Trope-a-No-Longer-Day: Creepy Cleanliness

Creepy Cleanliness: To more than a few foreign visitors, yes. As William Gibson said in Disneyland With the Death Penalty, “Was it Laurie Anderson who said that VR would never look real until they learned how to put some dirt in it? Singapore’s airport, the Changi Airtropolis, seemed to possess no more resolution than some early VPL world. There was no dirt whatsoever; no muss, no furred fractal edge to things. Outside, the organic, florid as ever in the tropics, had been gardened into brilliant green, and all-too-perfect examples of itself. Only the clouds were feathered with chaos – weird columnar structures towering above the Strait of China.

The Empire is exquisitely groomed by a horde of tiny robotic negentropists to a state of perfection usually seen only in architect’s drawings, concept art, Gernsbackia, and the like. If you need some dirt and wear on things for them to seem natural, you’re out of luck, because if there was any visible entropy around, someone’s had it caught and shot before it became noticeable. (And gods alone help you if you admit a preference for grunginess, or litter, or some such, ’cause you might as well stand up in the middle of Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to announce your life-long devotion to scatophilia.)

2 thoughts on “Trope-a-No-Longer-Day: Creepy Cleanliness

  1. And here is where I would start having issues living there.

    I much rather prefer London in this respect. There are buildings there that still have bomb scars from the Blitz, and you can imagine the blood stains and bits of pieces still there in the very smallest cracks and crevasse. There are buildings that are still stained from the times when EVERYONE used coal for everything. There are the scars that they have faced entropy in battle, and are still standing, still fighting to this day.

    It’s almost like imagining a gentleman in a proper hat, walrus mustache, and an excellent suit, saying, “Good sir, I have survived when the rest of the city has burned down, the Boer and the Blitz and the Beatles, the funny bloke with the lip fuzz, Maggie, Cameron, and Brexit. I have endured much, survived even more, and I will still be here even when you are dust and gone.”

    (I wouldn’t mind the cleanliness, but I would mind those that had lost their honorable scars.)

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    • I’m going to second this. There’s something fascinating I’ve always found about old battlefields and the like, where the landmarks actually bear the (carefully preserved) wounds of the event that took place and the guides will actually point out the bullet holes left in the walls or the cannonball lodged in the chimney. Those little real, tangible links to events of great import — the ability to “touch the stigmata of history,” if you will — often create a certain sense of wonder that you can’t get from just reading or watching a movie.

      To say nothing, of course, of those artifacts for which the damage itself has become an iconic part of the item’s “pattern” (the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia) or where the ruins are carefully preserved in a “ruined” state to make a very specific point (The A-Bomb Dome, formerly the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall).

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