Perhaps a little off topic for the usual gay banter and uplifting messages of this blog, but it has of late been in my and many of my correspondent’s opinion that the Internet is dead. If by “correspondent” I mean those people I only communicate with through the Book of Face, since I would never talk to colleagues and coworkers about what is actually on my mind. Because that would be, and has been, financial suicide to speak openly, joke frequently, and generally not follow the Code of the current Western Curriculum. As much as I enjoy my Big Naturals, on-demand Oprah, and streamed episodes of The Wire and Breaking Bad, it has become more apparent that we are turning a corner in the Information Age, taking the bell curve to the downy part, to a place where the tubes of inter are clogged with so much proverbial and actual crap as to render the system as a tool of intellectual freedom, social connectivity and grassroots egalitarian to be useless and if anything has been transformed into another arm of the apparatchiks of the Corporgovernrationment and way to permeate our lives with filmy mink-oily intrusive advertising mindscape or in the words of Matt Zuckerberg, “Mwaaahahahahaha, you’re sticky eyeballs are all mine! Mine! Mine! Ayyyyah, yabagabageezah!”*
So, let me muse, expound and otherwise exgest what I have ingested in guiding you, dear reader, through the Top Ten Reasons The Internet Is Over.
1. Everything on the Internet has turned into a list. The top five places to visit before you wash that spork you found between the stove and counter, the ten most visited places in Lithuania by gender fluid grandparents, thirty-five punctuation marks commonly found in Proust, Ten Life Lessons and Proverbs Rich Spoiled Brats with IT companies have turned into a poster they sell to everyone to make you feel like a total failure even though you put yourself though college and make a decent income that places you above 40% of the populations median gross take home pay and five paid sick days. Please, Internet, Inty, buddy, give me five good reasons to keep reading list after list. Other than creating lists is a format that is simple to foist on a pool of contract writers all trying to break in to… something…. with little oversight of management. These lists are easy to create, easy for the editor to approve, and simple to digest for a readership that has reached information overload and yes, we just want to know 23.8 funny things Pandas did from March 2002 to sometime mid-January, let’s say the 18th, of 2006.
2. Memespotting. The online world is a moist dank dim lit breeding ground for memes. The Book of Face by altering its algorithm is trying to change that, but by now the meme seems embedded into our online culture. No one wants to write anything, they just want to build some antimotivational poster, repost links and bundle traffic. Memes are killing our bandwidth. Inspirational posters. Anti-inspirational posters. Gifs of someone dancing or planking or running and falling into that exact object your puerile subconscious thinks is funny or you are sexually attracted to and this arousal is only expressed through laughter and very damp armpits. These shared videos, smart text over dump pictures are indeed fun, diverting, entertaining, but after the 4,000,000,000,000,000th one, are we getting lost in our real lives as we search news and information sources for that one picture of a cat standing on a pony we can say “hang in there” over or be the first one during a major sporting event, or war, to do a screen capture of [your event here for $100 cash] and then say, “hang in there” over it so we can send it into the aether of Inty and hope we too get a million hits, or shares, or likes and we can ourselves become famous and have our company we run out of our garage bought up by a major tech firm…. except the only business we run in our garage is drugs, and that’s taking without mom and spouse seeing us and not dealing. Not that this blogger doesn’t invite h/i/s/er/t’s readership to repost the meme, share, like, comment, screen capture and send to someone who sends to someone who emails Bob who Fwds it to Margie and makes it the Next Big Thing for about three hours on a Tuesday before everyone gets board and moves on to… Cats.
3. Cats ate the internet. There is just the liver, gallbladder and feet left. Maybe the tail. Some poop, for certain. Not entirely a bad thing and for all we know, things are going according to a plan they thought up about 6-8000 years ago to ensure we worship them. It was, alas, the cat video that first received the coveted one million views. Cats are indeed cute. What is different about today’s LoL cat from that of, say, the LoL cat of 1997 is that back then there was also a lot of online white papers, academic sites, and of course old fashioned shaved muff porn, but the gates of content had yet to come crashing down to monitise every word with a dancing alien or man in trench-coat telling us George Bush had lowered rates on mortgages and the banner ad was about the best the Corportists could clutter our pages with. There was a time kids before the chat room zombies broke out of their little rooms and threads (each obeying that the fifth comment was “fuck you” in response to something said in #4) and spill out into the Candy Crush that is today’s Tubes.
4. The NSA knows you pee funny. Rather than expanding freedom, the Internet had taught us to allow more tracking and harvesting of our lives. They mask by saying their tracking of our “experience with http://www.timesuck.com” is in order to better understand our customers. We believe them and others and slowly we have erroded the private spaces and turned all public venues into a confessional about what brands we buy. This ever pervasive system of tracking and recording of thoughts, actions, purchases, temporary fasination with that fish on woman porn from Japan serves companies and why not the government? One server can better monitor the population far more elegantly than any Office of Propaganda could or Ministry of Information could of the printed word since samizdats and broadsheets can be passed on with some level of discreetness but not here…. unless you know Tor. Or post from Apple stores. Or… spend too much time trying to mask your identity. Which this blogger attempted, but after that conversation with the boss about “that thing you said on the internet we are taking out of context and will rake you over the coals for!”** learned that this was more difficult that previously thought. Hence… the semi-anonymous autonomy of this blog, but understanding that in the end, the Corporgovernrationment knows who I am, as does Sallie Mae, and boy I owe that bitch money. When the Germans are designing a system to avoid sending data through your country for fear of some human rights abuses, that’s messed up. I mean. They killed Hitler. But first, they put him in power. Actually wait a second! Hitler killed Hitler…. Oh shit….
