Pure signal.

Not Really Into the Net

Being a little self-centered I am frequently shocked at the things I know that other people don’t know. Not that I know so goddamn much — but once in a while there will be something, like the fact that there is a tremendous amount of information on the internet — that I will catch on to, and then I will be talking to other people and they don’t seem to know it and I will be surprised.

Then you get that whole class of individuals who cover up their basic ignorance with pointless value statements. This used to be “I’m not into reading.” — which is a date ender. However badly I wanted to have sex with you, if you think those words are OK to utter, it’s not happening. If you don’t know enough to lie about that, to be secretly ashamed of not wanting to read, then I am just going to pilot my boat past your house when the floods come, and not share my food with you.

And the new one — “I’m not really into the net.” Like it’s a value. “I want to spend my time in the real world.”

Yea… I want to spend my time in the vacant lot behind my house instead of looking at all those fake pictures of people in foreign countries. Who the fuck are you trying to kid with this “real world” bullshit. Like physics isn’t the real world? You need books and computers for that. Like travel isn’t the real world? I’ll tell you what I think — I think that is a thin cover for narcissism being threatened by the multiplicity of perspectives offered on the Web. Think about how threatened people were by TV — the profanity laws and indecency laws. The conspiracy theories about a “communist” agenda or a “homosexual” agenda. And TV is a NARROW tube. The internet has such a wide tube — it is so unfiltered that if you don’t find things on it which seriously shock and disturb you its either because you aren’t curious, or are a raging sociopath.

And then there are the people who don’t seem to know it’s there. This is the group that fascinates me the most. There is this woman at my work who is interested in the idea of web design, because she has heard that you can make a lot of money at it, or that it is a guarantee of secure employment or something, but she doesn’t know anything about it. So she asks me “What programs can be used for web design?”

It’s a general information question — I’m not a web designer. So I say to her “Try just typing that question into Google — just as it is. Ask Google like you would ask me, just for a start.” The idea is new to her.

Or someone looking for a quote, or song lyrics, or a song itself, or a recipe. Like I said, I used to run into this with regard to the library, because I have always been an information junkie, and I used to be tolerant (although in retrospect I shouldn’t have been) when people would be amazed that I could figure things out which I had no previous experience with. You have a broken nerfblat? Give me a couple days.

More than once I have resorted to telling people “Just ask a reference librarian.” — I have worked out a lot of tricks from haunting libraries for something like 30 years, and one thing that I have learned is that most people are totally intimidated by a card catalog. Of course, this years graduating high school class probably has never seen a real card catalog — with each book logged separately under “subject”, “title”, and “author.” Those were the days.

But now, Google is in your fucking living room. It is time, children, for you to learn how to ask questions. And if you are going to say to me that you are “not really into the net” then don’t ask them of me unless you are paying.


December 2, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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