Steve J. Moore

Posts Tagged ‘humor’

The Ghost in the Machine: Dialogue on the Influence of the Internet, Part 4

In Comedy, Nature, Philosophy, The Web on February 10, 2009 at 9:48 am

Posted by kylebaxter on February 9, 2009

I know you’ve waited on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, kicking yourself in the lower back, and slamming your head on a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica (Volume Ca-De) in anticipation of this post!  It’s finally here!  Many thanks to Steve J. Moore for getting me involved in this.  If you have not already, go back and read parts 1-3.  You can find them on my blog by scrolling down on the main page.  Or, if you would like to see them in their original context, you can find:

Part 1, by Nathaniel Carroll, author of NonDeScript, by clicking HERE

Part 2, by Steve J. Moore, author of theSpigot, by clicking HERE

Part 3, by Ryan Burrell, author of In All Reality, by clicking HERE

Again, the question that started this discussion is , “Does the Internet reflect Humanity, or vice versa?”

There are many coherent arguments that support both sides.  I intend to examine them, and give you my final opinion, which is binding in a court of law in rural Mississippi.  I will break it down very easily for you, by noting whether the argument following is “Internet reflects Humanity” or “Humanity reflects Internet”.

Internet reflects Humanity–Everything I see on the Internet was once just a thought in some acne-scarred guy’s face.  For instance, one guy (Barry) wanted to find a way to communicate with a girl that doesn’t require face-to-face interaction, use of the phone, or stalking her like wild game.  He said to himself (speaking in DnD), “Overlord, it would be so much easier to tell a mortal girl you like her with words written in electronic rose petals, so they can be perfect.  Perhaps a sonnet for my elven queen.”  This has nothing to do with anything, but I imagine it goes something like this:

Ode to My Elven Queen

When I am in Chemistry class,
I think only of you, my lass.
Hair flowing gold like the rivers of Falcoren,
Your features glow, carefully elven.

Snow princesses may desire me,
But only your beauty inspires me.
I turn them away with my blade, hurriedly,
A sword cast from fine Dwarf metallurgy.

You’ve scorned Sir Jared from second period,
I’m spilling my emotions for you, a myriad.
No one else could show you how much you mean,
But to me, you’re at least a Level 17.

And this is how (and why) e-mail was invented.  This was a time-saver, because any girl could reply to (reject) Barry instantaneously, and print out the sonnets to make sure he was mocked all through high school.  The fact that it caught on was really a huge fluke.  This is simply another way of saying “the Internet is an expression of thoughts and information originally birthed inside a human brain”.  Therefore, the Internet reflects Reality.

Humanity reflects Internet–Even before the Internet, many writers and philosophers wondered if they were part of someone else’s outside program.  For instance, The Bard (I think I sound a lot more cultured when I refer to him by the vernacular) himself once wrote, “Dost mine existence weather verily to a computational regard?”  Given this, the Internet could very well have existed before mankind.  We just never thought to plug into it until the last 40 years, when Billy Mays was born.  Those may or may not be related.  However, therefore, Humanity reflects the Internet.

Internet reflects Humanity–Everything that is good or evil in the world is displayed on the Internet, without any stone unturned.  The depravity, sickness, and loneliness of man is apparent throughout the Internet (mostly on, as well as man’s ingenuity, love, and creativity.  It’s all there for the world to see.  To prove my theory that every imaginable horrible thing is on the Internet, I threw random words together in my head, Googled it, and (first try) there it was . . . “Dawson’s Creek fanfiction”.  Certainly, my finding it was not a reflection of the Internet having it.  The Internet cannot create such things, nor would it want to if it had any sense.  You never know, though.  Maybe the Internet is still wanting to see Joey and Pacey back together after all these years.  I am glad I’m not the only one.  I digress.  Someone wrote that awful fanfiction (for the sake of my soul, I dared not read it, and I suggest you do the same) and placed it on the Internet to display his or her ideas to the world.  What I see on the Internet is a reflection of someone else–that is to say–Humanity.

