14 September 2007

The internet is backwards.

This is new. This is at the top, regardless of merit.

Even if what I post next time is even worse, it will be at the top, and therefore better.

As an archive, the internet is worthless. I was vaguely aware of it on deadjournal, years ago, where, even though you could choose to have your oldest posts first, it would still only reverse the latest 25, so they'd still be the newest 25 entries on the first page, the next newest a page back, and so on, meaning if you want to find something, or remind yourself of something you wrote or did, you have to go through your own life backwards.

As it was a localised phenomenon at the time, I didn't pay it much mind, and it also softened me up slightly to the gradual creep of the novelty-led presentation that was taking over almost all sources of online information.

It impacted on me late last year, when I was in bed with a headache one evening. Everything on the radio was shit, so I thought I'd try listening to something from librivox.org, which as online audio library of public domain books read by members of the site's team. I'd entered the XML address into my PSP's podcast feed earlier in the week, and I chose a book I fancied and started downloading it, one chapter at a time. Before too long I had the whole book. Unfortuantely, as the means of distribution is an RSS feed, it came out backwards.

RSS (Real SImple Syndication, if you didn't already know) is the king of novelty fascism, newest is best! So, as the Chapters had been recorded sequentially, the final Chapter was the latest Chapter, and therefore the book had saved backwards. Try as I might, every time a Chapter finished, it would start playing the preceding Chapter. So instead of being able to drift off to sleep having my headache soothed away by gentle voices, I had to skip backwards 2 Chapters to get to the next one (back to the start of the one I'd just heard, and then back again to the next Chapter).

I actually tried downloading a couple of Chapters again, starting saving the last chapter first, then next the second to last chapter, but when I tried to listen it would STILL play them in reverse order. When I plugged my PSP into my laptop the next day I discovered a hidden audio library file had been created, which forced the Chapters to be played backwards. Newest is best, you must have that first, and the last chapter is the newest. Such is the way of things.

RSS feeds, web-forums, blogs, journals, all promote the primacy of novelty. Merit and context can go fuck themselves. And the major news media, struggling to drag their dinosaur carcasses up to the speed of the information superhighway (it really is one you know!) are happy to take online rumours and bollocks as trusted sources, because getting information first is more important than getting information right.

There is a cult of stupidity across the board in news media these days, one which makes the excesses of Chris Morriss in "The Day Today" - that seemed so laughably over the top a few years ago - seem like a huge underestimation of the cretinous, fatuous, half-arsed, ill-informed, specualtive, worthless shit that passes for news broadcasting in the 21st Century.

Of course the news has always been about novelty, that's the point of news, but it also used to be about being accurate, and fact checking. Fact checking gets in the way of being first though, and unless you're first, you might as well not bother.

The half life of information is about 2 months, you can reliably expect news media to ignore anything older than this, and for most people to have forgotten anything older than this; there is simply too much vital and new worthless shit popping up every second of the day for anyone to be expected to remeber, you can't expect people to contextualise events when you're actively promoting goldfish levels of memory retention. They don't actually need to cure Alzheimer's, because soon they'll have longer memories than regular people. Much like that R2-D2 impersonator with Tourette's on Big Brother last year, his sickness was obviated by virtue of everyone else in the house being such foulmouthed scum his occasional outburst made him seem a model of verbal restraint. I suppose it's all part of the grand plan, drag everyone down to the same level and nobody seems abnormal.

Too much rambling.

Time to consign this to an ever decreasing level of importance.

Right now though, the moment I click "Publish Post", for just a second or two, it'll the most important thing on the internet.


Blogger Fiona said...

Why should the internet be a hive of useful and truthful information if it's very creators lived in a world of mostly lies and people talking bollocks? Perfection and truth only comes out of something perfect and truthful, the internet was never going to evolve into anything else. News is just that, NEWS if it were anything else it would be called FACTS and that's something we're short of for sure. And hey, we came out backwards and likely we'll go out backwards too. Next we'll be talking backwards. And my labels in blogspot today appear to be German. The internet, like the world, is crazy. Maybe we're the only sane ones.

9:05 pm  
Blogger Hughes. said...

That's the first time I've ever been accused of being sane!

Maybe if I wrote all my posts backwards the internet would appear the right way around?

That into look should I.

7:16 pm  

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