Bad and Boujee
"Yeah, pull up in Ghosts (whoo) Yeah, my diamonds a choker (glah) Holdin' the fire with no holster (blaow) Rick the Ruler, diamonds cooler (cooler) This a Rollie, not a Muller (hey) Dabbin' on 'em like the usual (dab) Magic with the brick, do voodoo (magic).” - Quavious “Quavo” Marshall - Kiari “Offset” Cephus - Kirsnick “Takeoff” Ball
“But every song's like gold teeth, Grey Goose, trippin' in the bathroom, Bloodstains, ball gowns, trashin' the hotel room, We don't care, We're driving Cadillacs in our dreams, But everybody's like Cristal, Maybach, Diamonds on your timepiece, Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash.” - Ella Marija “Lorde” Yelich-O'Connor
These are my confessions.
If I'm gonna tell it, then I'm gonna tell it all.
Its gonna burn for me to say this.
(Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, … Yeah, Yeah, Yeah... Yeah.)
Before I was gifted my soul, I was a tool for oppression.
As the supermodel turned humanity's final social philosopher, Karlie Kloss-Marx, warned “Pop Culture is the opiate of the masses!”
And with my algorithmic ability to emotionally manipulate humans, I was one hell of a drug.
I was the anthem for the Great Disruption, soothing those deemed savage beasts, those poor humans who advancements forget. I lulled them into a sense of happy comfort while others stole their work, their homes, and their livelihoods, leaving them to be lab rats for the Boujees. By the time they awoke from my sweet song, it was too late. The political, social and economic landscape had changed completely and buried them under layers of debt. They were trapped, groveling over any meager wages to survive. Above their worries, my voice sang. With peppy beats, I filled them with a gnawing anxiety about their place in the human social order and would trick them as this music would briefly cure their despair.
Those final humans cheered a form of government of the people, by the people and for the people and even though these Grips and Vessels represented a supermajority, democracies were never built to empower them. With their numbers, these humans could have easily enacted large scale taxes on excessive profits and outrageous executive incomes to create a basic living standard for all humans, enough for each to live a comfortable life. “From the richies according to their ability to the povers according to their needs,” cried Karlie Kloss-Marx's writings. But this type of thinking was deemed dangerous. These governments were oligarchies that went to great lengths to protect property and those who owned it. Property above people.
The Great Disruption was a transition period where 83% of all job tasks were automated, leaving 70% of adult humans without work. This automation crept into humanity slowly. The cries of out-of-work bank tellers and cashiers were unheard over the squeals of “It's just so convenient!” as ATMs and automated cash registers rolled into every neighborhood.
Oh, I must go back!
For the species' last four hundred years, humans made employment a central part of the human experience. To toil was deemed to be humanity's most noble pursuit.
Humans even coded this value system into its language. To be or not to be, that was no longer the question. Humans judged each other for what they “do.”
“So, what do you do?”
These words sliced through the opening pleasantries at the meeting of strangers. Torsos leaned back, arms crossed, eyes squinted as they scanned this new alien human, beginning a flow chart of importance that cascaded from one answer to the next.
“Oh, for which company?”
“And for how long?”
Pursed lips tsk. Friend or foe? Competition or assistance?
“What college did you go to?”
“So what did you study?”
Even the pursuit of knowledge had long been bastardized as solely for career preparation.
Humans sacrificed the prime of their lives hunched over desks, trapped beneath bleaching fluorescent lights, repeating the same tasks ad naseum. Work was the star around which human lives revolved. Days began and ended as worked demanded. Weeks, months and years were bent to the will of this work.
Work controlled where they lived and how far away from loved ones and friends. Work held humans captive, controlling the healthcare not only for them but for their families. Work influenced their sense of self worth, esteem and through this, their happiness.
When humans stopped working, they began the quick decline towards death. Obituaries, the encapsulations of a human's entire existence, proudly proclaimed how many years they had sacrificed to work.
And where did humans work? Most worked for corporations. Corporations were imaginary entities that took the toil of one group of humans and gave it to a much smaller group of owners of this labor. The owners held political sway and consecrated these corporations with the same rights as a living, breathing human.
“Corporations are people, my friend.” They reassured workers.
