Friday, October 7, 2011

The Book That Predicts Occupy Wall Street: Bruce Sterling’s ‘Distraction’

If you’re confused about the point of Occupy Wall Street, here’s a great essay by Matt Stoller.
Or you can go even deeper (and weirder) and read Distraction, Bruce Sterling’s wildly entertaining and spookily prescient 1998 satire of American society in 2044. The book begins with our protagonist, political operative Oscar Valparaiso, trying to understand a video that shows a group of seemingly uncoordinated people showing up in a town and working together to demolish a bank in just a few minutes. (Sterling was describing a political flash mob five years before the term “flash mob” was even coined.) Throughout the course of the book, Oscar comes to understand the power of social-network political action and its implications for American democracy.

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