First of all, allow me to tell you I realize that my opinion re: the value of the internet is not all that nuanced or necessary to the good of the zeitgeist. But I’ve had a few real-live “aha” moments in the last few weeks that make me want to dish about it just a little.
(I is for Indulge me…)
Of course the internet makes our lives better (in these and many other more complicated, interesting ways):
–We needn’t worry about getting lost on our way to a new place.
–Or ever being late to a movie.
–Or not knowing whether to bring an umbrella to work.
But the internet also makes our lives…superficially worse at the very least (let’s skip the Big Bad Actual Evils of cyber-bullying, identity theft or Farmville…):
–It’s so easy to cheat at trivia games! The thrill of the hunt is gone when it comes to random facts.
–First dates have become this sort of fibbing contest where you each pretend not to already know everything about the other. (Facebook will tell you most of the basics. Graduated high school? good. Number of siblings? check. Not into Nickelback? cool.) Again, the thrill of the hunt…
–Sometimes getting lost can be the best thing about going to a place (for the surprise finds, the story), and iPhones limit the possibility of those moments.
Three concrete examples of the For Better and For Worse of the web:
@nbcsnl tweeted before Halloween:
For all you Halloweenies still without a costume, Adam Sandler is here to help:
I just couldn’t help wondering how my middle school life would’ve been different if Crazy Pickle-Arm Man were available on-demand back then. My brother and I looked forward to rewatching that sketch every year at Halloween, but to have the ability to watch it every day if we wanted to? It feels like too much. (I know I sound like my mom when she used to marvel over VHS tapes…”I never would have believed we could watch movies at home!“)
Yes, old woman. SNL sketches are available online. Welcome to now. I get it. Not a life-or-death problem, but I still ponder the value of constant access. We are spoiled with entertainment and yet epidemically bored. (I’m reminded of Louis C.K. “everything is amazing & nobody is happy.” Google that.) Or don’t. Here it is. It’s that good:
I was on a plane a few weeks ago when I heard the dude behind me remark to his girlfriend, “it’s just like Google Earth!” while looking down at the increasingly-tiny houses and cars and farmland below. I thought, yeah… but, no…
It took some self-control to keep me from turning around and telling him how, if anything, Google Earth is like THIS. Right? THIS is real. OH MY GOD I’M LIVING IN A DON DELILLO NOVEL!!
But I didn’t. Air marshals and all that.
For all the smack I could talk about the www (ps who says “talking smack” anymore? I certainly don’t. Ever.), there is one discovery I must celebrate: Lou LeBrun. For it is only through some random google searching this summer for “Springfield, Mo + accordion” that I found my (soon to be) accordion teacher. This 81-year-old treasure of a person performed today at The Library Center, for a crowd whose average age was skewed by a few decades with the addition of my friend Amanda and me. Lou has so much energy (and arm strength. Homegirl hauled around a 26-pound instrument for 90 minutes. Check out her guns, y’all!), and I want to be just like her in 50 or so years. I’ll work on that.
So thanks, Internet. I toast to you, on you.
(And then tweet about it.)
((And then google a few videos of kittens, just because I can.))