December 14, 2010

Revisiting a Classic

Buon giorno. I was thinking about neurotic people on the Internet like my pet troll, Norman. (He's the one that claims almost everything I say is a lie, cannot learn from others, is always right and has tantrums when he humiliates himself or is proven wrong.) So, people like that want to mess with me, and I like to use absurdity to illustrate absurdity (to misquote Rush Limbaugh). I am a follower of Jesus. But I do not go for the modern churchianity version of Jesus or their image of Christians being peace, love and grooviness with sappy smiles and letting people constantly kick us around. (Some atheists have that concept of Christians, too.) When people act up in my "presence" online, they may very well get shown that their attacks, lies, abuse of logic &c. are not fooling anyone. When I call them on it, they get angry.

Here is an Internet classic. Some of the material is dated, so just read around it. I removed profanity and made a few tweaks. It's interesting that the author was complaining about neophytes to the Interent, but his own railing was sort of neurotic. (In the author's case, the reality was that non-geeks were getting online and the kingdom of Virgin Geek Males was crumbling to the barbarian invasion.) Note the juvenile complaint about AOL users. AOL and other online services (like Compuserve) made Internet access available and much easier to common people; no need for a Master's Degree in computer science.

Some things are dated, some are still true. If you get whiny online, you are the object of scorn and derision. The more you whine, the more heat you get. It depends on the crowd, of course. Otherwise, you simply (mercifully) get ignored until you have something worthwhile to say, learn how to "play the game" or simply find a playground that shares your interests and personality type. The Internet and Web are much bigger now than when this was written, and there is a place somewhere for just about everyone. Even the Normans of the world.
Welcome to the Internet. No one here likes you.

We're going to offend, insult, abuse, and belittle the living hell out of you. And when you rail against us with "GET LOST YOU YOU GEEK WIMP SKATER GOTH LOSER PUNK!1!!", we smile to ourselves. We laugh at you because you don't get it. Then we turn up the heat, hoping to draw more entertainment from your irrational fuming. We will judge you, and we will find you unworthy. It is a trial by fire, and we won't even think about turning down the flames until you finally understand.

Some of you are smart enough to realize that, when you go online, it's like entering a foreign country ... and you know better than to ignorantly play with the locals. You take the time to listen and think before speaking. You learn, and by learning are gladly welcomed. For some of you, it takes a while, then one day it all dawns on you - you get it, and are welcomed into the fold. Some of you give up, and we breathe a sigh of relief - we didn't want you here anyway.

And some of you just never get it. The offensively clueless have a special place in our hearts - as objects of ridicule. We don't like you, but we do love you. You will get mad. You will tell us to go to hell, and call us "nerds" and "geeks". Don't bother — we already know exactly what we are. And, much like the way rap has co-opted the word "nigger", turning an insult around on itself to become a semi-serious badge of honor, so have we done.

"How dare you! I used to beat the crap out of punks like you in high school/college!"

You may have owned the playing field because you were an athlete. You may have owned the student council because you were more popular. You may have owned the hallways and sidewalks because you were big and intimidating. Well, welcome to our world. Things like athleticism, popularity, and physical prowess mean nothing here. We place no value on them, or what car you drive, the size of your bank account, what you do for a living or where you went to school.

Allow us to introduce you to the concept of a "meritocracy" - the closest thing to a form of self-government we have. In The United Meritocratic nation-states of the Internet, those who can do, rule. Those who wish to rule, learn. Everyone else watches from the stands. You may posses everything in the offline world. We don't care. You come to the Internet penniless, lacking the only thing of real value here: knowledge.

"Who cares? The Internet isn't real anyway!"

This attitude is universally unacceptable. The Internet is real. Real people live behind those handles and screen names. Real machines allow it to exist. It's real enough to change government policy, real enough to feed the world's hungry, and even, for some of us, real enough to earn us a paycheck. Using your own definition, how "real" is your burrito? Your stock portfolio? Your political party? What is the meaning of "real", anyway?

Do I sound arrogant? Sure ... to you. Because you probably don't get it yet.

If you insist on staying, then, at the very least, follow this advice:
  1. No one, ESPECIALLY YOU, will make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the delicious exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. 
  2. Use your brain before ever putting fingers to keys. 
  3. Do you want a nude picture of you doing unspeakable perversions getting saved to hundreds of thousands of people's hard drives? No? Then don't put your picture on the Internet. We can, will, and probably already HAVE altered it in awful ways. Expect it to show up on an equally offensive website. 
  4. Realize that you are never, EVER going to get that, or any other, offensive web page taken down. Those of us who run those sites LIVE to irritate people like you. Those of us who don't run those sites sometimes visit them just to read the hatemail from fools like you. 
  5. Oh, you say you're going to a lawyer? Be prepared for us to giggle with girlish delight, and for your lawyer to laugh in your face after he explains current copyright and parody law. 
  6. The Web is not the Internet. Stop referring to it that way. 
  7. We have already received the e-mail you are about to forward to us. Shut up. 
  8. Don't reply to spam. You are not going to be "unsubscribed". 
  9. Don't ever use the term "cyberspace". Likewise, you prove yourself a marketing-hype victim if you ever use the term "surfing". 
  10. With one or two notable exceptions, chat rooms will not get you hooked up with a babe. 
  11. It's usually a hoax, not a virus warning. 
  12. The internet is made up of thousands of computers, all connected but owned by different people. Learn how to use your computer before attempting to connect it to someone else's. 
  13. The first person who offers to help you is really just trying to mess with you for entertainment. So is the second. And the third. And me. 
  14. Never insult someone who's been active in any group longer than you have. You may as well paint a target on your back. 
  15. Never get comfortable and arrogant behind your supposed mask of anonymity. Don't be surprised when your name, address, and home phone number get thrown back in your smug face. Some of us will snail-mail you a printed satellite photograph of your house to drive the point home. Realize that you are powerless if this happens, it's all public information, and information is our stock and trade. 
  16. No one thinks you are as cool as you think you are. 
  17. You aren't going to win any argument that you start. 
  18. If you're on AOL, don't worry about anything I've said here. You're already a brining laughing stock, and there's no hope for you. 
  19. If you can't take a joke, immediately sell your computer to someone who can. RIGHT NOW. Angry? It's the TRUTH, not these words, that hurts your feelings. Don't ever even pretend like I've gone and hurt them. We don't like you. We don't want you here. We never will. Save us all the trouble and go away.  
This page is a mirror of the original, posted at Deeplight.Net. It was written by Robert "redpaw" Jung, Webmaster, managing editor, chief techmonkey of Deeplight.
My point in posting this is to remind people that no matter how much we fuss or neurotically demand that the world change its ways to please us, people are still going to do their own thing. It is much better to deal with what is instead of living in the land of should be. Sure, we change what we can when it's possible and plausible. Otherwise, acknowledge that something is instead of should be. It helps the blood pressure, and you are less likely to be consumed by your online opponents, capice? Plus, some people have no sense of humor. Too bad. It helps, really.

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