Frequency: They (distributed)

THEY (distributed)

they made us part

Anna could blame herself, and sometimes she does, though the accident was of course objectively not her fault. The blame could be distributed a thousand different ways. It is this diffusion that causes her so much pain.

they should learn to answer for what their men do

During his twenties, Charlie worked with an outfit that repossessed and resold automobiles. He mostly worked on the sales end of things. His customers had universally poor credit, and the whole business was somewhat predatory. But Charlie figured it was a matter of distributed risk. Some of his customers were able to make the note. Others were not so lucky.

they take away our home

As the subprime market started to falter, Kent was lucky enough and smart enough to move some of his assets to cash. Then there were a couple of foreclosure opportunities he couldn’t pass up. He figured his obligations were distributed over a long enough time frame that he could cash in on the downturn, rather than suffer from it along with the schmucks who got in over their heads without knowing what they were doing.

they are not kind to us

At a show in San Francisco, Roger meets an artist who has a theory that the repressed angers of people all over the world are distributed through natural forces and cataclysms of various kinds, a sort of Freudian Gaia hypothesis.

they come around and study us

Intelligent alien life forms, the dealer Johnnie buys hash from explains as he weighs out a couple of grams of Afghan blond, are distributed in extremely small ships in the upper atmosphere, using nanotechnology to record our every move. We are, the man claims, not really autonomous agents, but in fact some other species’ experiment. The reflective hulls of their ships are what’s actually to blame for the greenhouse effect.

they may let us live

When Howard has dreams, they often feature a beautiful, healed landscape, with a kind of distributed serenity, but utterly devoid of human beings.

they say this is kind

When he grows tired of the traffic and shopping mall culture or is feeling particularly entrapped, Dave loads some coastal webcams into his browser and indulges in the globally distributed idea of California that he rarely experiences in real life California.

they show their hand

Howard wonders if people really buy the nebulous idea that a shadowy network of distributed vigilance is protecting them. From what he’s seen, the whole apparatus is like a box full of Lego pieces from various sets, which no one has quite figured out how to assemble.

they take back all we make

Though they are together, they are alone together, physically proximate but psychically distributed from each other, bound primarily by their enduring sense of loss.

they do what no man would want them to

Though you can never say never, flight patterns are now distributed in such a way that no plane is likely to crash into the skyline of a major US city again. The fighter jets now have more than enough time to scramble, and you can bet no one will hesitate to shoot down a commercial airliner with terrorists onboard.

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