Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A web user's humble request: freedom FROM opinion!


"Every improvement in communication makes the bore more terrible." - FRANK MOORE COLBY

Quick! What's the #1 activity on the Internet -- pornography or social networking?

The answer is neither. The Internet's #1 activity always has been and always will be complaining. The web is a hater's paradise. It allows us to complain easily, quickly, and (if we so choose) anonymously. It helps that we're probably the whiniest generation in human history -- spiteful, cynical, easily bored, just as easily offended, fickle, impatient, unimaginative, and prone to hasty judgments. And I include myself in that group. I'm all of those things and more. I've certainly done my share of grousing and griping on the Internet. Who hasn't?

But, reader, I am fatigued. I am sick of the opinions of others. Or, more specifically, I am tired of having to wade through the opinions of others when all I want is information. I am going to limit myself to pop culture because it tends to bring out all the Internet's worst characteristics. Pop culture whining (as opposed to actual, thoughtful, constructive criticism) especially aggravates me because ultimately it's so trivial. TV shows, movies, music, etc. -- these are just entertainment, meant to be enjoyed. If you don't enjoy it, move on to something else... for your own sake as well as mine.

The Internet has already made itself very clear on most matters pop cultural. Here is a summary:

  • Everything sucks.
  • Everything is overrated.
  • Everything has jumped the shark.
  • Everything is too mainstream.
  • Everyone has sold out.
  • Nothing is as good as it used to be.
  • If you like anything, you're a moron because everything sucks.
  • Anything popular is especially bad.
  • Above all: THE SKY IS ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS FALLING!

Yes, yes, Internet. We know. You have made yourself crystal clear on these matters. You have made these points thousands and thousands of times. I am well aware of your opinions. Really, you can stop. Please. Go take a walk. Read a book. Call your Mom. Do something else, for fuck's sake! Advancements in technology are somewhat to blame here. Entertainment is now so plentiful and so easily accessible that it is irrevocably cheapened, and we have become spoiled children who are satisfied with nothing. So we do what spoiled brats do -- whine.

And all that would be fine if I didn't have to wade through so much opinion just to get pop culture information on the Internet. But "interactivity" is so crucial that seemingly every site I visit regularly solicits comments from its readers -- who often turn out to be ill-informed and shockingly stupid -- and then shoves their moronic opinions IN YOUR FACE at every available opportunity. Take the Internet Movie Database, for example. There are user comments seemingly everywhere on the site. For some reason, they've now even added a comments section to every single news story in their NewsDesk section. Gee, thanks a lot, IMDb.

MY MODEST SOLUTION: Sites should make comments collapsible or hidden at first, so that when you clicked on a link you wouldn't automatically be slapped across the face with the opinions of a dozen morons. This goes for you, too, YouTube!. Why have you taken away the option of hiding comments? Why do I have to be confronted with the opinions of subhumans every time I watch a video?

I leave you with this well-known clip of Louis C.K. talking to Conan O'Brien. Enjoy. Or don't.



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