Monday, July 13, 2009
The following post appeared on this blog one year ago. Hope this scrap of meat will satiate the masses as I wade through a rather busy week.
Well over a decade ago, I remember some self-professed "technology expert" from the New York Times - with all the pompous self-righteousness that could only come from someone who worked for the Times - proclaim that the Internet was becoming such an unstoppable force because men love technology and men love porn. It was the sort of statement that perfectly encapsulated the thinking of the left-wing media intelligentsia - A quick witty repartee that rolled nicely off the tongue but offered little in actual substance. Mr. Techno-porn produced no facts, no figures, no fancy schmancy pie-chart graphics that illustrated what percentage of heavy breathers spent more time and money on the Internet in comparison with, say, folks who bought books on Barnes and Nobles, kids researching science projects, or Moms outfitting the family for the perfect fall picture on LL Bean. Nope, just a smug little comment and an "oh my goodness I'm so clever" look on his face, shared by all in the studio at CNN.
Putting dollars, cents, and guys with sticky keyboards aside, a much more irritating trend was emerging on the Internet. It was certainly less disturbing than wondering why your husband always shut down all his browsers every time you entered the room, but it was every bit as annoying - Social networking. I've written about this before, and I have acquiesced to the caveat that we must give a piece of our soul to the great cyber gods. My once booming website has since become humble blog, which demands constant updating because of the rapid-fire pace of social networking sites and blogs in general. As you know, if you're a fan of constant updating, I may not be your man. Bookmark the site and visit, say, once a week. At least you get quality for your time...Well, depending on whether or not you abide by good taste and proper sleeping habits.
Speaking of which, there is Facebook. If the Internet is cyber-crack for the masses, Facebook is cyber-crack laced with meth. Facebook allows you to see what others have posted, and when and how often they've posted. Judging by a few quick scans, some of my friends don't sleep or go to work. I glanced at a friend's listings, and they posted or sent something out about every 1 to 2 hours for almost 3 days straight. You have to wonder what the hell is going on with someone when you see a post dated 3:31AM saying "Peggy Sue is wondering where everyone is". Here's a hint: Probably sleeping, Peggy. That would be a reasonable guess.
Another amusing thing are the ratings, or rankings, or whatever the hell they're called. Apparently, out of my group of friends, I'm consistently rated "Top Scientist". Really? I have to use my fingers to count. My parents did most of the work on my science projects in junior high, and when they didn't, I would just wrap a bunch of oranges in tin foil and stand in front of the class proclaiming "BEHOLD THE MIGHTY PLANETS", then sit down.
Remember 6 degrees to Kevin Bacon? I was never a fan, but I loved the concept because it brought back the old fashioned parlour game where people would have to sit together face to face and socialize. If you've spent anytime on Facebook, people invite each other to cyber paint ball games and mafia wars where they've conveniently taken out all the bother of human interaction. When people are out in public, I notice that manners are eroding, and am frequently shocked to see someone pick something up at a convenience store or coffee shop without making the slightest acknowledgement that there is a real person serving them. They simply mutter their orders and don't say another word or make eye contact. I know the coin flips the other way as well, but believe me, the reason the kids behind the counter don't talk to you much at late night burger joints is because most of them are higher than moon bats. (hat tip to Jonah on that one).
Now - Shut off your computers and go do something really crazy. Make a meal together with your significant other while playing some Brett Dennon, sit down, and....have a conversation.
Posted by Joe Leger at 7:47 PM