One of the grand developments that we used to call the "information superhighway" or the "world wide web" or "teh internets" is that we have the illusion that we're all connected. Most notably, I can dress my avatar up in pretty clothes and head out to the virtual grog shop to meet virtual chicks on Second Life, or "I" can party with my virtual friends from Australia in some massive multiplayer online game like World of Warcraft. I don't need to live my life based on my physical geography or my physical proximity to my "real" friends, or lack thereof.
On a more business-like level, the "elimination" of distance has allowed us to outsource call centers, host companies' web presences thousands of miles from where the physical company exists (if the physical company exists at all anymore), and hold "face-to-face" conferences with colleagues around the globe, all without leaving the comfort of our swivel chairs.
In other words, as myopic and simple-minded Thomas Friedman would have it, the world is flat.
Except it isn't.
We like to forget that none of this is real. Yes, it's useful and/or entertaining, and therefore has value for us, but if it doesn't work, we're left with the realization that the world is very much round and France and India are very much on different continents than the U.S., and that isolated hick backwaters (like where I'm from and love very much) really are in the middle of nowhere, instead of next door to the Metropolis on the big bad internet.
If you were psychoanalytically minded, you might call it the return of the repressed. Zizek might liken it to the Real overwhelming the Symbolic.
And it happens.
It's perhaps most fitting that it has happened to Dubai, which is virtual reality par excellence, a land that has recently been advertising a playground of a housing development/community that makes Disney's Celebration look authentic.
I expect to write more about Dubai's "FalconCity" in the future; however, Dubai's efforts to overtake Las Vegas as the Capital of the Simulacrum is only a side point -- the main point is that our world as we imagine it is utterly reliant upon bundles of cables doing their job properly. Banking and air travel, for instance, have developed to their stages based upon assumptions of secure and stable access to interconnected networks. Of less importance, blogging relies upon this access.
We are in a brave new world, until what...human voices wake us and we drown?