March 22, 2009

5 Things I Hate About The Web

I love pizza. But I understand that there are things about it that are unpleasant. For one thing, it makes me fat. It also isn't terribly helpful to my general health.

I also love the web. But I realize that it, too, has some pretty unpleasant consequences. Here are 5 things I hate about the web.
1. The demise of newspapers: There are larger economic issues than just the web responsible for the increasingly dire situation of the newspaper industry. However, without doubt, the web has played a leading role.

If the evaporation of the newspaper industry is allowed to proceed, it will prove to be a disaster for democratic societies. (For a totally different opinion on this subject, I suggest this.*)

The web will never provide the same oversight as the newspaper industry. It is an unreliable, shoddy medium of news dissemination. Like television, over time it will become more of what it is, not less. It will destroy the newspaper industry but it will not replace it. (For a more complete and thoughtful analysis on this subject, I recommend this.*)

2. The proliferation of pornography: The most upsetting and degrading forms of pornography are now just two clicks away from every 9-year-old. If you think internet pornography has not already had an effect on your children, you're living in a dream world.

3. The devaluation of intellectual property: Artists' work used to be among the most highly valued of commodities. This is no longer true. This development has already nearly ruined the music industry, and threatens both the movie and television industries.

Web maniacs applaud this as some fuzzy-headed form of democratization. They don't seem to understand that democracy respects and protects personal property. I don't think they'd be quite as sanguine about it if it were their paychecks being democratized.

4.The acceleration of dumbing down: I believe there is a direct correlation between celebrity culture and the dumbing down of society. The web has stimulated celebrity culture to an unprecedented extent.

Among the truly dumb and addled there is also a belief that in the future the internet will not only replace everything ever invented, but will save the world by creating new avenues for human understanding. To this I can only say: What reason do we have to believe that in the future people will be any less stupid than they are today?

5. And one more thing I hate: Fucking Twitter.

What's the difference between pizza and the internet? Glad you asked. You're allow to criticize pizza. But as soon as you criticize the internet, you get emails and comments from devout web zealots telling you how stupid/backward/clueless you are. They'll be rolling in any minute now...

*Thanks to the wonderful Kelly.

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