the Internet, where all opinions like to think they are equal.
New York Times Arts & Leisure section a short time ago, there
was an ad for Get Carter (the new, sucky version). It featured
the usual glowing quotes from suspiciously obscure sources--Midwestern
small-town radio stations and the like--as well as a quote from
"A.M. Benneter, Themestream.com."
is basically a vanity-press magazine. Anyone can post anything there,
within reason. The vast majority of Themestream.com's content seems
to comprise "uplifting personal essays" provided by would-be "freelance
writers," all of whom seem to have thesauruses, although not all
have quite mastered the concept yet (hang that Roget for putting
antonyms on the same page as synonyms!).
leads to two (inter-related) trains of thought: the spurious nature
of most of the advice available from our fellow netizens (because
let's face it, everyone knows Stallone's version is crummy) the
scary opportunities the Net provides to publicists and marketers
problem number one.
from the plethora of bulletin boards offering home-grown recipes
for tuna shakes and protein bread made out of crushed pork rinds,
many mainstream, respected shopping sites allow members of the public
to offer recommendations. Does anybody edit these things? Are they
generated at random by some soulless bot? On Amazon.com, for example,
if you look up Don Bajema's Reach, you are told that people
who bought this book also bought the Hollywood Collection Bette
Davis 'Trophy Aquamarine' Ring Size 9.
pretend to follow the leap of logic here. Maybe one person did buy
both of these, but is that enough to draw a correlation between
second point raises some interesting speculative fodder as well.
the bright light who found the themestream.com quote for Get
Carter is assuming that the majority of New York Times
readers have not heard of or visited the actual site.
the film is clearly so awful that, in order to get favourable copy,
they had to resort to a Google search of the Net, and then use whatever
they found. One wonders. Will they soon be resorting to searching
Usenet newsgroups as well?
will this affect Web content in other ways? Small-time reviewers
routinely fall into one of two categories:
prove I'm serious by hating everything."
achieve immortality by loving everything. My name will then surely
end up on the video box of one of these turkeys. "
we now be subjected to endless, mindless "I laughed I cried" reviews
of everything in existence? A.M. Benneter, after all, could now
claim to have been published in the New York Times. Is self-publication
the same as validation? Will everything on the Internet be presumed
true, simply because it is there? One shudders at the thought. The
situation is bad enough already, with the vast array of reactionaries
who haven't mastered the concept of satire (many fundamentalists,
for example, believe J.K. Rowling is a Satanist, because of a chain
letter quoting an article from the Onion). Not to mention
endless personal homepages featuring "about me" pages which include
everything from the solipsistic subject's vital statistics to favourite
chocolate bar (one hilarious example I stumbled across is from a
professed "minimalist" who has about 85 pieces of metal sticking
out of her head).
goodness there are still people like me around, who only provide
insightful, objective commentary.
© 2000 Jennifer Amey. All Rights Reserved.
Amey is opinionated and over-tired in Toronto.
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