What the hell are we doing? TQP0001

Posted: May 5, 2008 in Braak


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.

  1. molson says:

    Let’s just say that there better not be any pictures of me in stupid outfits posted on this blog ever.

    If you ever get your hands on any pictures of me having sex with anything, though, post away. Hopefully not with a human ear lobe, of course.

  2. V.I.P. Referee says:

    I’m relieved that someone is finally taking a stand against the herd and its pathetic desire to say stuff. Now truly important people are left to muster up publicity by giving ivy league distance learning degrees to dogs…because why should poor people learn stuff that rich people do, but for less money and fancy-lad status? We are now witnessing what happens when lots of people attempt to think or look cool by quoting oft-repeated movie lines. Which leads me to my belief that “Evil will always win because good is dumb”. That quote may not seem relevant now or in the context of this dialogue, but at some point…it will.

    I eagerly await updates. If this comment posts, it means that as a result of my rampant vanity and need to spread “clever, clever, me, me!” around the net, I will have already bowed to your “word verification” command, therefore perpetuating our collective legacy of abject animalism. And sex.

  3. Farty Girl says:

    The celebrity-obsession isn’t new. Our parents and their friends worshipped idiots long before we came around. Loni Anderson? Burt Reynolds? Sure we can laugh at them and love them in retrospect, as kitschy seventies icons. But in their day, they were stupid. Everyone knows that reality TV is dumb and that people watch Heidi and Spencer cos we’re amazed that they are so dumb. They’re walking jokes. They make us feel better about ourselves. Well, at least they do for me. 🙂 I’d fuck a giraffe before any of those disgusting Hills boys.

  4. molson says:

    Ivy league distance learning degree? Princeton here I come!

  5. ISTV Global Stronghold says:

    That damn dog…

    Incidentally, I want everyone to know that as far as this site goes, I will be taking care of the required majority of Thinkin’-bout-Clooney-time for this site.

  6. tad says:

    Also, Molson is easily confused by time zones, can you do him a favor and change your default post time to eastern instead of pacific?

  7. Threat Quality Press says:

    The point isn’t that celebrity obsession is new, just that it’s harder. Because of how easily people can become celebrities, there are more of them around, and, consequently, less attention left to be paid to the important ones.

    (i.e., George Clooney)

  8. thechicgeek says:

    Shimshi shimshi…it’s quite delightful.

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