r u into the Internet? For the love of God, why?
The Internet is just, like, the worst. For about a month back in 1997 it was cool, but now, like everything else on earth – reading, eating, getting out of bed in the morning – it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Throughout history, humanity has displayed an incredible tendency to develop the most powerful technologies and put them to the stupidest uses. And I’m not even talking about naked pictures, which I will not defend here only because I tell girls I am against that sort of thing.
No, I mean that the Internet was originally conceived as a way for intelligent people to rapidly share information, and thereby increase exponentially the sum of human knowledge. As it turns out, most Americans use it to exchange catty instant messages about their co-workers, or to post ads on personals Web sites, in the hope that they will meet other outgoing, adventurous, sexy people who post ads on personals Web sites.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I would post an ad on a personals Web site, too, if the premise – “Your description of yourself and the kind of person you’re looking for really moved me. I was deeply impressed by your command of the language and, more to the point, what you had to say” – were anything like the reality – “u look chubby, do u have pics of yr abs?”
Such an exchange presupposes, of course, that you can actually log on to the personals Web site before, oh, falling asleep, or dying. When I first got on the Web, way back in ’94, it had pictures, but they looked like this:
You were, like, a member of the Illuminati if you were one of the chosen few who used “Netscape” and could look at “JPEGs” and “GIFs,” most of which were of naked people.
Now the Internet is rife with pictures, most of which are still of naked people, and the rest of which are animated ads that take forever to load. I don’t know who clicks on these ads, but more important, I don’t know what Internet genius devised that abomination known as the “pop-up ad.” Maybe the conversation went like this:
Internet Genius: No one is clicking on our ads!
Genuinely Smart Person: Maybe people who are looking for Journey lyrics don’t care about getting a new Visa card.
Internet Genius: Maybe they don’t see the ads! The ads should pop up right in front of whatever it is they just spent 10 minutes searching for!
Yes, that will endear us to your products. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I ever see one of those “X-Cam” fits-in-your-hand cameras whose ads pop up every time I, oh, move my mouse, I am going to take decisive action. And by “decisive action,” I mean I’m going to break the camera and maybe the face of the person who clicked on the ad to buy it.
The people clicking on those ads can only be the same people who read the spam in their e-mailboxes. E-mail used to be cool, and was at least useful enough to warrant logging on for, until you started getting more junk mail than real messages.
So it’s become like paper mail, except you don’t even get bills to remind you you’re a person. You think, when you first get e-mail, that you’ll write your friends and family every day, but, as is the case with paper mail, you don’t. All e-mail has done is allow us to ignore each other at electric speeds.
Which, in the end, is probably OK. Unless you have some amazing friends and family, they’re probably not as much fun as naked pictures anyway.
Josh Wimmer works on the copy desk at The Union. His column appears every other Friday. Call him at 477-4239, or e-mail him at
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