Third parties today should really be data community parties. Certainly not just Libertarians or Green Party members.

Perhaps this is the grand evolution for America at this time? Not to be a nation defined by states and cities and current political parties. But rather, as a nation defined by major groups of data. The old world of nations was defined by tradition and physical geography. The new world of nations is better defined by data not tradition or geography.

People worry the great Internet data companies like Google, FaceBook and Twitter are aligned with one side of the political spectrum. This might be so. But, in the end, the real power of these companies will not come from alignmentwith a current political party but rather in the creationof a new political party.

This is the real challenge to Google and the other great Internet data companies. It is not in the support of one political party and its view of the world but rather in creating a new political party with its new view of the world. The members of the party will be drawn together not from geography or traditional voting records of their family or from peer pressure, but rather by their data profile/biography. Their electronic activity. The pushing of buttons. That which goes so much unseen from their behavior. This is the grand (unrecognized yet) definer today of people and communities of people.

The Incredible Borego Desert West of the Salton Sea (A good place to hide out)

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People are defined by their electronic actions. Those data actions close to each other create communities and these communities ultimately can create political parties. There are many common elements of the current American electorate that various types of consensus could be agreed upon. Yet commonality is not searched out in the current political battles. Any type of activity seems controlled by its relation to one of the two political parties. Is it possible to somewhat escape the stigma (and label or branding) of a political party?

What if common elements of this “in between” electorate in America might be identified and put into action? A common mixture of independents and Libertarians and green party people and other outside groups. And then, more things. For instance, there might be great affinity between 1stAmendment people and those fighting for medical marijuana. Unusual mixtures like this creating a new party in America.

* * *

STORY IDEA: An old 80-year old man in the desert is father to a brilliant son at the great data company of the world. Together, they attempt to create a new political party through similarities in data behavior rather than real world definers such as status, demographics, psychographics or other traditional definers of communities. We don’t know the old man has this brilliant son during the first part of the story and only discover later.

METHOD: 1st Person Narrative of a 3rdPerson Character caught up in the middle of the above. Writing in the 1stperson voice of another person, ideas and feelings can be better expressed than writing in our own 1stperson voice. 1stperson voice of a 3rdperson. How best to express a writer’s true feelings about today without being labeled on one side of the political aisle? Once this label is placed on someone, there is very little discussion and this person is pretty much dismissed, somewhat like the Pod people aliens in the 1950s film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But there are so many people in America today somewhere between the two great political labels. These political designations sit on all Americans like great Scarlet Lettersbranding the particular person forever without any more discussion. The old man narrator of the story, in his desert trailer, speaks for this group.

BACKGROUND: An old man who lives in a trailer in the high desert talks about his life and how much things have changed. He is not politically correct and expresses his views on the changes in the world since he was born. The old man serves as a metaphor of the author’s first-person narrative. The old man somewhat a necessary disguise for this voice in these incredibly divided times. From recent events in the media, it seems obvious that the two sides have already divided up on sides of a coming Civil War. In this situation, it is best to keep the author of particular works of literature disguised and hidden from discovery so that their message can continue to get out there to the nation. In effect, his publishing venture seems against the current government.

Another Scenario for the Old Man’s Place (Diorama against computer background)

NARRATIVE: “I moved out here to the high desert from LA almost ten years ago when the new administration came in. It wasn’t all my own decision as there were a number of groups chasing me out of town. I had a number of threats when the new administration came in and LA seemed a dangerous town to be in for me. It’s hard (impossible) to remain a conservative in LA these days. It wasn’t like this when I was born there but it is now. You can bitch about this change in the world, but it won’t get you very far except making you into a bitter person. It seems to me it is best to simply accept this new change in the world and then attempt to figure out how you might fit into it. Is there a place in this world for an old man during the so-called golden years of life?”

The father and son work to define a new “data nation” in America. Are there electronic similarities between groups regarding things like similar friends, songs and photos? There were many things that could matched up to obtain communities of interest. Could these data communities be combined into new political groups?

They use their findings to create devices to bring this group together. They create a series of films and books. A series of paintings and photographs. Is this the best way to reach out to this new group they have defined?

Meanwhile, the two political groups in the nation continue to lock into a deathly political battle to the end. They see no commonalities in their worlds. Yet the old man and his son identify many things the two groups have in common. These commonalities are withheld from the people by constant attempts at division. The real investment was in keeping the two-party system in place. As long as it was in place, there would always be a two-party perspective or view of life. It was in the interest of the government to maintain the two-party system. Once they had the people battling between these parties, the government always won the war. It was a war that most of the citizens of the nation never even realized they were engaged in battle.

* * *

The old man and his son know all about the above and are committed to creating a new nation through data connections. The story that follows is partly one of their methods in gathering this information and then creating communication to this data community. The new community that comes together through the collection of data similarities. Perhaps a large Woodstock-Like event? An event that starts the new political party? Or, perhaps it starts much quieter?

Soon, the government sees them as a threat: they are pulling together new groups of people beyond the geographic political boundaries. As long as these boundaries are tied to geography, the old system of political power is the winner. But when the boundaries are tied to data, the new system of power is the winner. Such a simple observation to make about the world today. Yet one that few make. Their lives drastically change after the government views them as a threat. This puts them into a battle not with the current administration but rather the “deep state” currently in control of the nation.

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