Wednesday, September 2, 2009
NPR reminds us today that the internet, essentially the reason for getting up in the morning since the late 90's, actually turns 40 today. Kind of. They're counting two computers talking to each other across a room as the birth of the internet. What were they talking to each other through? I don't know, probably two cups tied to a piece of yarn. Its kind of like saying the first person to use a fire to raise a hot air balloon invented the HEMI. But whatever, I'll overlook it.
NPR prefers to share a few fond memories of what the internet has brought us. They list some of the crowning achievements as Facebook...which I don't have, Classmates.com...which I don't use and lonelygirl15...which I never watched. Also a bunch of other useless shit. I'm not saying the internet is anything but 99.9 percent useless shit, but there's much better useless shit out there. So without further ado, I'm going to list off some of MY favorite things about the internet that I've come to love. Here's a trip down memory lane...
Old School Websites. You remember. Somebody would get a site on Angelfire or GeoCities. One solid background color, horizontal rules every which way, serif text. Pictures that had like 10 dpi at best. Those were simpler times. Server side coding was like science fiction type stuff. The internet guestbook was the pinnacle of user interaction and only the coolest people had them. And, oh yeah, stat tracking was a big ugly counter centered in the footer of your page. Those were the days.
Online Shopping. I don't remember which came first, Amazon or eBay, and I'm really far too lazy to go look, but the first time I bought something online, all I remember thinking was, "you mean I don't have to wear pants to shop anymore?!" Its been downhill for all mankind since then.
High Speed Internet. Perhaps the most important thing to happen for the human race since amoebas formed in a pool of sludge at the base of a dormant volcano some billions of years ago, high speed internet was like trading in your model T for the Starship Enterprise. Suddenly, unimaginable shit was not only possible, it was easy. Without this evolution, user interaction, online video and audio and online gaming would not be possible. In a valiant effort to prove that we as a species have our priorities straight, we used this technology to put porn on the internet and nothing else until we finally got bored.
Forums. My one true internet vice, phpbb or vbulletin forums for any and every subject you can imagine exist in droves on the internet. Sign up and talk anonymous shit. As an aside, forums were the impetus for Big Dick Syndrome, which is where you realize you are anonymous and the filter between your conscience and your mouth instantly disappears, leading you to say all sorts of things that you wouldn't dream of saying in real life. This eventually extended to blogs and...
Online Gaming. Basically first person shooters and later, mmorpgs, internet gaming has the luxury of being the only thing on my list that has actually caused people to die. It starts with a harmless invite to play Counter-Strike and the next thing you know you've carved a hole in your office chair and attached a potty training toilet to the bottom so you don't miss out on that guild-wide campaign that you got invited to in World of Warcraft. But you have to spend five hours leveling first.
Shit for free. Napster. Kazaa. Bittorrent. It didn't take long for people to realize the internet was a relatively safe haven for all sorts of illicit activity; back to the anonymous thing. The RIAA and MPAA are still involved in a losing struggle to control the painfully easy sharing of all things media between thousands upon thousands of users worldwide, basically making a great argument for humans being generally evil at heart or at least unwilling to cease immoral activity if there are no foreseeable consequences.
The chans. They get their own mention because of the huge yet invisible influence they have on pretty much everything above. For the uninitiated, the internet can be a confusing place. Hit some forums, play WoW or CS, jump on a torrent site...anywhere you go nowadays its not going to be long before someone says something that just plain doesn't make sense to you. In some cases, it seems to be simply poor grammar, and in others it looks like another language. Well it is. Internet addicts have basically developed their own lexicon of words and terms that are the result of typing errors and other random sources adopted into a sort of "insiders only" lingo. And for the most part, this all originates on 4chan and its ilk. For all the crazy shit that goes on there, 4chan is also responsible for a large part of the internet's irreverent style of humor via...
Memes. Humorous and nonsensical sayings or photoshop gags, memes aren't funny until they suddenly are. You know you've spent too much time on the net when you laugh at memes. Some of the most popular ones are Rick Rolling, Mitchell's Ipod (a particularly distasteful one I might add), lolcats (see photo), mah lazar, and motivational posters. But there are hundreds more and new ones are added every day. By the way, my mentioning these here in plain and understandable english has made them officially not funny anymore and has likely incurred the wrath of anonymous who will probably crash the site via denial of service attacks as a result. Anonymous does not forgive.
Shitheads. What do you get when you combine all of the above? Dumbasses. Lots of them. The thing is, most people are dumbasses to begin with, but societal stigmas on acting the fool made most of them hide it under a faintly douchebaggish exterior. Then that anonymous thing kicked in again. Eventually, dumbasses who shed their exterior online started to forget the difference between that and real life and now there are lots of dumbasses everywhere and they don't try to hide it anymore. In fact, they join dumbass sites like MyFaceSpaceBook and tell everyone their real names so when you walk by them on the street, you can say, "hey, its that dumbass from the internet." Actually, its pretty handy.
We've come a long way, interneters. From Dragonball Z fansites to Wikipedia allowing us to rewrite history however we see fit, the internet has left a vast and permanent mark on the zeitgeist of mankind. In honor of this momentous anniversary, I suggest each and every one of us celebrate by pwning some noobs online, downloading a few gigs of porn or signing on to any forum and finding an opinionated topic in which we will post that the last person to speak is a fucking moron. And don't forget, that elliptical press is a pretty cool guy. eh posts blogs and doesnt afraid of anything. Sphere: Related Content