The future! Totally spoiled and vaguely off grid

May 31, 2015 Originally published on SFGate

What sort of pseudo-pioneering, retro-independent dream do you harbor, modern hipster?

Getting your hands genuinely dirty for a change? Unplugging from the mainstream dogma? Moving slightly away from the madding tech-bro crowd to grow your own artisan tomatoes and organic opium poppies as you chant excerpts from Steve Jobs’ bio to the stars every night whilst surfing the Dark Net via personal, anonymous Wi-Fi router powered by solar-charged batteries cooled by private well water, everything totally invisible to the PTB but still supercharged for free porn and lots of excellent shopping?

Hey, I hear you. And I have news: Your dream is quickly being realized.

Look here: Our future savior Elon Musk recently announced that Tesla’s new battery division already has enough pre-orders – more than 38,000 – for their badass new Powerwall home battery thing to keep the Gigaplex factory cranking overtime through much of 2016.

Lovers! Rebels! Revolutionaries! Your totally safe, reliable, pre-planned act of awesome quasi-rebellion is here

Lovers! Rebels! Revolutionaries! Your totally safe, reliable, pre-planned act of awesome quasi-rebellion is here

True. And do you know what will charge all those awesome Powerwalls that could free you from the electrical grid forevermore? Home solar arrays, of course, which are both dropping in price and increasing in muscle by the second, despite all efforts from Big Energy and the lizards of the GOP to convince everyone that we must keep pulverizing the earth to satiate our vicious oil gluttony. Ha.

Look over here: an intriguing little story about new, silent backyard wind turbines – tall, straw-like things that use no blades, endanger no birds and, in fact, have no moving parts whatsoever, yet theoretically crank enough energy to power a home, totally effortless and blackout-proof, making a hum so low only the worms can hear it. The crowdfunding starts next month. Science!

What to make of it all? Perhaps we should loop these intriguing stories back in to a semi-related tale about how Millennials and their wary brethren are, among many other curious attributes, a most untrusting bunch. I mean, obviously.

You are probably not at all surprised to learn that the upcoming generations, like pretty much everyone these days, don’t really trust the media. Or the police. Or the local utilities, politicians, the pundits, the news channels, the bulls-t megacorps lying to them about everything from GMOs to meat to what the hell Google is doing with all those military robots.

Perhaps they – like you, like everyone – all sense the same thing: the safety net is collapsing. The center has not held. Endless years of war, lies, misprision and conservative milquetoasts attacking everything from health care to college assistance, women’s rights to employment benefits has led to a nasty delusion that we are not, in fact, all in this together.

Sadly, the message is often just the opposite: Better hurry up and get yours before the well runs dry. Someone dares to get in your way? Crush their puny souls and move on. You know, just like Jesus intended.

Hence, ideas of community, social justice and the “common good” feel increasingly quaint. You think ISIS wants holy war with the U.S.? ISIS is a ragtag band of pathetic, misfit thugs who can barely tie their own headbands. For a real gang of trolls hungry to destabilize the American experiment, try the Koch brothers and their nefarious ilk. Those foul old boys hate you far more than ISIS ever could.

Can you sense a trend? A near future which combines amazing new tools and technologies to help you unplug from the institutional grid, defect from the dogma, shrug off the conservative whine, give the sour archbishop a vibrator and flip off the PTB, and still be able to tap an app and have artisan bourbon delivered to your door, organize a killer Burning Man theme camp every year and charge the BMW i8 in your garage? I bet you can.

What to call this impending pseudo-radical, semi-off grid, me-first, don’t-trust-anyone, the-kids-are-all-right era? Entitled rebellion? Insurgence dot com?

Wait, I think I’ve got it. “Pampered anarchy.” After all, who wants revolution without a decent pour-over coffee?

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Mark Morford

About Mark Morford