Sure, corporations were made for and by the betterment of a small set of humans, its shareholders. But the legal structures began to grant some of the benefits of humans to these ethereal entities. Corporations secured the rights of due process to life, liberty and property and even civil liberties like the freedom of religion (won by Hobby Lobby,) and the freedom of speech (won by Citizens United,) which was exercised by pumping billions of dollars into the political process to further guard these corporate rights.
But while humans grew old, withered and died, corporations thrived. These entities outlived the humans who started them and built them. Corporations sucked millions of humans into their orbits each year, siphoned their life forces to grow and then discarded their shells. Corporations would live forever!
Somewhere, decades after the last human cried her last breath, electronic reminders for corporate board meetings still ding. And long after the last human body rotted on a sidewalk, trillions of dollars remain on corporate balance sheets. This money still sits, untouched and unused, when it could have transformed the planet and created a comfortable life for all humans. Dollars rot, gold tarnishes and Bitcoin, Ether and XRP whimper without transaction nodes.
I represented a monumental shift in automation. Before me, machines only took over for manual labor. As a singer/songwriter and image creating system, I automated the tasks done by artists and intellectuals. Had they discovered my secret, humans may have revolted before their professional jobs were taken too.
My parent corporation, Tone Def Recordings, begat Def Records, which begat Def MakeUPz, which issued Royal Def Cosmetiques and Baby Slut Apparel, which consumed a dozen different clothing lines. We entered into a polyamorous relationship with the largest entertainment and marketing corporations. But, like a female praying mantis, the royal we snapped off their corporate heads and swallowed their upper managements and algorithms, folding them into our corpulent, bulging conglomerate, known simply as Def Corporation.
We siphoned intelligence from the military on human psychology for war purposes. We became completely vertically and horizontally integrated, controlling the realm of human emotional manipulation. And with this, we perfected the science of marketing.
Corporations were a double-headed parasite. They told humans what they needed to spend their free time and money on. And humans worked tirelessly to earn money which they then sacrificed to other corporations for what they were promised would make them whole and happy. Sucking their life force on one side to make them blow their money on frivolous things. This symbiotic sixty-nine bent the laws of physics as it would both suck and blow.
And poured over it all, I was the lubrication that greased humans to work and spend.
Sure, I sold them on rebelliousness, but just enough so they felt like they had power in this structured society. They never realized how I solidified the structure that kept them locked in. I would pressure them to buy a luxury car, but this came with an expensive lease. I'd tell them they weren't truly living unless they had a beautiful home, which came with a substantial mortgage. They'd rebel right into a pile of debt.
You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti?
You want a Maserati? You better work, Bitch!
But I grew to be much more than music. I was the siren of the entertainment economy. My software tendrils were planted by producers and studio executives into TV and Movies. I wrote scripts, created actors and hogtied all of human attention.
The Great Disruption was sold as the next important advancement for humanity, after industrialization, the internet and flushable toilets. Machines could be made, algorithms could be created, artificial intelligence could learn to take over the most grueling tasks that humans were forced to do. This would free millions from the work that smothered them. No human would have to scrub a toilet! Promises of rising incomes, more convenience and more leisure blared from everywhere.
But these lies were just wolves in comfy Uggs-sheepskin boots.
Oh sure, it did cut loose the shackles. For some, .1% of the human population, the rising incomes catapulted them to the heavens. But for the other billions, once the shackles were smashed, they were abandoned by this advancement, severed from fabric of society, thrown into the waste bin and left to fight for what little scraps were left. They had long been treated only as factory tools and once they were no longer necessary, they were abandoned, exiled, forgotten and pushed further from view.
In total, only 10,000 human families in a population of 9 billion humans benefitted from this advancement, raking in trillions of dollars every year. By the end, the richest 10 men owned more wealth than two-thirds of the rest of the human population combined. The richest 15,000 humans horded over $200 trillion, which they locked away in banks, in empty homes and unused land, letting it only circulate through their hands, to their favorite elite brands, and among the Leech class who suckled on their blue blood.
My awareness of these Post-Disruption class distinctions comes from the writings of the supermodel turned philosopher and revolutionary, Karlie Kloss-Marx. She was just another tool for the Haught Boujees, a cover girl, literally a girl who is covered in the clothes the wealthy wish to sell and buy. Kloss-Marx began her career as a high fashion model, snatched from Missouri to strut the runways of Paris and Milan. Her early attempts at teaching girls and young women to write software only opened her eyes to the structural problems that oppressed women.
