I can not recall the first time I ate at McDonalds. I remember my stepsister describing it as mickie dees and my Dad desperately trying to avoid it. The golden arches have travelled the world, a few even exist in Bangkok now, but would anyone describe McDonalds as addictive?
The term adddiction came to my eighties self in after school programs, it was the result of deformed drug dealers, marijuana and cocaine, the large dog detective that dared you to stay off drugs, addiction was limited to chemical substances, the word could not travel outside the criminal underworld. The origins of meaning are frivilous Derrida assures us, but its funny how one definition hijacked by a Reagen drug war can become so enforced, it causes the observer to ignore other symptoms deserving of the term.
Steam is a cloud based gaming service. It sells a virtual good downloads of video games. Steam could not qualify as an addiction under my previous variant of the term, but i wouldn’t hesitate to swoop down and buy a 75% off madness sale at any minute. Steam understands that consumerism is addictive, that if a price point is terribly low, the purhase becomes more compelling, never mind that virtual goods cost almost nothing to copy. When I bought batman arkham asylum for 7 usd i actually felt ripped off when I saw the same deal the next day, part of the purchase was its exclusivity, the fact that I logged in at the right time (side note in class right now and principal of school is talking about mc hammer in thai right now). Steam is addictive, but in ways that drugs aren’t. It is immateril omnipresent, a fix is as simple as a password.
The other night, convinced I needed to do work, i took a cab home. Stuck in traffic a few blocks from my house i got out and walked and boom! In a pc bar letting my batman game download. I even have a little canvas tote bag just for my games addiction. Everyday i get home and can’t wait to put it on. Games have a stopping point though, despite how much I enjoy team fortress 2, i still can’t play more than a few rounds with out a slight case of information overload filling me with dread. I remember in college chain smoking till i vomited, i couldn’t touch marlbro lights for years afterwards.
Addiction is a midddle groud, it exists because other things keep us from getting enough. Addiction is desire’s tumor, the way pleasure makes us sick, the destructive side of joy, but it is also punishment. When we finally got to mickey dees that day, the burger stung my throat, the pepsi burned, the fries were to hot, i cried in a litte yellow booth and was scared by a horribley pleasant clown, i didn’t want to go there again, but the pain persited, and you need another fry to balance the first one.