Jennifer Government: NationStates

“What do the Republics of Cueballs, the jungle paradise of Gurraanweeemoop, and the city state of Griliopolis have in common? If I add in the amazingly unoriginal Republic of Alec Meer, you’ll get the idea. Nation states is a quiz-based long-term multiplayer game where your country’s behaviour is based on the decisions you make for it. So Griliopolis is a Left-Leaning College state, and the Republic of Cueballs is a Compulsory Consumerist State. It’s all based on a passable Sci-Fi novel called ‘Jennifer Government’ by Max Barry.”

The Theocracy of Griliopolis

“Leather seats, stereo system, even a small refrigerator – by Chinese standards the bus made by the Japanese automaker Toyota is equipped with near luxuries. Nevertheless, almost no one has voluntarily gone into the rear cab of this new vehicle, because anybody who rests on the couch doesn’t get out alive. The bus is the latest achievement of the Chinese criminal justice system: a mobile execution chamber… From the outside, the execution Toyota differs in no way from an ordinary police wagon. Inside there are comfortable seats for the public prosecutor and judge, who can monitor events in the rear half of the vehicle on a modern flatscreen display, separated by a soundproof wall.”

My little bruv descended on me at the weekend like a very scruffy force of nature; he finally left today and, while it was really nice having him around, it does make me question my value system. Maudlin this sounds, but in my old age (since about the age of 12), I’ve grown into a proper judgemental facist with a sneering disregard for those who hold ‘shoulds’ about the world, which obviously requires a ‘should’ of my own.

I also spent today being lunched by Nominet, the UK’s domain name registry. For those not in the know, i.e. anybody with half a personality, they are the regulators of the .uk domain name, and are recognised as such by the government. They’re a not-for-profit organisation (based in Oxford, which made for a passable conversation topic), which is a tight line to walk; large one-off costs can cripple the careful budgeting of such a firm in a day and make it go whimpering to whatever parent runs it. Despite the strange pressure of their jobs then, they were deliciously nice people (apologies for the lechorous intonation, but I’ve been watching the Alan Clark diaries – more on which in a moment.) Each of them had a different seemingly pleasant outlook on life – I actually felt inspired by their presence, their certainty of their simple goal – for all their suits and smatterings of make-up they had the happiness beneath the surface of people who either believe they are doing the right thing, or have a well-funded sinecure and big lunches to look forward to, so are happy anyway.

Doesn’t mean I necessarily admired their purpose. To return to Alan Clark, what I admire is straightforward incidental psychosis, of a very particular sort. The Alan Clarks, the Rorschachs (from Alan Moore’s The Watchmen, which everyone should read), Ken Livingstone (once upon a time), John Lilburne – I love the marytrs of life, the anti-heroes. If I was ever to write a book, and one day I hope to, pointless and derivative as the concept of a novel is, I’d write about these people. They’re not simply rebels, they’re rebels who rebel unconsciously according to a very open moral code, which they will not compromise on, but will vocalise to their hearts’ content, and which is not coherent, or consistent in any rational manner. It’s recklessness, partially accidental, backing up strong beliefs which I admire, irrationally.