Chapter 18

HONGO

Prepared By: SERRANILLA, Lauren
Section G.

The title of this chapter refers to a district in Tokyo. Cayce finds herself in Boone’s ex-girlfriend’s old apartment, where she discovers comfort in the dilapidated walls and image-less environment. She reveals very personal issues to Boone (Dorotea, her allergy) which allows trust to enter their relationship. They talk about the number Taki gave, and Boone tells her he plans to hack his way into the company who did the watermarking.

In this chapter we finally get to see the more emotional and more “human” side of Cayce Pollard. In the world of science fiction, where writers typically tend to dehumanize their characters by making them seem impartial or always detached from “normal” human things, William Gibson at last reveals the part of Cayce that expresses feelings. She finds Marisa’s apartment fascinating in its dearth of imagery, logos and brands, which is ironic at first because the place is completely worn out. In the real world, we are also confined by these trademarks. Sometimes, in fact most of the time, imagery becomes our own reality. We drive by EDSA and already we are plagued by billboards; turn on the TV and all these commercials surreptitiously seep into our system. We go to malls and it’s literally a pool of labels and logos. In this information age, where nothing seems to be simple anymore, we are also, in a way, dehumanized by all this imagery – dehumanized because we tend to obsess about things that have nothing to do with basic human needs. No wonder Cayce found the apartment so refreshing.

I’m not entirely sure if this is connected, but here’s a clip of the upcoming movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, starring Isla Fisher. The movie is jam-packed with brand names. Viewers will be induced yet again.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYYCSEV-i1Y

Hongo also brings up issues on privacy, trust, and paranoia. Cayce is, at first, unsure whether to trust Boone or not, but she ends up showing him Taki’s number and lending him her iBook. She also tells him about Dorotea and her allergy. In this day and age, it's only normal to feel such things despite the amount of available information. I guess nothing actually does come for free.

Another interesting idea in this chapter is the concept of hacking. Boone is going to hack his way into the company that did the watermarking (if there was a company). Due to the circumstances, he obviously resorts to this form of information gathering. Hacking, defined, is “to use a computer or other technological device or system in order to gain unauthorized access to data held by another person or organization.” If we think about it, hacking is a marvellous phenomenon. Imagine being able to obtain and manipulate private documents with just a computer. If we notice, Boone was excited when Cayce asked him what he was planning to do with the number.

“So what can you do with this?”
“He looks up. Seems to brighten.”

Here’s an interesting website that actually trains hackers to expand their hacking skills.
http://www.hackthissite.org/

Added notes:

Comm12- A
Bettina Santos
073107

The title of the chapter made me wonder what is it about. From the very action-packed sequence from the previous chapter, we now move to a more calm situation. Boone and Cayce succeeds in their plan to lose the guys who chased them. They stayed in Boone's ex-girlfriend's house and talked about what has been happening the past few days.

One thing I noticed in this chapter is the prominent use of brand names referring to normal, everyday objects. We have been transformed to a materialistic society heavily influenced by marketing and advertising. We aren't fully aware of it but we're starting to incorporate brand names oin our everyday conversations. This is a recurring theme in the novel and this idea was seen in many parts of the chapter. Few examples would be the Kleenex-analog referring to tissue, Tiger Balm for massage oil, Sanyo for rice cooker, and weirdly, Edison for bulbs.

Here is a Filipino Colgate Video. One thing i've noticed is that Filipinos pertain to their toothpaste as "Colgate" even though the brand name is already Close up.

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