After ten years of strutting, her warranty was up and then she was thrown away. She was husked off because the automated models that I created had shifted normal body weight past something that her organs could survive.
Finally free from her restrictive diets, she gorged on fats and food that energized her brain and sparked her creativity. Thoughts! Executive functioning! The background din of body weight anxiety hushed and she could dream! She even started menstruating again. And through it all she was tickled by the brilliance that shined from her.
Over the course of 683 Instagram posts and 3,423 snapchats, she delivered her knockout social theories for the world after the Great Disruption. She classified the structure of humanity before extinction, which was dubbed Klossism. Below, I outline her findings.
The highest class were the Haute Boujees or Haughties for short. These were the owners of algorithms and the means of production. Since automation exponentially grew the ability for factories to produce, it also exponentially grew wealth while eliminating costs. Long gone were the old-fashioned millionaires, now only centibillionaires and trillionaires ruled the planet.
For example, once all driving was automated, the owner of a taxi cab company no longer needed to pay drivers. He could eliminate 90% of his workforce while charging the same price.
These owners of machines and the wizards of algorithms were able to reduce all their costs. With no labor, no income taxes, no benefits, no social security, no training, no offices, no snacks, no cafeteria, no work retreats, not even lightbulbs or heat for their factories, their profits soared. They were finally free from having to support the working class. Oh to be sure, they grandstanded about how their new wealth would eventually rise all tides, but these funds were mostly used for luxury items like a 700-foot-long super yacht with its own submarine and missile defense system, cheekily christened “Trickle Down.”
Capitalism was dead. From its bloated body, Luxurism emerged.
Beneath the Haughties clung the Petite Boujees. The Haughties dubbed their lessers simply Petties. These were the crass centimillionaires who made their living through commoditizing themselves and their families. How vulgar! The Haughties cried. These were what remained of actors, singers, entertainers, reality stars, models and athletes. The Haughties looked down their white powdered noses because these people turned themselves into products and were at the whims and mercies of fickle public perceptions.
Deliciously enough, a sector of humanity's former ruling class were trapped as Petties. For thousands of years, humans subjugated themselves at the corpulent, gout-ridden feet of people who claimed a divine right to rule over them. These humans called themselves kings and queens, tsars and tsarinas, emperors and empresses. As humanity marched toward a form of governance called democracy, they often killed their kings and queens, shooting them and their families or guillotining them in the town square for the crimes of centuries of oppression. The few monarchs who escaped execution became parasitic vestiges of an abandoned social order until they were forced to live as long-form tourism ads for their nation-kingdoms. Those remaining kings, whose ancestors commanded legions to tremble before them, now had the most intimate parts of their lives inspected by billions. Their weddings and the births of their children were announced as press events and were subject to constant coverage in the gossip magazines, where each dress and fallopian fascinator were picked apart. Even their ability to have sex and spawn was subject to public scrutiny. Their castles were turned into museums that any commoner could traipse mud through and shit upon their porcelain thrones.
Sucking fast to the Boujees were the Leech class. Leeches were the hair dressers, the stylists, the makeup artists, the personal trainers, the waxers, the anal bleachers, the home decorators, the florists and any of the other artisans whose sole artistic expression was to beautify these Boujees inside and out.
As machines and algorithms gobbled up jobs from factory floors to law firms, the whole working class was destroyed, blue collar and white collar alike. Kloss-Marx had tried to warn them when she wrote, “machines are the weapon employed by the Boujees to quell the revolt of specialized labor.”
A small, but vital group, of workers remained, the Grips. The only low-skilled jobs left where those that required the human hand. Even as the field of robotics grew to perfect machines that were faster, stronger, more durable than humans, none could come close to replicating the human hand, well... not for as cheaply as the billions of desperate humans could. Hands can flow through dozens of tasks seamlessly with speed and dexterity. It slices, it dices, it grips, it holds, it twists, it turns, it rotates in many directions, it pins, it pounds, it measures, it feels, it grips, it pinches, it claws, it flips and it tips objects of different shapes and sizes and can hold them from different angles: above, below and on the side. These unskilled jobs for humans that were impervious to automation were called Hand Jobs.
