Address is a proxy, mate

Worldwide VPN downloads reportedly reached 277 million last year, with one reason for the surge being a lockdown-induced appetite to circumvent streaming services’ geo-restrictions.

How can anyone talk about cultural homogenisation while we still need to install a browser extension to access universally relatable American classics like the pilot of The Twilight Zone, the story of a trainee astronaut attached to a virtual reality machine preparing him for a long period of overwhelming loneliness?

In that respect, VPNs have had to take on the role of travel agent for a grounded civilisation yearning to recapture the dopamine hit of international tourism, utilised in tandem with long, wistful sessions on Google Street View, lunging from stitched image to stitched image of road like the anthropomorphised desk toy in that viral video from what now feels like a lot longer than 10 years ago.

And so we can only locate our current state of mind somewhere between a fictional trainee astronaut from 1959 and an anthropomorphised desk toy from 2011, now so dependent on abstract ideas like proxy unblockers that we get confused when we can’t, say, VPN ourselves back into the EU to resolve the delayed delivery of a pair of jeans from Sweden – a state of affairs itself created by some people’s belief you can VPN fish into being English.

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