On Tuesday, I'm going to have a bunch of people over for a Mardi Gras party, and I really hope someone brings paczki. Mmm, paczki. I actually had to explain them to some folks last night at the bar. But then again, the Euro-culture around these parts is mostly Czech, not Polish. Oh, it makes for some good beer, I'll grant you, but nothing beats a paczki fresh in Hamtramck.
And to close, I found this rant that I wrote back around 1996, lamenting the decline of the Internet. In some ways it's laughably angst-ridden, but in others, I think it's amazingly prescient...
Note: the opinions contained herein are solely my own. Most suggestions for action contained below are illegal. Do not do any of them. These suggestions resulted from me being a snotty immature kid, and are not intended to be taken seriously. Besides, since most everyone advertises online now, boycotting wouldn't work much. And now, on with the rant.
The idealism of the Internet has been sold out--appropriated by pasty-faced CEO's and hip J.Crew-clad yuppie clones as a vehicle to sell cheap crap at inflated prices. Young, bright, asocial, talented techies slave for almost nonexistent pay, for 12- or 16-hour days, in order to bring gratuitous Java, blinking icons, animated icons--even brand-new code, for hell's sake--in order to bring the right "look" to some corporate monolith's web page or 'Net domain. Gifted kids driven like sheep, driven until their very souls snap, in order to do the exact same layouts done a lot more easily in magazines. And even the very subculture of the internet is used as its desirability for advertisers! The Internet--a god damned marketing tool! Everyone born between 1961 and 1981--they're not a generation; not even people--but a demographic, an interesting new life form that responds to certain stimuli by coughing up disposable income.
And all this is condoned, even encouraged, because society at large, with its rigidly utilitarian view of the universe, sees the great technology of the Internet being used for "essentially frivolous" purposes. So countless lives are wrecked over subtle variations on the background color on the Sense/Net web site. A site maintained by a corporation that makes stuff that most folks who get to the page never afford enough to buy.
Do you know, there was actually a time when advertising was forbidden on the Internet? That's right. Any clueless sod, even as late as 1995, who even thought about posting their ads to any Usenet group would be flamed into oblivion--and rightly so!--for being the clueless dorks they were. Nowadays, I wouldn't be surprised if "MAKE.MONEY.FAST" had it's own home page and hip, trendy logo. You can't swing a modem anywhere on the Web--especially on the startup or any directory screens--without seeing just tons of ads.
Is there a solution to this problem?
You're god damned right there is.
Find out where these companies advertise, and flame them. Mercilessly.
Core dump their mailboxes. See how hip and cool they can market their product when their home directories have to deal with a couple thousand megs of incoming messages.
Boycott any corporation that advertises on the Net, and tell everyone you know to do the same.
usr/root/access on their sites. Use any means necessary. Mercilessly fuck with corporate web pages. No, it's not legal. But this is war--a war so people can waste time however they want without meeting some humorless equivalent of Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler. It is wrong for people to clutter up every aspect of our lives with annoying pleas to buy their shit.
End of discussion.
What the Infamous Internet Backlash really boils down to is the popular kids in high school are getting fed up that the kids they teased and beat up are becoming rich and successful. So, they cop the attitude of "well, the Internets is stupid because it's run by people with no lives."
Geeks have no lives because they spent their childhoods getting their bodies and souls beaten, day in and day out, for the heinous crime of intellect. The only reason net.porn exists is because women won't give geeks the time of day. The kids who grew up to be the tastemakers of society spent their childhoods tormenting anyone different from them. Naturally, when they were forced to make these kids hip and trendy, they rebelled. And they rebelled in the only way they knew--what status they had given, they took away.
(This last bit was an afterthought to the original rant, but I think it rings truer today than it did when I first wrote it. Adults, when I was growing up, sought to soothe me when I was teased or beaten up by saying "One day, you'll be rich and successful, and those other kids won't be laughing at you then." And all I can say to that now, speaking for all the smart kids who had to put up with bullshit in high school, is: Ha. And again, ha. Because when you laugh at the Internet or those who use it, you're just performing another chorus of "Let's Pick On The Nerds.")