Columns Saugatuck/Douglas Commercial Record

Blue Star

By Scott Sullivan
Apple Vision Pro headsets now out usher in the age of “spatial computing,” the tech giant says.
For $3,500 we can don goggles that let us experience “the intersection of the physical world around us and a virtual world fabricated by technology, while enabling humans and machines to harmoniously manipulate objects and spaces.”
In politics, humans manipulate. Can machines supply harmony?
“We can’t wait for people to experience the magic,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. Nor can he for bucks to roll in from sales after R&D and hype investments.
Q. Reality not enough for you? Too much?
A. Augment it.
Q. Given up on intelligence being authentic?
A. Artificial can restore hope for mass transformation now the Lions have lost again.
I was blinded by science to reality when I put on a set and Apple apps showed Taylor Swift kissing Travis Kelce, Donald Trump smirking, a befuddled Joe Biden, Stupor Bowl leadups and more ubiquities.
We’re a hopeful species. Where others might throw up their paws, fins or talons in despair, we invent solutions to problems we never even knew we had.
Apple figures Vision Pro will become as essential as iPhones after humans survived for 300,000 years without.
Now we’ve achieved this, what next? “I am curious — yellow,” I told the Starbucks barista.
“The 1967 Swedish porn film?” she asked.
“Porn is in beholders’ eyes,” I said, eyeing her. Your aprons are usually green. Why did the blues go away?”
“Olive oil,” she said.
“Popeye’s girlfriend?”
“Extra virgin. Yellow is for our new Oleato line, which,” she read from a script, “infuses award-winning Partanna olive oil into coffee to create a velvety smooth, deliciously lush and elevated experience. It’s transformative.”
“What awards did it win?” I asked. “I get press releases daily touting things as ‘award winning.’ I got a gold star in first grade for spelling ‘gold’ right, another for ‘star.’ ‘Award winning’s been on my résumé ever since.”
“Tastes creamy.”
“Reviews are mixed,” I said. “Some say Oleato has laxative effects. Nick O’Malley of calls the drink “anti-coffee — and not even in a fun way. They’re a pair of pleated khakis in a cup — lifeless bean juice cursed to leave your mouth with a viscous coating like you just drank from a neglected McDonald’s deep fryer with a straw.
“What’s left is a beige chasm of overaggressive marketing and lemming-like adherence to chasing the latest trends,” Nick says.
“Creep,” she spat. “No wonder Olive Oyl remained unbesmirched. Popeye, Bluto, Nick and you; what a ménage à quatre. Now you insinuate if I slip you a sample of lubricated joe, you’ll become as becoming as other egomaniacs whose pictures are in every paper.”
“Thanks,” I said, sipped and was transported, like Michael Corleone in “The Godfather,” to Sicilian groves where Castelvetranos thrive in Mediterranean sun and rich loamy soil.
“I feel elevated,” I said.
“Don’t get fresh ideas,” she said and slapped me — first in the face, which she recognized from this column — then for a $9.75 Oleato bill.
Now I was out $3,509.75 and still nothing new. I put on my Vision Pros hoping …
Apps opened on three dead deer, just off Blue Star Highway, rotting.
Who is responsible here? I wondered — recalling a 2007 sculpture placed next to Saugatuck City Hall that council ordered removed until headlines “Art city bans art” went national — to pick them up?
I toggled my Vision Pro to watch Netflix and up popped “The Deer Hunter.”
“Not this transformation!” I cried. “Soon we’ll all be corpses!”
“’The Deer Hunter,’” the barista said, “won five Oscars. You can buy a Special Edition of it on Amazon for $19.99.”
“Is there nothing not ‘special’?” I asked. “Who makes that discrimination? Some Olympians are ‘Special,’ others — say who win the Gold Medal — are not?”
Now, having clicked on a mental box, I owned the flick but was out $3,529.74. Fat Tuesday paraders appeared strolling by wearing beads, feathered boas and twirling parasols through downtown Saugatuck. “Wait, now I’m in the future?”
“Nope, still Starbucks. No more Oleatos for you.”
“You’re cutting me off?”
“Don’t tempt me, Sailor …”
“But I’m a vision pro,” I said. “See this camera?”
“Everyone’s got one,” she said. “See this phone?”
“Phony reality,” Trump said.
“Who let you in?” I asked.
“Is it over now?” Taylor sang.
“Who put oil in my joe?” asked Biden.
“You’re beholden to sheikhs,” I cried, shaking from caffeine and rage. “You oil machines to manipulate, not seek harmony.”
“Why not both?” Taylor asked.

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