Someone is wrong on the internet…

I became that little creature at the keyboard.

I tell you, they are wrong about many things : politics, art, food, music, philosophy, family, travel, relationships, love, values, sex and wrong about you.  They invent and project from their perspective a narrative of you, then you get caught trying to defend yourself .  How does this happen?

You see, I am a self-declared early adopter.     I look for new technologies and jump right in to use them.  Early adopters dare to explore and invent ways to use the internet.  Early adopters look for the toys the clever developers give them and get on the wave for a ride.  Early adopters go with the fluidity of the medium and don’t mind the initial glitches.  Word is that we are only about 13% of the internet world.

Some people look for fashions, we look for new uses of the technology.  My Guccis and Dolce Cabanas are geeky boys and girls who design pretty techno gadgets and clever ways to use the gadgets.  My Coco Channel is Steve Jobs.   Also, I don’t think that Apple like Channel will lose the brand if Steve is gone.

Early adopters have learned that there is a cycle to platforms, applications and technologies they use.   At first it’s fun.  Early adopters populate the place willing to live with glitches,  break barriers and explore.     After about two years, the  regular users, aka the laggards,  move in and change the landscape.   They bust down the doors and of course, they disdain the early adopters.  They find them elitist, cliquish, ornery.  The oddity is that they were attracted to the place because the early adopters made it interesting.  Soon, they make the new place ordinary, regular and dull.

In blogging platforms , they bring along the heap of musty thinking and writing.   They bring what they call their common people touch.  A set of avuncular men and dotting women create a vicious circle.  There is particular distaste for the early adopter woman.  The mediocre conventional male despises women who dare to be early adopters.  The mediocre conventional female, joins with the mediocre men to gain favor as not being a particularly threatening woman.  So, they create a circle that is flirtatious and malignant.  Nothing with mediocre, but sorry, not my cup of internet.

They start calling women who are outspoken, “mean girls“.  Once you get branded a “mean girl”, they give themselves permission to dehumanize you.  The typical idiot will say that the mean girl “hates men”.  In truth, mean girls like me hate banal, unthinking and lazy people.  Mean girls catch you when you are not consistent.  When you copy and paste internet urban myths as original material.  When you are a plagiarist.  When you manipulate the people who obviously have emotional issues with pandering and lies.

Soon you start recognizing the psychological pathologies.  The pathologies create a mutual sustaining society.  For each pathology there is a corresponding pathology that feeds itself from another.

  • You watch as the bipolar obsessive is cajoled by the needy lonely avuncular.
  • The manic hysteric is mothered by the “good ladies” league, given hugs, and “support”.
  • The narcissist seduces the meek.
  • There is one particular type that I cannot find a name for, typically a male.  The male who feels that all the women and minorities took his birthright to the dominance of American society and to the gifts of that society.  Most often, he will often quote the Federalist papers.  The ladies think he is smart.
  • The martyred woman.  She suffers and talks about her suffering.  The lonely man is looking for a martyr, so he gobbles up the tales of woe.
  • The  ladies man.  He can say they same shitty things a mean girl says, but he is loved by the ladies and avuncular for being a dragon slayer.
  • The guy who wants to be Art Buchwald and the woman who wants to be Irma Bombeck.
  • Then you have the psychotic who smears and others cheer.  ” The world is filled with predators and pederasts” she warns.  The chorus joins in and they follow the smears, the booking pictures and tawdry tales  The crusader.  A crusader I tell you, a crusader who along the way tarnishes everyone’s experience.  The obsessed mono topic crusader.  Posting gibberish and gossip. Now you get it, there is a Nancy Grace audience.  Blech.

In time, the early adopters leave.  The landscape becomes soiled with the voices and people they were trying to avoid.  I recently stuck it out at Open Salon thinking that I could buck the cycle.   I lost my early adopter mojo.  It felt like I was rotting intellectually.  I became captive to the  small bandwidth of toxic spew and missed all the cool new things that are being developed by the clever geeky boys and girls.  In defending myself I lost myself.

My advice, never stay in a platform for more than two years.  It’s why the Brits make good television.  They end the run before it becomes stale , like let’s say : Everybody Loves Raymond.  No, no.  As a card-carrying early adopter, I don’t want to be loved by everybody.  Everybody is who I am avoiding via the internet.


Platitude vs. Opinion

The 'Younger Memnon' statue of Ramesses II in ...

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Platitudes are the ultimate put downs.  You take a messy, wiggly, imperfect human, or human relationship and reduce them to a sentence. The sentence seems noble and feels grand.  Final and absolute, no other side, that is the nature of a platitude.

Of course we can voice opinions about the state of being.  Opinions, just because they are from humans, have a frailty that I respect.  They are full of holes, they are fungible and evolving.   But platitudes  have this absolute final and all-knowing tone to them.    It’s as if Ozymandias walks among us, the mortals, with the key to the truth.  Opinions have opposing sides, but platitudes, by their nature, do not allow for another side.

Platitudes  by their nature are trite, banal remarks, spoken as if they are original, or significant, say the dictionaries.    So, how do we express an opinion without falling in the realm of platitudinous?  It’s a fine line.

The self-help industry churned out some of our greatest modern-day platitudes:

  • Be true to yourself .
  • Be yourself.
  • Nothing succeeds like success.
  • Be all that you can be.
  • Death is part of life.
  • Love is the answer.
  • No pain no gain.

It’s as if these simple sentences are all that we need to live by.  Usually platitudes come in bundles of seven, or ten, like the commandments.

Platitudes are great conversation killers.  You cannot discuss a platitude.  Often times they do serve the purpose of ending a dull and bothersome conversation.  Proverbs, however, always seem to have a handy opposite: “Slow and steady wins the race”  vs.  “the early bird catches the worm”.  It’s rather difficult when one blogs an opinion and then encounters platitudes as commentary.  Rather difficult to argue with a platitude.

Why Good Friends Matter

Audience has always been a complete conundrum for me.  I often wonder whether I need any audience at all.  Do I want an audience to expand the discussion, yes.  Do I want an audience to ratify that what I have accomplished is “good”, no.  Do I want an audience to establish myself as a player in the arena, not really.  Do I want an audience to share my frankly warm and fuzzy or anyway deeply felt feelings underneath what is visible – eg to closest of friends and family, indeed.  But I have no idea where that leads me.

Chica, my friend from graduate school, we called each other chica, don’t know how it started.  It’s thirty years later now and we are still friends.  We are very different, she is tall, I am short.  She is a Mayflower WASP American, I am an immigrant.  She is moderate politically, I am to the left side.  But, through graduate school and through the years after we kept our friendship.

This connection was not just the standard stuff of greeting cards and visits.  Actually, we went through long periods with no contact.  But, we stuck to challenging each other.  When we were thirsty for ideas, for a long conversation that meandered in and out of the movies, literature, politics, parenting, life, actually any and all ideas, no limits.  These were our touchstone moments.

In this one paragraph, she grasped what I was thinking about, my writing sometimes is not crystal clear, but she found it.  I have to say giving up the easy readership is not without trepidation but giving oneself time to noodle ideas and to re-think how to use the medium of blogging is sure what one should do from time to time.  I am of the immediate gratification school, it’s time to ponder.