Friday, January 13, 2012

Amoeba. A-you-ba. A-we-ba.

We are single-celled organisms in the internet's complex ocean of life. I guess. I haven't really thought about it much, but it seems accurate. But what I have thought about is this:

True story. I had an email from a library patron that say this, verbatim:
"Please give me step by step instructions for downloading ebooks, but keep it simple."

So when I read it, I punched myself in the face. And then I read it again. Because I don't understand any way to give step by step instructions for downloading ebooks, YET still keep it simple.

There are about anywhere between 9 and 62 individual steps for downloading an ebook and the 9-step instructions are only for people who already understand concepts such as "download" and "ebook." So for someone who demands step-by-step instructions, we're looking as something closer to 30 steps, which forfeit any relationship to the word "simple."

We're human beings. We're supposed to be at the top of the evolutionary ladder. We've left this planet and landed on a completely different astral body. And came back. We're supposed to have amazing brains to do this stuff, but still, we're alarmingly primitive.

We may be able to grasp complex ideas, but a survey of the internet can't prove that. We group together because we like the same song or television show or ice cream flavor. Personally, I follow people on twitter who use the hashtag, #banana.

We praise memes. The simpler, the better. Honey Badger, what? I was in Target and saw a Honey Badger t-shirt. So I had to track down the origin of that meme. And it was stupid. Most memes are stupid. Insert an image of a naked French guy into any photo or maybe Paula Deen or a furry animal and the stampede begins. Suddenly everyone has to do it. Why? I guess some memes are funny, although I don't get the joke. I don't understand any of the Ryan Gossling mass-awareness. I know why the cake is a lie, but I don't care. And don't try to explain why that cat can has cheezburger.

So what does the internet say about us when we flock to these posts and repeat and repurpose these ideas over and over into the millions?

This all didn't bother me until Lana Del Rey got a modelling gig. If you don't know, Lana Del Ray has a couple of songs, maybe three, but only one is worth listening to. Video Games. It's a cute song about a girl who pretties herself up only to have some dude completely ignore her while he plays games. Or that's what I hear when I listen to it.

I think it's because I got the feeling that she had been reduced to a meme. That someone, and I don't know who, it could be the woman herself, had made the conscious decision to parcel out bits of image to see who would find some attraction with what part. And then when that part became the focus, then we would be sold that product.

If so, this isn't new. Did you ever see the movie The Idolmaker? It's the same thing. It's probably on YouTube. It's also like old 1970's TV catchphrases like DY-NO-MITE. Or Aaay. But that was the seventies when we were all high all the time. So it just makes me depressed that we are supposedly so enlightened by all this information; yet, we continue to seek out simple messages.

Maybe it's because the more complex the world becomes, the more we want things to be uncomplicated. Kiss my grits.


  1. an amoeba is a simple organism. and so are we.

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