Praying to the Google Gods

Imprisoned in the Technology

Where does fear of technology come from? Is it inertia? Fear of failure? Is there some deep-rooted part of the human psyche that would rather remain ignorant than risk looking like a fool when you spend dozens of hours building out that new website, only to have some snot-nosed eight year laugh because they built a better website when they were five?

Free not so muchMy first experience with praying to the Google Gods came when I began my journey as a fiction writer.  They (they being the self-appointed experts) warned me to never rely on free social media services in case they went out of business and, lo! I’d have no way to get in touch with my peeps anymore! So I did my research, scanned CNET reviews, attended SEO Optimization classes hosted by our local Small Business Administration and paid through the nose to go to Geek Girls, only to be left with a sensation that I must somehow be stupid. In the end, I build my website, painfully, only to have those PAID hosting companies go out of business … twice. Ouch! Talk about doing a lot of work for nothing!

[*maybe I should have sacrificed a LIVE chicken to the Google Gods instead of that McNuggets 4-pack?*]

In the end, I gave up and defected to Facebook for my social media fix, glorying in the ability to swap stories and listen to my friends. You see, even though I enjoy talking to people, I like listening to what is going on in their lives even more. Blogging feels too much like my ego wants to take the stage and shout ‘Look at me? Ain’t I great?’  Meh…  If I want applause I’ll go LARP or do some community theater. At least that way I can pretend to be somebody more interesting instead of little old me writing about me, me, me, me…

Anna Erishkigal at ARISIA 2013 as She Who IsMeeeee!!!  [*btw – I just used the word ‘I’ fifteen times already*]

But then all the social media companies went and decided if you like to write stories, than you must be a billionaire like J.K. Rowling so they started charging us to talk to our own friends. Nothing against Ms. Rowling … she earned every penny of her fame! But I write stories in between schlepping my kids around to activities and, quite frankly, I find all that ‘buy my book’ crap to be dreadfully boring. I’d rather listen to what YOU guys talk about so I can steal stuff from your lives and weave it into my stories. And, besides, I can’t afford to pay $30 every time I share a post.

[*Note to self: tell hubby to swing by Kentucky Fried Chicken to pick up a 30-piece bucket to say ‘hi’ to my old friends, the Google Gods…*]

So getting back to my fear of technology, I’ve never been a math whiz, so coding websites has always seemed a little too much like math.  It’s the reason I write science-fiction decorated epic fantasy and not hardcore science fiction even though my first great love was Isaac Asimov, not J.R.R. Tolkein. And I married an electrical engineer, not a bad boy, because … brains! You know that scene in Iron Man where Tony Stark solders the electronics in the suit?  Oooh….tony stark welding


So what is it about technology that strikes terror into an otherwise competent, well-educated person’s heart?  Maybe it’s because the Google Gods have decreed that all technology must come with its own secret language, designed to obfuscate the real meaning of otherwise simple things because technology has always given an advantage to the wielder?

I decided to tackle this musing in my usual way, to do an archeological dig through prehistory to find out how long humanity has been worshiping the Google Gods. It turns out mankind has been praying for technological understanding all the way back to Kothar, an ancient pre-Semitic god from a city-state called Ugarit. They didn’t have computers back then, but forging weapons was new, so people prayed Kothar might give them a little insight into how his initiates kept kicking their butts in war.

Kothar giving technology to BaalHere’s a picture of Kothar giving technology to Baal.  Nothing about Kothar, but see how Baal’s dressed nice while Kothar doesn’t even have a shirt? We still curse Baal’s name today as a demon who went out and bullied his neighbors, but nobody remembers diddly-squat about Kothar, the mastermind who invented the technology to make it happen. That was before Bill Gates made being a computer nerd cool. So much for being the brains.  I think I need a better Google God.

So then the Greeks started praying for a technological edge as well, only their Google God was named Hephaestus, another smith-god (also known as Vulcan). Hera pissed him off by calling him ugly, so he got even by making her a beautiful golden throne, and then when she sat down it grabbed onto her butt and wouldn’t let her go.  Hera got all ticked off (funny … nobody mentions what Zeus was doing during all of this … but he showed up 9 months later with Athena, claiming she’d spontaneously jumped out of his skull, so I have my suspicions) but couldn’t do anything about it, so finally the other gods lubricated Hephaestus with lots of wine and led him back to Mount Olympus in a parade to listen to Hera publicaly apologize. After that, nobody messed with Hephaestus anymore, but Hera got even by giving him Aphrodite as a wife. We all know how that turned out…

Bringing Hephaestus to free Hera

P.S. – Hephasteaus is the one riding the ass, not to be confused with Hera’s @$$ stuck to her golden throne.

Did I mention I like Hephasteaus? I think that would make him the first hacker?

So for thousands of years, people would mutter under their breath to these Pagan gods to figure out how to tackle technology until Steve Jobs came along, and then the Catholic Church said enough!  They wanted their Google Gods to be good and dead (this was back in 1997, when Steve Jobs was still alive).  Pope John Paul II declared that Saint Isadore of Seville was the proper person to pray to for all guidance related to the internet and computer use. They didn’t have a lot of computers in 600 A.D. when Saint Isadore lived, but he did compile one of the first encyclopedias, so I guess that will have to do.

Saint Isidore of Seville

So in any event, after much equal opportunity praying to Kothar and Hephasteaus and Saint Isadore and the late Steve Jobs, I finally got my blog rebuilt and hopefully this time it will stick?  So if you’re techno-phobic like I am, here’s THREE perfectly viable Google Gods you can pray to, plus Steve Jobs whose now looking down on us and might be inclined to grant miracles so Pope Benedict can beautify him.

Now I lay my blog to sleep,
I pray Steve Jobs my virus protection to keep,
And if JustHost goes bankrupt and goes away,
I pray my auto-backup saved screenshots that day.

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[*I plead the fifth about the dancing kittens*]

Be epic!

Anna Erishkigal