Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hot Turkey...

I admit my PC is on for most of the day. Because I run a business with it, I am constantly fielding inquiries, filling orders, scanning artwork and doing pre-press production work. I'm not overjoyed about it and feel an acute nostalgia for rubber cement and huge copy cameras with built-in vacuum pumps to hold the artwork flat. I can't even find a picture of one of those online.

Basically, I feel that being wedded to an ancillary brain has robbed me of a good bit of my life, not to mention mental acuity. But many, many people have it a lot worse. They can't even leave the house without maintaining the connection. Plus, being online is habit forming, so don't believe people who say they can walk away at any time. Young people today are aware of the withdrawal symptoms, which is like being thrust into a featureless, motionless void. That void was once Reality.

But you can get all this from Marshall McLuhan, and his axiom that any technological "extension" atrophies the organ it replaces, like driving weakens your legs. That's why I refer to computers as "ancillary brains". They weaken our minds just by supporting their activities.

Al Jazeera English--my main news source.

So, I manage to keep it to an absolute minimum--my work activities, reading the News, selectively watching video on Youtube and lately some FB. The "comments" on Youtube are bad enough, like an infernal toilet-stall that stretches out to infinity for the scrawlings of faceless, unidentified juveniles, all contesting themselves with urinary yearnings.

Face it, there's no real "face" in Facebook, nor any actual "space" in Myspace. You couldn't even call it MyPLACE, even if you could identify the location of your account's hosting server. Even "in the clouds" is a lie when you get right down to it.

Why do these Social Networks grow and thrive so, and what makes users devote so much time and energy to contributing via pictures and postings? I know from my experience that some of my own friends must spend a good part of the day doing it. Probably, they fit the other non-addictive portions of their lives neatly around it. But would they admit it? Do Junkies "admit it"?

An unpopular T-shirt design from

No, they don't--and immediately you get rationalizations and excuses full in face of the facts. That fact being that using computers is habit-forming, i.e., addictive, but nearly no one is studying this or talking much about it. These Social networks don't deliver what they promise, a real connection to other people, only an excuse to be online--to use a computer.

I'll say it again: These Social networks don't deliver a real connection to other people, only an excuse to use a computer.

When was the last time you heard someone remark about how much they enjoyed Facebook, or how much better this technology has made their lives? I feel sure that on their deathbeds, people won't miss the years spent surfing the Internet, they will in fact realize their lives passed them by.

Art by Martin Fletcher.

I've enjoyed the content of much of Youtube, but I stay mainly with documentaries and interviews and far away from cute pet tricks. As I mentioned before, the typical "comments" there are truly beyond the pale, and I feel the existence of the system itself is one of the darker accomplishments of our age.

But on Facebook I can no longer tolerate being so close to what I call people's "privates". It's well know that at any given time millions--perhaps billions--of people are masturbating in front of their computers, and this activity is not one they'd advertise, right? But all those "private", personal thoughts they'd never say to another person in public all come right out online. And I'm tired not so much of the proximity but the banality.

I want to specify that I don't often partake in what Psychologist Albert Ellis calls "Musterbation", i.e., that if you don't behave as I think you should or "must" then I will be offended. I understand and accept common human faults, in fact, in a real sense I love them.

Kindness makes the World a better place.

Eastern spiritual traditions say that just as the Lotus grows out of mud, or, essentially, shit, so do people develop and grow. I believe that, but nonetheless I try not to step in it.

The last straw was the flurry of "Natalie Wood jokes" on Facebook.

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