5. Net Neutrality buried your clever comment on Slate. Yes, along with the alleged Kill Switch in the hands of Uncle O (not sure if this is true but it’s out there on the internet), the Great Fire Wall of The People’s Republic of China (actual name of the country, funny… NPR goes through great struggles to pronounce the names of countries in the form the people of that nation do, switch between calling it Burma and Myanmar depending on that country’s trade status with the US but China… is just China. But look them up in the phone book when you want a visa. Hint. It’s under the letter P for “People’s”), we seem to be losing control of this monster of wires and servers and data centers to the larger corporations that ever control the system for their private gain. Understandable that if you were burning 10000000kwh a day on maintaining a system so that people would use to paste Miley Cyrus’s head on some funny animal or have her twerk in various classical representational artworks and a few abstracts, one Rothko and toss in a Balthus or two just because that would actually have made the old man’s day.
6. The film industry killed your shared porn. And controls access to Golden Girls. One fine spring day, I got a letter in the mail. A missive from the cable company. Written on a pink piece of paper was a letter informing me that someone attempted to download a film owned by Paramount, or Warner Brothers, some goddamn epic from Warner Brothers and if this happened again, they would return our house to the savage state, by slowing down or removing our connection to the Tubes and perhaps even take the person paying the cable bill (there were six room mates, so suspects galore but the person who would be arrested was the party named on the cable bill… thankfully not me, but I could only imagine the NSA, who strangely enough is tasked with securing our national cinematic borders and enforcing the international treaties that cover such interests as making sure some kid in India doesn’t see Iron Man III without paying for the licence.
7. Sticky Clicky Eyebally linky pages. Developers. Stop making everything a hyperlink. I thought the popup was annoying. Making every micron of your stupid webpage “real estate” some linkable ad or statement or just cluttering it up with various junk is making it harder and harder to see what it is I came to your site for. Which is usually some kind of sexual gratification without actually subscribing to the “real” content since, I mean, come on, leave something up to the imagination. Which brings me to….
8. The Weather Channel. I hated you for naming every one of Father Nature’s farts that come barreling through in winter. Now, you have totally buried everything useful in a jumble of “Raw/Real/Shocking” videos that play without my clicking on them (see #7 above), advertisements that look like news except for the same “one crazy trick this single mom tried to save a bundle on ultra glide personal lubricant/Thai food delivered/truck insurance” or whatever Obama has just slashed rates on… which, like George Bush, seems to be home mortgages… which still seem to inspire space aliens to dance. Or men in trench-coats. Or woman joggers. Seriously, this website is bad for anyone trying to understand the next morning commute since each storm we are promised will PACK A PUNCH, DUMP ON US, INSPECT OUR COLONS FOR POLYPS, MAKE US BUY ALL THE MILK IN THE STORE. Today, we have the technology to predict events with increasing accuracy. However, we choose not to use these powers. Like healthcare, where we have the machines and know-how to create all of us in the image of the 6 Million Dollar Man (kids, use The Googles… see #9 below), we refuse to turn on this power. We want to bury our forecasts in the buttery goodness of links and e-jazzhands until each minor storm front is seen as a disaster, teaches us all not to trust information so that when the next real actual for true storm comes by… nah, Sharknado swooping in from Canada? Never will happen. They just want us to buy up all the milk in the store. Believe me, start to learn to trust. Start going to http://www.weather.gov for your news. If you have not been there. It’s where the Weather Channel gets its information. That is, if it doesn’t just The Googles it. Which brings me to The Googles.
9. The Googles. Notice how people act differently today? Anything strange about your last conversation? Try to remember something, anything, and just couldn’t. But The Googles could find that out for us. It can be added to any conversation. When was the time you or someone you loved said, “Google.” I bet not too long ago counted the number of times “Google” was said in some instance. Maybe a cultural work. Maybe a private conversation. Google it. As MS Word changed the way we write, and think in a cut-n-paste manner, so too The Googles have changed the way we recall, remember, and find information. This would be perhaps a good thing. I mean, I didn’t remember who the third friend of Strawberry Shortcake or what episode The Skipper said such-and-such, but I can google it. I can find articles and bands and addresses and strange fictions mixed with fact and odd photos of fat kids at the click of a button. I know linger Evan kneed to no hau too spell. But that in The Googles and see what you get. The issue here, then, is not all t his world at our fingertips, but that the algorithm The Googles is using is shaping our perception in a particular way. For now, perhaps benign, but in time, with an increasing relyance on this tool, perhaps we risk getting our thinkers soft so no more makey makey ideas more better or remember what we are doing… Look chickens! Where was I? Was I about to buy something? Put “bay” and “channel” into The Google. See what you get.
10. The Internet is bad for the environment. It kills polar bears. Baby dolphins. Kittens. And eventually, perhaps it will kill us. Servers don’t yet run on gummy bears. Africa can only hold so much of our e-waste before it spills out. A book never needed to be plugged in. Kill the tree once, and as long as it wasn’t a Jewish text in Germany (1926-1945) or stored in a certain library at Alexandria, it lasts for hundred of years. I used to work in a library with shelf after shelf of 14th century manuscripts. Which, come to think of it…. killed sheep. But… the point is the same. We have turned into nomads searching for power in order to keep our e-brains running. Sucking 24/7. Each time I open up my computer I move ever closer to needing a new lithium battery. Every time I have to update my iDevice I have an old one, filled to the brim with rare earth and toxic something as well as all those cords and power adapters now useless. Every time I post a blog, who knows how much energy this spends, how much coal and natural gas I burn with my little words, how many acres of rain forest are leveled if I post on The Book of Face, or do I kill a monkey every time I “like” something? Does a share of an article starve a child in Africa? It better not. We need those children to break open our old computers and mine them for new devices.