Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Baa, Moo, Baa, Moo, Fuck Off.

The Internet was going to be great. It was a free form network that would develop in ways no-one could predict or control. The problem with unpredictable emergent characteristics is that they can't be guaranteed to be good.

The Internet's emergent characteristic is the herd culture. It's not the paradise of free and individual expression it thought it was going to be when it was a kid, no: instead it has grown into an adolescent smoking behind the bike-shed to look cool and circle jerking to free porn.

This herd culture manifests itself in two ways.

First is that, in a search for community, discussions on messageboards will naturally attempt to seek consensus. Once a consensus is reached, all individual identity is lost, everyone becomes a clone of each other, and discussion turns to simply repeating certain acceptable opinions over and over again.
"Baa too!"
"Baa as well!"
"What a community we have!"


The second is that those of similar opinions will tend to flock together. They can have their own sites, blogs and messageboards where only those who are the same as them can join in.
"Moo too"
"Fascist! You're banned!"

Rather than being havens for people to be able to express their opinions, they become compounds where people need never have thier opinions questioned. Any damn fool with any damn fool opinion can find somewhere on the Net where no-one will tell them that their damn fool opinion is damn foolish. Love the Mortal Kombat movies? Go to the fan-site! Believe that god created homosexuals so you can have something to shoot at after hunting season has ended? Welcome in!

Damn fools.

They aren't communities, they aren't open, and they don't promote freedom of expression or the growth of personal identity. They are just endless herds grunting at each other on the great digital plain.

It's the Internet's fault. The very structure of it that seemed to allow for open-ness actually promotes cliques, exclusionism and the collapse of individuality.

I hate the Internet.


Friday, May 20, 2005

An Internet Not Far, Far Away Enough

I wonder what the internet would be like if it weren't for Star Wars. While it's especially rife now with the REVENGE OF THE SITH fallout, it's always there. People are unwilling to let go of what they like about it, others are unwilling to refrain from posting so much about how they hate it, and others are just content to write fan fiction describing Qui-Gon penetrating Obi-Wan in a very uncomfortable place. As a huge Star Wars fan, I'm really starting to hate every bit of internet discourse on it. There are a few types of Star Wars internet posters:

- The Realist. This guy usually loves the OT, although not always unconditionally, and can express his likes and dislikes for all the films pretty succintly.

- The Ultra-Nerd. This guy will never, ever agree with anyone who does not express blind love for any facet of Star Wars, but usually doesn't cause a whole lot of trouble.

- The Ultra-Troll. Same as the above, but will happily call anyone every insult under the sun if they say they don't like anything about Star Wars.

- The Easy Rider, Raging Bull. This guy resents Star Wars for its effect on the movie industry.

- The Enjoyer. This guy doesn't have any particular stock in the films, and enjoys all of them purely because they can be fun movies.

- The Bizarro-Ultra-Troll. This guy enjoys getting Star Wars fans riled up, and will post all sorts of shit to get them angry.

- The Pompous Snob. This guy doesn't like Star Wars, but is happy to post repeatedly telling us so.

- The Elf. This guy is that one person who can't say anything about Star Wars without mentioning The Lord of the Rings is better.

- The Willow. As above, only with Buffy/Angel/Firefly.

The combination melee that results from these posters interacting can sometimes, on a rare occasion, make for interesting conversation. However, usually, it descends quickly into boredom, and usually vitriol. Stupid arguments are always inherent, going from 'Luca$ only does everything to sell toys' to the infamous 'X element was just as bad in the OT as it was in the prequels.' You also have the level of nerddom that comes with fans and critics alike, such as 'I can deal with a squid commanding the Rebel forces and a Wookie co-piloting the Millennium Falcon, but I don't believe in a monster that can live in an asteroid,' or my favourite, which I read today, 'Tarkin's head was too big,' which was a genuine comment on SITH.

Of course, so much of this is about the prequels. Would it be different if they didn't exist? I'm not sure. There's always the crowd that hate RETURN OF THE JEDI, and also the crowd that hates Star Wars because it introduced the blockbuster mentality, although curiously, none of them ever rail at JAWS. Add to this the crowd that resents the fact that THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is always rightly touted as the best episode (seriously, they exist), and you still have a lot of argument material. I guess with the TV show and everything, it'll exist into infinity. I'm just glad I've never run into art of Lando Calrissian bumping ugly with Sy Snootles.



Tuesday, May 17, 2005

You'll get yours, Gusset.

Don't worry. Your comeuppance will arrive. You just sit tight and smug.


Fett And Helix Are Big Fat Poos.

