Jewish World Review Dec. 27, 2004 / 15 Teves, 5765

Andrei Codrescu

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2005: The Year of Fantasy | I am declaring 2005 the Year of Fantasy. In the YF the dollar will become convertible into Imaginary Dollars (IDs). It's been clear for some time that imagination is the real currency in a world that loses 600 Imagination Units (IUs) per person every year, because of Imagination-Sucking -Time-Consuming-Media-Generated-Distractions (ISTCMGDs).

In this kind of world, anybody with a good performing imagination can be rich. This is no longer an opinion. An Australian gamer known as Deathifier paid $26,500 current dollars to buy a virtual island at an online auction. The island exists only within Project Entropia, a computer role-playing game (RPG) played by thousands of players. Entropia allows gamers to buy and sell virtual items using real cash. Virtual items selling for cash on e-Bay have been around for a while, but Entropia is the beginning of a new economic order based on the imagination.

The Entropia economy lets gamers exchange real currency into PED (Project Entropia Dollars) and back again into real money. Ten PEDs are the equivalent to one US dollar and typical items sold include iron ingots ($5) and shogun armor ($1.70).

According to the BBC, "massively multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPGs) have a yearly gross economic impact equivalent to the GDP of the African nation of Namibia." Although Entropia comes with a gigantic abandoned castle, Marco Behrmann of Mindmark, developer of Entropia, is planning to sell other properties for people who wish to build their own virtual homes there. Hunting and mining rights are negotiable.

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There is no doubt that living out alternate lives in fantasy worlds will be the way of the future. As real land becomes scarce and the cost of medical care soars and Social Security vanishes, the Baby Boomers will be colonizing cyberspace from their wheelchairs as far as their imaginations can reach.

My advice for 2005 is: turn off all the ISTCMGDs and start saving IUs. It's hard to start from scratch, after years of being wrung dry by the Entertainment Complex (EC), but there are exercises for atrophied dreaming and fantasizing muscles (DFMs): poetry, dance, art, spontaneous games (SGs).

There is also the New Orleans School for the Imagination (NOSI), where virtuality is a pidgeon't heartbeat away from the Grail. To wit, if you're not yet invested in an MMORPG, apply to NOSI and trade in your U.S. dollars for IUs at NOSI this YF.

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JWR contributor Andrei Codrescu is a poet, commentator and author, most recently, of "Wakefield". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) Comment by clicking here.


12/20/04: The gift of disinformation
12/01/04: Pushed by a ghost
11/04/04: I was a test case for Namenda
10/13/04: Wanna make a fortune? Have a decade?
08/31/04: Lawsuit meant to help humanity is impacting negatively on the humanities
08/25/04: Dada poetry
08/11/04: A place to roll on the floor
07/22/04: The reading catastrophe
03/17/03: The talking carp
01/24/03: Old commies and bohemians never say die
01/02/03: Larry's dream
12/10/02: Notes on the mustache
10/28/02: Silence
09/11/02: 9/11 for Allen Ginsberg
06/20/02: Giving insurance to a young life
04/18/02: Advertisers and poets exchange places
04/12/02: DRACULA-LAND
03/21/02: Sacred ritual
02/22/02: Invasion of the Nanny-seekers
02/08/02: The body of liberty

© 2004, Andrei Codrescu.