Monday, December 21, 2009

# WHAT I LEARNED IN THE DECADE OF BROADBAND

– by Dan Manning

(Warning: The following Rant contains bitter cynicism and foul language. If you have already quaffed the Kool-Aid, some comments may offend the eye.)

Everyone these days has high-speed Internet. We as a species have gathered online to share our thoughts and feelings, our videos and pictures and comments, and this is what I, Dan Manning, learned from this first decade of widespread broadband Internet access, this age of instant communications:

I learned that dial-up is an unacceptable way to get online. Dial-up sucks ass. If you are reading this via dial-up connection, I'm sorry.

I learned that some cops (but not all) love to electrocute people with Tasers, and seem oblivious to the dashboard video cameras that capture their abuses of power. Tasering handcuffed suspects, grandmothers, children and pregnant women are acceptable ways to keep the peace and make sure the civilians respect authority and know their place.

I learned Iraq had no WMDs, but once you deploy troops, the nation goes into a blind nationalism conniption fit. Once the troops are deployed, they are there to stay.

I learned that beheading a hostage in a terrorist video would probably go smoother with a sharp knife.

I learned that Dick Cheney is Satan. George Bush was his useful idiot.

I learned that "our" religion is good (despite colonialism; the genocide against Native Americans; slavery; Jim Crow laws; corporate greed; illegal, unprovoked wars; corporate world-wide exploitation of indigenous populations; the operation of sweatshops; unchecked materialism; the worship of the all-mighty dollar; our high crime rate; racism; narcissism; massive military spending; etc) but "their" religion is bad. (Actually, I learned that I dislike religion in all forms, and I feel that all flavors of this poisonous superstition give people excuses to do horrible things to each other.)

I learned that some Americans are capable of torture, and many Americans are capable of rationalizing torture. This made me sad.

I learned that the government tracks our phone calls, emails, Internet activity and purchases, compliments of the corporations that are enablers of this foul, unconstitutional domestic spying program. I learned that in times of "national emergency" (one terrorist attack in a decade) our "elected" officials wipe their asses with the Constitution, the very document that is supposed to protect our rights during times of crisis or national emergency. Way to panic America, take off your shoes before you step on the plane you spineless sheeple.

In 2008 I learned that Sarah Palin is as vile and vacuous as she is photogenic, and that John McCain will abandon all principles to get elected. John Kerry is an insufferable blowhard who should have his larynx removed, surgically or otherwise. I learned that Barack Obama was elected as a liberal and turned into a conservative as soon as he took office. As far as I'm concerned, this is Bush's third term.

I learned that both the Democrats and Republicans have sold themselves to special interests, and we are lost. The Corporate Overlords have triumphed. Barcode tattoos for all!

I learned about credit default swaps, Henry Paulson, Goldman Sacs, Ben Bernanke, AIG, sub-prime lending, housing bubbles, Ponzi schemes, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and ... oh hell, all I know is, when douchbags in thousand-dollar suits turn our money into imaginary coins, lose everything, and end up running the Federal Reserve and Department of the Treasury, we are totally, irrevocably, fucked. Why are we not dragging these bankers into the streets and beating them with baseball bats? I'm just asking. How's everybody enjoying living under a Kleptocracy?

I learned that most governments are in league with corporations and banks and plotting to take all of our money and turn us into an under-class of Morlocks, able to operate only the simplest of machines, to serve our Corporate Overlords.

I learned that the planet is going to burn up, and although the "science is in" we as a species are too stupid to do anything about it. I also learned that the planet is not going to burn up, and Al Gore and a cabal of liberals are plotting to make money on a made-up crisis and use cap-and-trade to create a one-world government. Actually, I learned that I'm pretty confused about this issue. I decided there are three possibilities; all of them are no problem:
(1)If climate change is man-made, we deserve to be wiped out, no problem.

(2)If climate change is natural, there is nothing we can do, no problem.

