Posted by Brian Connolly
Noted Author Offers Alternative
WARNING: This article includes graphic scenes that may not be suitable for younger audiences.
If you are a regular reader of Strumpette, you’re acutely aware of what lengths we’ll go to get at the truth. This is arguably our most extreme.
You know how in a debate with a social media evangelist or blog booster, you just don’t seem to get anywhere? Arguments tend to go around in circles always returning to the same libertarian platitudes: the "democratization" of information is a universal good; customers (Jarvis’ 6 million pitchfork and torch bearing mob) are in control; there’s wisdom in crowds; hierarchies are all bad; intellectual property stifles creativity; anyone over 30 or in a suit is inherently evil and doesn’t “get it.” Their beliefs seem almost totally intractable.
Well, as we’ve concluded here many times, in the words of Woody Allen, “It’s nothing a fistful of Prozac and a baseball bat couldn’t cure.” It was in that spirit that we recently decided to set up an experiment. We wanted to see if a social media evangelist could be “deprogrammed,” so to speak. Could we actually stop their various proselytizing and return them to reality, or are they hopelessly lost forever.
Of course, our first challenge was to kidnap a noted blogger. This was no easy task. Not surprisingly, people like Stowe Boyd, Todd Defren, Robert French, Chris Heuer, Kami Huyse, Shel Israel, Joe Jaffe, Jeff Livingston, et al., don’t get out much except for high visibility conferences that include wifi, free drinks and appetizers. But we were able to corner one 24-year-old Justin Neville (screen name “Jingles”) while recently out walking “Betty Davis,” his parents' cockapoo. After a brief struggle with Betty, we had Jingles bound and gagged (pictured right above). We threw him into the trunk of our limo and headed back to Image Factory HQ.
Now, before we get into the whole debate about waterboarding, etc., NOTE: the electrodes we had attached to Jingles’ wee privates were mostly for show. Fact is: there are no 220v outlets in our lunch room.
That said, before passing out, Jingles opened up and admitted to the following:
It was at that point that Jingles started to weep uncontrollably. Heaving, he could not be consoled. We had apparently broken him.
Honestly, at that moment I think we were all having second thoughts about the exorcise. It was then that one of our colleagues piped up and asked if anyone had read Lee Siegel’s new book, “AGAINST THE MACHINE: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob.”
In a nutshell, ya know that horrible feeling you get when you agree with the Web 2.0 boosters that this is likely the biggest transformation in the history of mankind... but then get that sick feeling when they openly admit they don’t know where it’s all going and you distinctly hear the rush of waterfalls? “Against the Machine” takes Andrew Keen’s much discussed “Cult of the Amateur” to the next level. Siegel more specifically articulates that inchoate malaise that we feel but cannot seem to readily explain. Siegel forces one to look at the Web’s destructive impact on our values, on our real communities, and most importantly, on our sense of self. John Lanchester for the New York Times captures it:
BOTTOM LINE: As the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche predicted, we’ve come to the end of the line: "Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star. Alas, the time of the most despicable man is coming. The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small. His race is as ineradicable as the flea. No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into the madhouse.”
Indeed. For some of us, all this Web 2.0 crap can’t get any more depressing. At least for a moment Siegel’s book will make you feel a little less isolated. You'll know there are others who feel deeply sentimental about all things meaningful. Then again, torturing Jingles was awfully fun.
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Are they like Religious Fundamentalists + Intelligent Designers??
May as well be Talking to a Bag of Rocks*
I predict the next wave in Web 2.0 Social Networking will be Antisocial Networking.
Funny that such an article should appear on a blog no? You guys must be from New York.