en·tro·py (n.)

  1. Symbol S For a closed thermodynamic system, a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work.
  2. A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.
  3. A measure of the loss of information in a transmitted message.
  4. The tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity.
  5. Inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society.

[German Entropie : Greek en-, in; see en-2 + Greek trop, transformation; see trep- in Indo-European Roots.]

Source: The American Heritage? Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Copyright — 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Hip Hop Hoops

the human beatbox: gutturally reversing automation

graffiti, hydraulics, turntablism: turning the artifacts of modern industrialism into works of art

breakdancing: humans coming to terms with their roboticization

sampling: retrieval from the data banks of the posthuman memory

hip hop: the aesthetic response to the machinations of cyborg culture

so … what does that mean for basketball, the sport most closely linked to hip hop culture? It means that basketball is at a break boundary in its evolution (what biologists call a cladogenesis), with the aesthetic and process-oriented form of "ghettoball" or "streetball" emerging from the highly-disciplined lineage of ball that Naismith introduced a century ago, and subverting cyborgification while doing so.

A Gendered Cyborg?

Golf, one of the last bastions of men, is under siege — and the movement has been underway since long before Martha Burk arrived on the scene.

In many sports with a high degree of male bonding, one of the strongest unifying factors is the proverbial swinging dick, and so it is in golf. The driver in golf is nothing more than the extension of the male phallus, shooting Balatajaculate hundreds of yards in all directions (preferably straight) while onlookers go slackjawed or nod approvingly. Even with drivers made out of graphite or titanium or moonrock, or whatever, the man's always got the Number One Wood in his hands.

There's even a class of "golfers" out there who do nothing but hit long drives, evoking comparisons to the disembodied circus schlongs of the porn industry. Preying on our insecurities, both groups can sell our fears back to us, either as equipment to lengthen us on the tee, or in the sack.

If you can't grip it and rip it, then you're not a man at all — or so the subtext reads.

But this is where it gets confusing, yet interesting. Many women are gripping it and ripping it right along with the men. Now maybe they aren't as dick-swinging as the male pros, but the top 25 female players are averaging over 260 yards per drive, which is much further than most Joe Titleists out there. The female golf pro is hermaphroditic in the vast ecosphere of sport.

Or maybe not. Golf is indeed a sport with a high K/L ratio (which shall hereafter be known on sportsBabel as the cyborg ratio so as to differentiate it — and the individual it represents — from the capital-labor ratio of the firm found in classical economics). Golf is a cyborg sport. And as Donna Haraway notes in A Cyborg Manifesto:

The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world; it has no truck with bisexuality, pre-oedipal symbiosis, unalienated labour, or other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the parts into a higher unity.

So perhaps the female golfer isn't hermaphroditic, after all. Perhaps the golfer — any golfer — carries with them the withering remnants of a phallocentric Western culture as they enter the posthuman cyborg state of tomorrow.

In The Flow

the sport psychology concept of flow: an outering of the central nervous system into the cooling medium of the sporting event?

lu·dic (adj.)

Of or relating to play or playfulness.

[French ludique, from Latin ludus, play. See leid- in Indo-European Roots.]

Source: The American Heritage? Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Copyright — 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Snippets on the Posthuman

As hormone flows control the stimulation of thought in each of our brains, so do electronic capital flows control advertising, the stimulation of thought in our collective virtual brain. Each of the above are examples of information, models of interconnected data themselves interconnected to form ever more complex patterns of knowledge and simulation.

* * *

McLuhan's concept of the Global Village may be one of his most misunderstood. Many have the mistaken impression that McLuhan was theorizing a global network where all people joined together in a utopian state of peace. While he was indeed optimistic about the future of electric man — if only we would heed his advice and become aware of the effects of our technologies — I do not believe that this is what he had in mind. Instead, he was pointing out that the 6 billion people on the planet were being drawn closer together by global communications networks, and therefore more aware of each other and more impacted by their actions, both good and bad.

* * *

Neuroscience research informs research on computer networks and vice-versa: our real and virtual brains are analogous. McLuhan was wrong, though, about equating our real bodies with our virtual ones, which is the implication of the Global Village. Instead, our real bodies, when outered into electric space, become the neurons of the virtual brain, of which there can only be one.

As we perform activities in real space that alter our information models — such as buying season tickets, filling out a consumer survey, or scoring 37 points for the Lakers — our action potentials are realized and a synapse fires in the global virtual brain.

This is the essence of Haraway's "informatics of domination."

* * *

We must recognize and emphasize the art inherent in our sport: for example, the first time we execute a skill; the high speed ballet that is WR and DB dancing down the sideline; the rat-tat-tat of the tic-tac-toe pass; the sound of mesh snapping as the ball arcs through the rim. This cyborg aesthetic is our only organic armour against the domination of — indeed, the annihilation by — the cybernetic.