Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 25: The Public Be Damned
Part 4: Bogon Flux
Part 4: Bogon Flux
10 november 2014.
Shira’s apartment. It would have been school lunch time right now had not the district’s legal problems it might as well not exist. So five young women sit together on Shira’s living room couch: Shira and Jennifer on the left, Debbie on the right, and their mutual cousins Courtney and Schuyler between them, eating a Big Boss pizza Shira flew in from Pizza Mafia and watching some anonymous CMPC flack spin the company’s recent disaster into a certain glorious future. To the business press reporters, he says, “The recent disorder is just a glitch. We are implementing ways to bring the social disorder under control, make this state worthy of our great Nation, and bring our stock prices back up to where they were before. We owe it to our investors.”
Jennifer shouts, “Bogon flux is rising, rising!”
“What the—” blurts a confused Debbie.
Schuyler leans over Shira. “What language are you speaking this time, Jen?”
“Oh, just my usual tech speak.” Jennifer peers over the other girls and smiles at Debbie. “Say, Debbie, you know what a ‘shit detector’ is?”
Debbie stares back at her blankly. “Uh, some gadget that detects shit?”
Jennifer narrows her eyes. “I see critical thinking is not an educational priority in the House of Becket. ‘Shit detector’ is the street name for the a notional machine that detects lies. That’s a metaphor for the ability to think critically. We geeks prefer to call it a ‘bogometer.’ How ’bout I teach you how to build one?”
Jennifer stands up proudly before them, raises her finger, and proclaims, “Introduction to Quantum Bogodynamics!”
Debbie’s jaw drops at the indigestible words. “What?”
“Oh, you’ll understand what I mean once this short lesson is finished.” Jennifer winks. “I’m sure you’ve heard the word ‘bogus.’ Literally it means ‘counterfeit,’ like the funny money printed by the Federal Reserve, and in this case the fake currency is truth and the gang that counterfeits it is the Party. Bogosity is the noun, the bogon is the alleged subatomic particle carrying the force of bogosity the way electrons carry electricity, and bogon flux is the bogosity field emitted by a speaker or institution or their memes. Got it?”
“I guess so.”
“Good! You’ve heard of quantum physics, right?”
“Quantum electrodynamics is the branch of quantum physics that deals with electromagnetism. By analogy, quantum bogodynamics deals with bogosity fields. Politics deals with how people collectively manage their affairs. Corporatism is based on a specific political system called technocracy, in which people are governed from above by a hierarchy of experts, similar to the hierarchy of priests in a religious institution and the hierarchy of officers in an army or navy. The top commanding officer of a hierarchy is generally called a ’ruler.’ Political scientists generally class hierarchical systems under the term ‘authoritarianism.’ Democracy is the opposite, the governed collectively governing themselves, taking the ruler’s place. Naturally, it avoids hierarchy not just like the plague, but as one. Hierarchical power, you see, is built on a pyramid-like structure in which each level of command isolates the levels above from those below. If rulers and bureaucrats are so clueless, this is why. They are isolated from society, some say even from reality. Some people like to say they live in reality bubbles or pocket universes. Quantum bogodynamics says they emit bogosity fields. Bogon flux, or bogosity levels, can be measured by a mental device similar to a Geiger counter called a bogometer.”
“A shit detector.”
“To build this machine, first you need to know a little logic. I can get into the basic mechanics of reasoning when we have more time. First, let’s learn a few fallacies, or types of false arguments. Some of these are doozies. First off, we have the argument from force, whose form is, ‘This is true, or I’ll beat you up.’ Whatever bogus truth requires police or vigilante violence to make one believe falls under this fallacy. Because they take the same form, religious doctrines you are required to believe if you want to avoid going to Hell are bogus in the same way. As an example, how about this: You shall believe that is true that liberals are evil devil-worshipping commie faggot traitors, or you are an evil devil-worhsipping commie faggot traitor. The argument from force. Got it?”
“Wow! Seems pretty obvious to me now that you mention it.”
“Excellent! The next one’s another classic. Its famous Latin name is argumentum ad hominem, meaning argument against the person. Its form is: ‘You suck, therefore your argument is false.’ Whenever you hear the word ‘liberal,’ this fallacy is about to be committed. Other catchwords signifying ad hominem include ‘traitor,’ ‘terrorist,’ ‘homosexual,’ and ‘girl.’ Those last two relate to the official Party doctrine that women, homosexuals, nonwhites, and other Party non-members, like animals, have no souls and are incapable of reason. ‘Materialist’ is another, meaning that people in touch with reality, such as scientists, deny that the real world is false and the imaginary world is real. But the real meaning of all those insult words is ‘you suck,’ and they always take the logical form ‘you suck, therefore you’re wrong,” the argument against the person.”
Debbie’s face lights up with dawning realization. But Jennifer notices that Courtney and Schuyler’s jaws have dropped. Schuyler says, “You mean all the Party truths are based on these fallacies?”
“Just like all those religious doctrines that scientific understanding left in the dust long ago. Speaking of which, one fallacy the American Religion relies on every bit as much as any cult is the appeal to authority: it’s true because God, my guru, the great leader of the nation, or that celebrity spokeswhore on TV said it is. Then there’s the argument from conformity: it’s true because everybody else believes it’s true. Finally, and this ends our first lesson, there’s the circular argument, also known as begging the question: it’s true because it’s true. Is your bogometer working yet, Debbie?”
