Feedback is our weekly column of bizarre stories, implausible advertising claims, confusing instructions and more
4 May 2022
Love in the metaverse
A PR writes in a breathless tone that suggests they are just back from doing something else. “For the next generation dating in the metaverse won’t be optional,” we read. “There will be a blurry line between an in-person date and being on video. The audio will be spatial. The video will be immersive. And video dating will change as we know it.”
And Mark Zuckerberg will be hiding round a corner holding a big bucket for your most intimate secrets, ka-ching. We would bet on at least some people keeping the physical dating option open, if only because not all sensory experiences are fully available in the metaverse as yet. But never say never. History is littered with intrinsically real-world experiences we never expected to go virtual: shopping for shoes, boring people with holiday snaps, hurling abuse at strangers.
But the spatial audio bit sounds interesting. We weren’t aware the metaverse equated to full-on synaesthesia. More prosaically, the PR turns out to be offering a hook-up with the CEO of a video speed-dating app for hot chat with topics including “Requirements for dating in the metaverse” – a large headset and wide turning circle, we presume – and “Cheating in the metaverse”.
We are unsure whether this last one is in the sense of a “how to”, or just informing us how to tell if an avatar is cheating. There must be ways. Perhaps guilty feet have got no algorithm, to misquote a poet.
What the doctor ordered
Possibly fresh from a consultation in what we are now joining the world in misbranding as the metaverse, Andy Howe writes in concern at his doctor prescribing something that sounded very like “die, mister”. We are happy to confirm that this is a nasal spray for the treatment of hay fever, one Dymista, and merely homophonically alarming.
We are altogether more exercised by the advice his daughter finds in a Google preview window under the rubric “What to do when your baby poops in the bath”. “We recommend removing them from the tub and making sure to get rid of any excess water which might contain fecal matter. Once they’re completely dry, give them a wash with baby-safe disinfectant or boil them in water in the same way you would sterilize a pacifier before returning them to the bath.” And then be sure to throw away the baby with the… no, wait a moment. Following the trail back to its source, the advice turns out to be about bath toys, but still.
Like the sun going down
There are few more disheartening ideas for those who believe in human agency than Isaac Newton’s conception of a preordained clockwork universe. This is why we are vicariously pleased as Kathy Haskard, consulting some celestial runes in her neck of the woods, discovers a website promising that the “next planned solar eclipse that will be visible from Adelaide, will take place on April 20, 2023″.
We like the idea of throwing in the odd unplanned one every now and again to keep people on their toes. The errant adjective reminds Feedback of a report we once spotted in a small-town newspaper in Germany, that a spontaneous demonstration would occur on the main square at 11am on the following Tuesday, and of another clockwork certainty in keeping with our own native country’s aptitude for genteel chaos: disruption for anyone so foolhardy as to attempt to travel by train on a weekend or public holiday. We are still unsure whether the dread “planned engineering works” are any less annoying than the spontaneous, self-nucleating variety, or which authority ordains they should always be precisely in our way.
US TV commentator and all-round… egg Tucker Carlson has been teasing his new documentary film, The End of Men, with a trailer of such startling homoeroticism that it will possibly soon be banned in Florida.
Carlson’s premise is that male testosterone levels are declining, that this is a bad thing and that the best way to combat it is to get your testicles tanned. Feedback’s level of hormonal outrage remains middling about all of this. We are unsure of the last part, however, which seems to involve exposing private parts to infrared radiation. Hot, we suspect, and not in a good way.
Doing our due diligence, we do run across well-founded research reported in this organ in 2018 – no sniggering at the back, there – that “The higher your testosterone levels, the more you love soft rock”. On that basis, anything that accidentally ends up reducing them is probably all to the good.
Meanwhile, in the UK, The Sun reports that David Attenborough’s new one-off CGI-enhanced documentary Dinosaurs: The Final Day features a “softer ‘woke’ version of the T-Rex”. “Predators tend to just fight all the time and we wanted to show them pooing,” the article quotes executive producer Helen Thomas as saying. This mystifies us, as that wasn’t on our list as a specifically woke activity.
We suspect this might annoy those dinosaurs who like their T. rex raw in tooth and claw and think the world’s gone to the dogs since the mammals have been in charge, or whatever. We also suspect the final day of the dinosaurs would have been a good one for a spot of testicle tanning. Doesn’t seem to have done them any good, mind.
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