Humanity reflects Internet–I am sure of this, if for no other reason than the sheer number of “Chocolate Rain” knock-offs.  When people saw something original on the Internet, their actions were a reflection of what they saw, ghastly as they may be.  I’ll give you the point that the Internet probably didn’t exist before mankind.  Since the year 15 A.B. (After Billy), Humanity has begun to mirror the Internet in every way.  It is commonplace to find people these days whose sole source of facts and information come from news websites, blogs, online tarot cards, etc.  Therefore, Humanity reflects the Internet.

In order to get a truly neutral opinion, I asked a good friend of mine.  His name is Louie, and of course, he is my cat.  I looked him square in the eye and asked him, “Louie, do you think the Internet reflects Humanity, or the other way around?”  He stood up, walked over to me, and proceeded to lick his posterior like it was Cheetos.  Animals communicate in primitive ways, you see.  As a trained and board certified “Cat Whisperer”, I will now translate:

“Why worry yourself with such a question?  Enjoy the simpler things in life, like opposable thumbs.  If I had such comforts, I would use toilet paper instead of my mouth.  I’ve been meaning to get that off my chest for some time now.  But because you are pure of heart and because you feed me, I will give you the answer to your question . . . in the form of a riddle.”

Always with the riddles, that cat.

I gave up on him and came upstairs to finish this post.  I’ll leave you with my final thoughts below.

Who knows?  Perhaps if man dies off some day, leaving only the Internet, it will achieve perpetuity.  *Cue “Twilight Zone” theme* Maybe it will begin to reflect itself (most likely through Dawson’s Creek fanfiction).

It seems like everyone else made a fancy graph.  I’m jealous.  If you turn your head sideways, squint really hard, cross your eyes, and pretend, then this looks just like a graph!

Oops, I forgot to tell you my final opinion (those of you in rural Mississippi, pay particularly close attention).  I don’t want to rehash it.  It’s the only statement in this entire post in Bold and Italics.

I Can Get Behind That

In Music, Writing on September 23, 2008 at 3:53 pm

I recently picked up William Shatner’s album from 2004 “Has Been” upon a friend’s recommendation. My experiences with ol’ Billy Shatsky (as I like to refer to him) were previously limited to reruns of Star Trek, Priceline ads and spots for Boston Legal. The cover art is fitting, a picture of Shatner neck up with a hand covering his face in the pseudo-shame of a true has been. The title track doesn’t come until you’re mostly through the album, but it plays tongue-in-cheek into the ironic concept of hasbeendome and those who would give Bill such a label.

Some songs–and I would call them songs, as lacking in singing as they are–are avant garde amalgamations of Gene Roddenberry sci-fi and the Beatnik oral poetry of Allen Ginsberg in the strangest way. The songs are rich in confession and complex emotions being dealt with in a surprisingly casual way. One track, “That’s Me Trying” is a letter of apology to his daughter for being an absent father. While it could sound like the sadder cousin of “Butterfly Kisses,” (cheesy, overdone, and trite) it is much more akin to songs like Ben Folds’s “Still Fighting It,” a song about growing up written for his son; but maybe that song comes more easily to mind because Shatner borrows Folds’s voice for the chorus.

There’s a surprising amount of emotion in this album–and humor too! I think what I like best about it is the blending of the two. The authentic combination of humor and heartfelt emotion, though they seem to me inseparable, is the seminole mark of success in any artistic medium. Maybe that’s the curse of the eternal optimist, seeing the good in everything means finding ways to lament through a laugh and to chuckle quietly at a tear shed. Shatner’s album isn’t earth-shaking or grammy worthy (although that’s almost an insult anymore for most genres–the Grammy part) but its audacity, eccentricity, and stark likeability are just what every wordsmith, lyricist, actor or singer could hope for in an expression.

Here are a few gems along the album’s lines of humor:

The Shatner WoW commercial

1978 Rendition of Sir Elton John’s Rocket Man