Monday, June 27, 2005

Off The Grid

John Twelve Hawks is an author. His new book The Traveler is about to come out, and the marketing blitz will be huge. Like, DaVinci Code huge. Because Doubleday thinks this book could be as big a success.
As it turns out, Janet Maslin likes it. A lot. Which is saying something, especially for a Sci-Fi novel.
But the goodness of the book (which I can't speak about, having not read it) isn't even what interests me about JTH. He claims to live "Off the Grid" - from a different NYTimes article:

Mr. Twelve Hawks, like two of the central characters in "The Traveler," is said to live "Off the Grid," which, according to the book's jacket, is to exist "invisible to the real-life surveillance networks that monitor people in our modern society."

His agent, Joe Regal, said Mr. Twelve Hawks uses an untraceable phone and a voice filter to communicate. "As far as I know, I've never heard his real voice," Mr. Regal said. Because of his concerns about privacy, Mr. Twelve Hawks has refused to make himself known or do interviews to publicize his book - and that could help spur more interest.

It's piqued my interest. Not so much in the book (though also in that) as in the extreme efforts required to go 'Off the Grid.' I've been interested in it since Terminator 2 espoused the virtues of the OTG life (especially if you and/or your son is humankind's only hope in the war against the machines). Obviously there's a Phillip K. Dick level of paranoia (healthy suspicion?) of the technological world that informs any decision to go OTG. But in the age of total surveillance, there'a a potentially huge downside to staying 'on the grid.' Most of us, in our everyday lives, don't transgress the right boundaries to endanger ourselves through the everyday breaches of our privacy to which we (willingly? knowingly?) submit. [In London you are captured on video appx 300 times per day... estimates vary but I'd bet New York isn't far off].

But what makes you go OTG? Why abandon what most people willingly adopt as the conveniences of modern life and keep your identity secret and definitively analog?
Is there a logic to the paranoia?

Other notes:

The Annie show at Scenic on Wednesday is sold out. I'm still working on scoring a ticket or two; not sure if that's gonna happen... [if youve got one let me know]

These guys like to disrupt local news.

PS - I forgot to mention Saturday's Stars / New Pornographers concert in Prospect Park. It was good. The 5 or 10 other thousand people there pretty much agreed.


Mike said...

"Not conspiracies. Conspiracy, singular."

dave said...

is this the same mike who once hit a hole-in-one on the pitch-and-putt golf course? America's (2nd) greatest fan of Attack The Gas Station? the author of the forthcoming "7 Silver Bullets"?
well, i guess i've got to link to your blog now, too

i can't place the reference... is that T2?

good to see you here (on my blog and the blogosphere in general)