I’m going to say some things here, and they’ve probably been said before, according to the second principle of the Internet/eighty-fifth principle of the Bible: there is nothing new under the sun.
Incidentally, the first principle of the internet is, “If someone’s thought about having sex with it, there’s a photo of them doing just that somewhere around here.”
The first principle of the Bible is, “Don’t!”
I point this out to illustrate the driving principle of human civilization, which is to say, “Having more sex with more things.” Or, as the French put it, “le plus sexe avec les plus choses.” (If you ever have a philosophy class in which you have to explain French philosophy, just remember that they say all the same things that we do, only they say it in French, so it sounds like they’re trying to have sex with your ear. (Ear-sex is available on the internet.)
As in anything, driving principles are important when you start a blog like this, because before you do something it’s good to ask, “Why the hell am I doing this?”
Money is a good reason to do things. But many better philosophers than I have already pointed out that money is just a concrete way of measuring value, which is really just a way of saying how many people are willing to have sex with you. Everyone who’s anyone knows that, from the beginning, Warren Buffet was only in it for the chicks.
But what we’re talking about is creating a blog that’s not for the purpose of eventually getting laid, or eventually getting rich to facilitate my eventually getting laid, but in order to explain it, I have to digress even further. Bear with me.
There’s a finite amount of attention in the world. There is a large but finite number of people in the world, people only have so many hours in the day, there’s a smallest number of seconds that someone can look at something and register it, and so forth. Your notoriety can easily be represented by how many seconds of the day people devote to you—looking at pictures of you, reading about you, thinking about you.
Jesus: very famous. Because he cleverly created an organization designed specifically to get people to think about him. George Clooney has to settle for a regular publicist, but the internet has made the job easier, so maybe the Cloon will be able to catch up.
Clooney’s publicist is an important part of the equation, because the internet has changed the way that people can become famous. Now that any old jackass can write a book/be in a movie/be in the home of everyone in the country, the relative value of these things is a little smaller. And every time we further democratize the distribution of images and words and ideas, they become even further devalued. This makes it possible for George Clooney’s publicist to make him famous, but it also makes the job more difficult, because every minute of every day, ten thousand idiots put chili peppers in their eyes and videotape themselves skateboarding naked off a rooftop in Chernobyl in their bid for internet recognition, leaving less and less fame for George.
At current estimates, if there are ten thousand naked skateboarders on YouTube every day, there are about thirty thousand new bloggers every two and a half minutes. Back in the old days, when the only way you could make your opinion about irrelevant subjects known was by publishing a magazine, there was one magazine on every topic (including one on “Fire Apparatus” and at least three on the subject of “Airports”). Now that setting up a blog takes fifteen dollars, five minutes, and the amount of internet savvy that a chimpanzee could pick up from watching old episodes of Automan, every thought that every person has about every thing is available for public consumption. It goes without saying that 99.9% of it is catastrophically tedious.
All of which gets us here: we are living at a very peculiar time in history. In the past, understanding an era has been the sole province of the sort of people who can be bothered to read the diary of Samuel Pepys, or who are willing to clean off 50,000-year-old shards of pottery with a toothbrush. This is because these things were the only sources of information we had about an era.
On the other hand: if some poor anthropologist 150 years from now wants to know what the 21st century was like, he will have virtually limitless access to our deranged sexual practices, our thoughts on the relationship between Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag (famous for nothing more than their own thoughts on themselves), and pictures of our pets dressed up in various costumes (but mostly bees).
Understand me right now: I am no techno-utopian. I don’t believe that information transparency is going to save us all, or that all the internets combined together will form some kind of super-Voltron-interweb brain that will think All The Most Important Thoughts for us.
Fuck money, because there isn’t enough of it to go around, and fuck fame, because I like my eyes, and I don’t know how to skateboard. I have only one goal:
To make that future anthropologist want to kill himself.
Are you reading this, future anthropologist? You have made a terrible mistake. (Well, maybe in the future all careers are proscribed by the new Union of Latin-Scandinavian Socialist Republics, or by Microsoft-Exxon-Mobile-Clear Channel, in which case, too bad for you.) One way or the other, you’ve now got to spend the rest of your life wading through a sea of unbridled madness, surrounded by nothing more than the millions of opinions of people who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.
As for the rest of you:
Stay tuned, as we here at Threat Quality do our part to help drive the future insane.