(3)If climate change is not real, there is no problem.
That's how I deal with the climate issue. Not very good way to look at it I suppose, but I learned that I don't know everything.

I learned that as a nation we are too stupid to care for our sick and that insurance companies are evil. While I know the system is broken, I'm not sure if government is the answer. Can't we find one country that is doing healthcare correctly and copy whatever magic formula they have conjured up? What is stopping us from fixing this bullshit? Oh yeah, greedy bastards in expensive suits. (Sometimes I wish there WAS a fiery hell for these motherfucking insurance executives to go to after they die, but alas, they will die happy, rich men with no regrets, and they will never answer for their capitalist crimes.)

I learned to fix computers.

I learned to level a warrior to 80, that I suck at PVP, and that I can't hold aggro during instances. I learned that voice chat ruined Second Life. I learned that ThinkTanks is an awesome online game.

I learned to update my Facebook status, tweet my goings-on, upload video, download music, stream audio and make web pages (sort of).

Because of comment sections on many sites and blogs, I learned that through the magic of anonymity, we can grief, mock, hate each other, and say the most vile, racist, sexist, vicious things possible, all from the safety and comfort of our homes, all in complete anonymity. (Anonymous except of course, to ISPs and through them, the government. George Orwell, George Orwell, what have we wrought?)

I learned that while we are able say anything and instantly communicate our thoughts with the entire world, most of us have nothing to say.

I learned that all debates online eventually lead to someone comparing someone else to Hitler or the Nazis. This applies to all subjects, from heated political debates to disagreements about cookie recipes.

By reading the honest opinions of others in comment sections around the Internet, I learned that by and large, human beings are loudmouth, illiterate, small-minded morons. I exclude myself of course because I learned that I am a narcissist. And of course, I do not include you, gentle reader, in my criticism.

I learned that as unemployment rises, parking spaces at the public library disappear because apparently unemployed people who don't have high-speed internet need to go to the library to play flash video games, tweet about how the don't have jobs, and update their Facebook status. "I'm unemployed and I'm at the library not reading books! LOL".

I learned recently that Tiger Woods is a man-whore who does not understand technology. Madonna doesn't know when to quit. In 2006 I learned that "Macaca" is not an acceptable thing to say on video, especially if you have a political career to think about.

I learned that every woman in or on any magazine is Photoshopped beyond all recognition.

I learned that no matter how wide the screens or highly defined the resolution, network and cable television, for the most part, suck ass.

I learned that as movie CGI makes effects more "special" and "real", the real-life modern experience has become more generic, banal, artificial and boring. Corporations have homogenized the American landscape. A Chili's next to an Applebee's next to a Starbucks in Michigan is exactly like a Chili's, Applebee's and Starbucks in Alabama, except that the wage-slave restaurant workers in Alabama talk funny, have football-shaped heads, and have sex with their cousins. As long as I get my sampler platter, I don't care.

Through the miracle of YouTube I confirmed that kittens are cute and nut-shots look painful from all angles. Though meticulous investigation, I learned that gravity, skateboards and concrete stairs are dangerous combinations, and that many skateboard enthusiasts don't understand physics, and their friends need to hold the damn video camera still because when one of these "extreme" idiots face-plants into concrete, it is hilarious.

Through Facebook I learned that lots of people hate Mondays, give pet names to Wednesdays, and love Fridays. Their kids have school activities and occasionally they go on vacation. They love games about imaginary farms and the mafia.

I learned that there are many creative people out there who can do amazing things with video, prose, music and animation.

I learned that I'm probably wrong about most of the stuff I just wrote about, but I'm going to post it anyway, because I've learned that if it isn't online, it probably isn't worth doing at all.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Absolutely beautifully written!

About Me

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I am the author of 8 books: Android Down, Firewood for Cannibals, Brain Giblets, The Cubicles of Madness, Booze and News, Get Your Zen On, Zen Happens, and most recently, Robot Stories. I live and write in Michigan. My website is at danmanning.com

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