Can Alexa repair my Brexit and Trump-induced ills? | Stewart Lee | Opinion


I woke early on Monday morning, and sat bolt upright clutching my chest, with the sense that one thing was afoot. Over the Atlantic, in Washington, a mysterious grey-haired baby, with the face of a wizened outdated man, burst forth from an enormous blue egg, laid unnoticed in a single day within the White Home backyard, and declared as self-evident the key truths that everybody else had at all times inwardly admitted.

The primary rays of daybreak revealed Donald Trump, orange-pubed, peanut-knobbed and bare, as he has at all times been, and the chlorinated rooster nuggets of the buccaneering Brexiteers’ commerce deal goals swung within the steadiness, just like the president’s pendulous ginger balls smashing right into a human face – for ever.

Donald Trump’s crazed social-media killdozer lurched into incoherent motion, damning Theresa Could for not following his unattainable Brexit recommendation, and chewed established diplomatic protocols into its caterpillar tracks. Forces far better than Donald Trump had been enjoying him like a dancing puppet.

Till that time, Could had been squinting her eyes to think about a wispy linen fragment draped, as upon the pale thighs of Christ crucified, over the president’s most secret elements. However on Tuesday the outgoing prime minister gave up pretending that she may see Donald Trump as something apart from what he was. A mad, bare bastard. And she or he cradled the bizarre, aged egg-baby to her bosom one last time, earlier than surrendering him to his destiny.

Think about residing in a rustic whose chaotic administration might be described by an official observer as “irregular, dysfunctional, unpredictable, faction riven, diplomatically clumsy and inept”.

One may solely pity the doomed inhabitants of such a ineffective land, and hope {that a} new and dynamic chief may enhance their sorry lot earlier than their nation as they knew it was irrevocably ruined for ever.

Final Sunday I did a standup present in Bristol. The final time I performed the venue was the weekend after the EU referendum, and the following day I had gone to the physician’s, feeling flaky, and been identified with hypertension.

I feel my situation is Brexit-exacerbated, and as such reveals no instant signal of dissipating. However 30 years of motorway meals can’t have helped. I simply purchased a lorry driver’s shirt at a service station shirt store with factors earned on my West Cornwall Pasty Firm loyalty card. I hope I don’t crash out with no deal, too. However then no deal is healthier than a foul deal.

In our forthcoming courageous new post-Brexit world, well being secretary Matt Hancock would have hypertension victims like me bypass our GPs at supply, and seek the advice of immediately with Amazon’s query and reply app Alexa.

I don’t personal an Alexa, however a relative does, and I’ve discovered the app in a position to reply most questions, with the notable exception of any which can be about Amazon’s tax affairs, a topic upon which it’s unusually unwell knowledgeable. “Alexa. What tacitly authorized strategies does Amazon use to scale back its tax invoice, and do you personally really feel it is a ethical factor to do?”

However may Alexa act as an unbiased physician? “Alexa, Alexa. I hope you’ll be able to assist me. I really feel like a pair of curtains.” “Definitely sir. Amazon Fundamentals curtain set with grommets is £14.77. Get it delivered free tomorrow with Amazon Prime. See extra gives in Dwelling Furnishings.”

Moderately brilliantly, a lot of the Amazon income generated by asking Alexa medical questions can be squirrelled away by Jeff Bezos untaxed in knotholes, denying the NHS additional funding and rushing its demise. At no cost-market fundamentalists, it’s all too, too excellent!

At my final blood strain checkup, the nurse advised me I used to be now eligible, on the leisure centre, for “free chair-based exercise”. That may be a low bar. I used to be not protected in a vertical place. And but I arise for a residing. However is it any surprise we’re confused, our hearts hammering arduous in our mouths?

On Tuesday, I learn in the Guardian, that Boris Piccaninny Watermelon Letterbox Cake Bumboys Vampires Haircut Inconclusive-Cocaine-Occasion Wall-Spaffer Spunk-Burster Fuck-Enterprise Fuck-The-Households Get-Off-My-Fucking-Laptop computer Turds Johnson “must embark on a whistlestop allure offensive in direction of EU leaders if he’s critical about avoiding no deal”.

I’m certain the EU leaders are wanting ahead to Turds’ allure offensive, which is bound to be each charming and offensive in equal measure. And I hope Fuck-The-Households can activate that very same fabled allure, as Donald Trump simply gave the fantasy of the unassailable Anglo-American relationship one other of its common camp guard punishment beatings.

Seeing Bumboys’ silly, mendacity face on TV makes me offended once more, and I can really feel my blood strain rising. I may ask an Alexa, I suppose, if there are higher methods of managing my moods, however then Amazon would have a document of my emotional swings, and little snapshots of the state of me usually, ought to I proceed to seek the advice of it long run. Is that this the type of data we needs to be sharing with Massive Information, uniquely porous because it seems to be?

What if the Machine reads these columns, and scans my standup, and has me down as a critic of its servants? What if Alexa’s well being knowledge is hacked by the identical forces that sabotage elections and create alt-right avatars on social media? “Alexa, I’ve a headache.” “Then eat floor damaged glass, drink bleach, and lie down on a railway monitor.”

On Wednesday, I used to be listening to Hawkwind’s 2016 album The Machine Stops, impressed by the 1909 EM Forster story of the identical title, wherein people reside in subterranean isolation, their emotional and bodily necessities fulfilled by an all-powerful international engine. Information are fluid, and other people share unverifiable opinions through prompt messaging. It seems our precise existence is now the identical as an insane area rock idea album, primarily based on a 110-year-old science fiction story. Get up. You might be already useless.

Stewart Lee’s new standup present, Snowflake/Twister, is on the Leicester Sq. theatre, London, from 29 October to 25 January 2020, with nationwide dates to observe



Supply hyperlink

Leave a Reply