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Tycho / on Tue, Nov 20 2012 at 11:01 pm

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Gabriel’s elaborate oral history of the Wii U line caused us to reflect on whether lines are inventions or inherent in the human animal.  Well, not really.  But the things he was telling me were correlated with the strange cultures that form in all queues of people, no doubt everywhere in the world.  They adopt their own ways.  They vary in strength, but when you put people who don’t know each other together and pack them tight you’re fucking around with ancient magic. 

By the time their line had filed into the store, they were in the domain of people who deeply resented being there in the middle of the night to sell toys to jerks who could not wait until morning.  It’s a position I understand in absolute terms.  I might say “cultural artifact” instead of toy, and I might talk about structured play in a historical context, but I’d just be keeping them at work longer.  That’s not something anybody wants to do.  I mean, they don’t get a Wii U.  There is no unboxing ritual when they get home.  Their body is the box and what is inside the box is fear and rage.

But yes, once they got in, they were told that the line positions they had so enthusiastically internalized meant nothing, and would not be taken into account.  They worked it out ultimately, but I find that kind of thing interesting.  We feel those hierarchies - even hierarchies we just made up! - way, way down.

The line itself is a kind of two dimensional geography, and your awareness is always sort of focused around your spot; you can see incandescent Gods before you and wailing unfortunates behind.  You might see someone you know, further back.  They may look to you with that desperation, that hunger which is their lot, but you cannot go where they are.  It is their doom to be whipped to and fro at the tail of the beast.

(CW)TB out.

a lonely, weak, pathetic man

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