Friday, January 28, 2011

Now Entering 2003 or So

Some of you know how truly lo-fi Todd HQ here on the Upper East Side has been for the past decade, but the next several days should yield a lurch into the twenty-first century, after which a more natural and steady rhythm of the blogging, blog-glitch-fixing, tweeting, following, Facing, meeting-up, podcasting, cell-phoning, and cable-viewing should occur -- all without imperiling the overdue apartment-cleaning and the ongoing actual bigtime work-assignments-doing.  Bear with me just a bit longer.

In my defense, I successfully waited out Friendster without ever joining, so trying the same with Facebook and a few other things (cell phones, oxygen) seemed worth a try.  I can't claim to have conservative leanings and just leap on every passing trend, can I?  (I once asked John Derbyshire if he had a cell phone, to which he replied: Of course not, I'm a conservative.)  As a man of science, I never stopped believing in the power of media-assisted social networks or the eventual takeover of the planet by robots throughout it all, though. 

On the other hand, I see that Web-co-founding Rasta man Jaron Lanier, the Harry Knowles of cyberspace, now thinks that the key to rescuing the culture and restoring individual creativity is destroying the hivemind/packdog effect created by the Net, according to an interview with him in the leftist book Death of the Liberal Class (but more on that in my March Book Selections entry -- see, those of us with less of the instant-gratification tech are more accustomed to advance planning).  The Net may not be the problem, though.

Might the simple answer to this month's implicit question on, "Why all the hatin'?" be just this: because now the smelly mob, which (if history is any guide) would normally be setting things on fire and attacking witches, mostly convenes in comment threads?  Maybe humanity was and is always this awful and we just didn't have to hear from them so much before.  And I know what you're thinking: "What becomes of the social-democratic dream of Habermas and his ilk if the masses are really just a bunch of jerks you'd rather not have to talk to?"  February is this blog's "Month of Lovers," so we'll have to fix the jerks problem in March or so.  Until then, at least the Web gives them a place to get it out of their systems. 

And the sci-fi fan in me can't help but think with a shudder: "Imagine if they all had telekinesis -- not telepathy, mind you, but telekinesis!"  Oh, wait.  That was the climax of the awesome 60s sci-fi movie Quatermass and the Pit, come to think of it.  No wonder both Greil Marcus and I love it.  If you haven't seen that movie, I hereby viciously denounce you online.

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