Debbie frowns. “You mean everything I was taught to believe, everything we’re being said is true, is actually false? How could it be?”
“Because the Party and the House of Becket use all these fallacies for one and only one reason: to increase their power over us by clouding our minds. That’s why critical thinking is so important. The bogometer is a weapon that kills fascists. That’s why the government banned it.”
Shira adds, “They want to deny what you see, that the emperor’s completely naked. If necessary, they’ll use brute force to make you deny the obvious.”
“What we just saw on TV was Uncle Wally’s professional liars emitting a bogosity field so strong it hurts most people. He pinned the gauge on my bogometer. Flacks do that to me. Those without bogometers equipped, better known as the blindly faithful and the gullible, can absorb huge amounts of bogosity, sometimes so much that they can then emit strong bogosity fields themselves. Those whose energy fields are entirely bogus are themselves called ‘bogons,’ like the particles. Bogosity is the Party’s entire source of power. Now do you understand, Debbie? Hmmm?” Jennifer underlines her question with a smile.
Everybody stares at Debbie. Her face goes red, her eyes go wide, terror slowly overcomes her as she realizes Jennifer has just planted a bomb in her mind. She giggles nervously. “Uh, you think they’ll find out?”
“Just think of it this way,” Jennifer replies. “The course of the Conservative Revolution has disappointed a lot of people. The more they justify their doctrines and policies with false reasoning and brute force, that is, the stronger the collective bogosity field they project, the more minds they lose because they see through the lies. The more minds they lose, the stronger the bogosity they feel they have to project to compensate. The result is social entropy, which leads to the decay of hierarchical systems such as the Imperial government. The masters of the Empire are complete bogons themselves because they deny that the Empire is in such an advanced state of decay that it’s on the verge of collapse no matter what they do. The more they deny the reality, the more they rely on lies. Then when the lies fail to work, they resort to force. The psychological mechanism that produces bogosity fields is evasion. You see now?”
Now Debbie stares ahead, torn by a war inside her mind. One voice says, reason is treason; the other says, Denial is suicide. Suddenly she stands up in panic and blurts, “Oh no I gotta go home.”
Schuyler and Courtney, fearing for her, get up and grab her arms. “Please don’t go home,” says Schuyler.
“You can spend the night with us,” says Courtney.
Debbie lets out a huge smile and lets her body go limp in their grasp. “Okay, I guess I don’t really have to go home.”
Her delighted cousins lock her in a double hug. “Great!” says Schuyler. She kisses Debbie on the cheek.
The CPMC flack onscreen continues to evade the business reporters’ questions, no matter how softball.
technosphere. The naked victim struggling helplessly against the ropes tying her to the bed is recognizable by her long wavy blond hair as videogame star Marisa Kirisame. The equally nude brown-skinned woman standing above her and contemplating the horrors she will inflict on the poor adorable witch looks like Shira but with straight hair and pointy ears: Aya Shibata, most depraved of evil dark elves and superstar of fighting games, dance games, and Vocaloid music videos. The super-deformed graffiti-art avatar of the Debaser pops in behind her, arms crossed, staring at her skeptically. “What the hell are you up to this time, Shira?” asks Sparks.
Shira looks over her shoulder to grin at him. “You’re in Aya’s Love Hotel now. I’m just having a little fun while boosting my rep among the yuri otaku. Now sit back and watch like everybody else. Option! Strap on!”
Her all-purpose construct zips over to her and starts forming the virtual version of Shira’s infamous strap-on — but stops halfway. Its mon detector suddenly activates. Now Sparks grins. “Well!”
The door flings open and Option rushes out. Shira and Sparks run out after it. Standing before them is a node of random data. Shira gasps; Sparks blurts out, “What the—”
AEGIS appears on Shira’s shoulder. “It’s a Glitch, the rarest and most coveted of all the mons in the Technosphere!”
Shira says, “I heard about ’em, but I never thought one would seek me out.”
Sparks says, “I heard if you capture one, you can equip it with any power or any combination.”
“But if you do,” AEGIS warns, “you risk erasing everything. At best, you would have to start all over at Level 1. But if you’re connected directly via brain-computer interface, it could kill you.”
“I’ll risk it,” says Shira. “Option! Capture the Glitch!” Option zips over to the Glitch, engulfs it, absorbs it, and files it away in her MonDex.
As they walk back in, Sparks says, “You think you can use that thing?”
“Why not?” says Shira. “I’m the Chaos type. It’s compatible.”
They look at Marisa. She stares at her tormentor in horror. Shira and Sparks look at each other. “I think she knows.”
“Fun’s over, yuri otaku! For now, anyway. Option! Let’s out!” Option forms a hoverboard, Shira hops on and pulls Sparks on behind her, and they fly out the door.
Marisa shakes off her fear paralysis enough to scream, “Tasuketeeeee!”
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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 1, 12/9/11. The “Introduction to Quantum Bogodynamics” scene is a scenario from the early-’00s Project Notebooks.]