dijous, de setembre 28, 2006

The Internet Is Dead, Long Live the Internet (English)

The night is quiet, sort of deathly quiet, like you just got word that Santa Claus was real, but he has now died of a massive myocardial infarction, and all that he had left at the end was a packet of cigarettes and bottle of gin. Cheap Gin, in a great plastic jug. Beefeaters. I'm sorry if that offends you, but if you drink cheap gin, you have no place to take ombrage.

Nonetheless, that's the kind of night it is. Emminently autumnal with the leaves slowly changing color and the ever pleasant smell of yearly herbal death wafting on the air. It is also, I realize, the end of an era.

I thought I was looking in the wrong places online, seeking solace in the intellectual stimulation I used to find here. Oh it's still here, like the small poetry section (two shelves) alongside the smaller literary criticism section (one shelf), which is above the half-shelf of books on quantum physics to be found in the typical American shopping mall mega-bookstore. There is still a place for thinking online, but its not growing nearly as quickly as the corndog fed, video-game addicted, over-indulged, exquisitely enabled minions of mediocrity and their demand on bandwidth.

Oh sure, the net is still a great resource, a great tool, and the world's largest mail-order catalogue network. I will still have my net presence. I will still watch Welsh television and peek in on YouTube, and Wiki-worlds galore. But I remember the day when you could easily meet intelligent people online, in your own town! The Gathering of this summer has put me in mind of this fact. We had to gather from the four winds for crying out loud. We all met by happenstance, as though "bumping" into each other in the Great Shopping Mall of the Internet, finding each other by accident amid the "Christmas Eve" rush of buying, seeing, and being seen online that never ends.

I can remember, in the old days, going into local online chats, and chatting, you know about something other than hooking up. Usually, in the old days, profiles didn't have pictures, so if you ever met someone in vivo, it was all a big surprise what they looked like. Now you not only get to see their faces, but the all mighty parade of genitalia. That's not so bad if you're looking for genitalia, mind, but when all you want is a cup of coffee, is the cock or beaver shot really necessary?

Of course everyone is "sexy" online too, aren't they? Just look at most of the Myspace profiles. I've seen more of some of my students than I really needed to, and in many cases, wanted to.

Oh, I do miss my old internet, clunky, slow, dial-up with compilers text-only web pages. In that internet we lived out fantastic lives on MUDs and MUSHes, all textually. There was a lot more thinking going on in the old Net. Today, thinking isn't required, it's all just "mouth and trousers" and "let's have a look at your knockers." I know, I know, you can't stem the tide of time, and I'm not trying. I'm just walking down memory lane; as my old aunty would say, "Thems was good times, but them times is gone now."