I hate Fett and Helix, they're so lame. And I hate usernames, they give a false sense of unnaccountability. And I hate the over-use of hyperbolic words like hate, and in-fighting, and forum politics, and self-referential humour. And run-on sentences.

I'm so lonely.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Your webcomic is terrible, and I do not want your T-shirts.

The webcomic, or the idea of the webcomic, is great. It's a venue for artists and writers outside the cruel, gray world of the syndicated strip. It lets new voices be heard outside of the constraints of playing to the daily newspaper audience, and away from the unfeeling, uncaring eyes of editors and focus groups. It allows audiences to find comics suited to them, rather than the pablum suited to everyone, but special to none.

Yessir, the great thing about webcomics is that anyone can make one.

The horrible thing about webcomics is that everyone makes one.

News flash. Chances are you can't draw and your strip isn't funny. I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just telling you the cold, hard facts. 90% of everything is shit. There's a good chance that your genius daily about life in the dorms (LOL!!!!!!) isn't in that magic ten percent. It's crap. Your characters look awful, and the punchlines aren't funny. Adding a talking animal that says curse words wasn't a good idea, either.

Now, before I start to sound cruel, understand that I'm not speaking here to Joe Cartoonist and his fledgeling strip that he does for fun and hosts on his Geocities page. I'm talking to you schmucks that set up a cafepress.com store full of shitty hats and t-shirts to try and hawk your miserable creations to the world. Or you asses that think your readers owe you a PayPal donation for ripping off Sluggy Freelance or Penny Arcade. You people need to fucking stop. You're not going to make it big time, because you aren't any good. You've got nothing new to offer in terms of your strip's content, and your art and writing are, to be nice, fucking atrocious. Please stop making comics. Or please stop posting them until you're good.

Also, Tatsuya Ishida? I hope there's a special place in the afterlife where demons that take the form of Bill Watterson and Berke Breathed will shove hot pokers in your most secret places.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Mad at Maddox

Attention to all fans of Maddox.

You are not funny. You are not hardcore badasses. You are not political geniuses. You are not edgy internet guerillas, waging a war against the machine. You're just regurgitating the same adolescent bullshit you used to write in the margins of your Algebra notebook under pictures that say "Metallica Rules!" or "Joey is a fag!".

Congratulations, I'm proud of you. You've taken your first steps into a wider world of being a complete moron. Have an original thought? Forget about it. Wait until Maddox validates it first. He's so badass. I mean, his logo is a pirate! Pirates are fucking hardcore! Have any compassion for the rest of humanity? Fuck that? That shit's for pussy fags. You wouldn't want Maddox to think you're some kind of pussy fag, would you? I didn't think so. You want to be a pirate. You want to be a pirate like Maddox.

Have working genitalia? Get sterilized. Now.


Your Music Sucks

One of the few reasons that saves the internet from falling into the total oblivion of sucking 100% is the availability of music. Of course, we have the fallout of Napster, with BitTorrent and Kazaa doing their work to make sure we can download music and check it out for ourselves instead of spending fifteen bucks on an album before realizing it sucks, which is a blessing unto itself. And no, I don't like trying to figure out what a song sounds like from the forty-second clip on Amazon. But it's also a great way for musicians to get their music out to an uber-wide audience without having to go through the record companies, who aren't almost the smartest cookies in the jar.

And that's cool, cause there are a lot of neat bands out there you can download from. But let's face it, there is also a lot of shit. This is the downside of the internet music scene. The fact that any moron with a cheap sampling program or Apple's Garage Band can upload his or her music and shill all across the board to wherever their filthy hands can post. I have to credit SomethingAwful for some of this, at least for bringing to attention some of the worst music the net can offer. And usually, that means ICP fans.

If you've never heard of the illustrious ICP, they're a "rap/metal" band made up of two fat guys dressed as clowns with dreadlocks. They also spend all their time drinking some stuff called Faygo and writing about it in their songs. Then there's their fans. These guys - and amazingly, girls - are essentially carbon copies, and seem to enjoy calling everyone 'faget' and basically being incredibly stupid and homophobic. And of course, this all comes across in their music. And it usually results in a lot of whitebread suburbanites dressing up as stupid clown rappers and posting on the internet, and I quote: "ICP fanz r da best, all u gys r fagets." Put that on top of a lame repetitive base hip/hop beat and guitar, and you have their music. Post that on a website that was obviously designed with Crayolas, some day-glo yellow paint and a potato, and you get the picture. I see these guys posting all the time, and they get incredibly aggressive very quickly, and usually very, very homophobic, especially when their idiocy is pointed out in plain english, and even more when you criticize their "music." So guys, next time you have an inkling to dress up like Krusty by way of Korn, just take this under advisement.

Don't fucking bother.