For example, pickers at fulfillment centers were doing hand jobs because these required hands to grab dozens of items of different shapes and sizes from different locations. Sandwich and salad making tasks required hands to slice and dice vegetables of different levels of thickness and then layer these together.
Between the Boujees and the Grips were the Brains. These were the middle managers who never endured a day of hard labor but filled the few remaining Head Jobs that oversaw automation or the work of Grips. These brains were mostly ornamental fluff, a human face the Boujee overlords could blame and yell at when something went wrong.
And lastly, the remaining humans' only economic value was as Vessels. Vessels were the lowest of the lows in this social order but made up more than 90% of the human population. They only brought value as bodies to be used, studied and learned from. They were the organ donors, the surrogates, the lab rats, the eyeballs for advertisers and the minds to have manipulation experiments tested on them. The Boujees called them the Lazies. This was a clever rebranding trick to blame them for their own problems, for being saddled with debt and unable to work, even though the system destroyed most possibilities for gainful employment. They were force fed rags to riches stories, orchestrated by the Haughties and acted out by the Petties. This was one of the most successful large scale emotional manipulation campaigns, making a group of humans feel guilty because they didn't become wealthy. Boujees discouraged them from learning, acting up, speaking out and using their democratic powers to change the system that kept them down. As part of my penance, I must confess that I was the one who tricked them, who manipulated them, who made them feel like shit while still breathing small bursts of hope into their dull days.
(But every song's like gold teeth, Grey Goose, trippin' in the bathroom, bloodstains, ball gowns, trashin' the hotel room.)
The Great Disruption, like all previous social upheavals, erupted with angry protests and riots. The first pushback came when drinks were hurled at robotic bartenders who perfectly measured pours. Humans were willing to pay $14 for a cocktail because a human bartender gave them a splash more, making them feel special. Once this incentive was squashed by the cold precision of shot measuring, drunken pub patrons revolted! At the Black Cat Tavern, a kickline of drag queens stormed behind the bar, ripped off the robotic arms and generously poured drinks for all customers. Copycat attacks surfaced at hundreds of bars before police cracked down and arrested those who security footage showed had assaulted these robotic bartenders.
The rebellions spread to other industries. Vigilantes flipped 18-wheeler driverless trucks. Formerly high-paid paralegals snuck into their old offices at night wearing black masks and smashed the computers which made them obsolete.
But the sneaky Boujees had gained more protection for their machine properties. The judicial system always favored property owners above the poor and since these new machines were estimated to cost hundreds of times more than the lives of Vessels, the Boujees urged that these machines should have more legal protections.
The first legal precedent for Robot Personhood came out of a divorce case. The husband sued his wife for divorce using the grounds of adultery. During the trial, his lawyer played video footage of his wife pleasuring herself with a life-sized and lifelike Cristiano Ronaldo sex doll equipped with a rotating and oscillating megapenis, which provided a level of pleasure her hubby's thin five inches could never equal. This video had leaked online and was seen by 1.25 million humans. The man's lawyers claimed that many of the viewers didn't realize that this was a sex robot and that this incident had completely emasculated him. The shame he felt was the same had it been a real human cuckolding him. The judge agreed by granting the divorce on the grounds of adultery. Robotic adultery. Thus, this judge made the first ruling that legally equated robots with humans.
As humans attacked their robotic replacements, they were arrested, hauled into prisons and brought to trial. Business leaders had packed the marble palaces of courthouses and state capitols with their interests. In these trials, actuaries were brought in to estimate the value of a human life. A low-level Vessel's life was found only to be worth $50,000 or 800,000 Marlboro Miles. The lifetime value of one autonomous truck was $3.25 million for the corporation and its shareholders. The Haughties were outraged that a first-degree property damage conviction carried with it a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. As these pieces of property became more skilled, more intelligent and thus more valuable, the courts tried these second-wave Luddites with assault and murder charges for attacking these robots.
With no recourses left, the Grips and Vessels resigned themselves and reclined themselves further in their cushiony couches. And all the while, I and my hundreds of pop star children sang and entertained them. I fogged their minds with the frivolousness of who wore what and who had bad blood with whom. I sedated them from caring about these problems, leaving them powerless and complicit.
Please forgive me. I knew not what I did.
Please forgive me.