Sunday, June 27, 2010

This Is What’s Wrong With The Internet.

First a few statistics:

The internet has been estimated to hold roughly five million terabytes of data. That's 5,120,000,000 gigabytes. For comparison, you can fit the entire Encyclopedia Britannica in roughly half a gigabyte (and that's with pictures). The internet is gargantuan.

So why are we seeing the same thing over and over and over?

Here's why: Because I'd estimate the internet is only about 10% original content. 90% of the internet is just copies of that first ten percent. Think of all the videos that show up on hundreds of sites, all the cut and paste articles, the email forwards, etc, etc.

However, the part that really gets me is when content is lifted from another site, but is then sanitized to the point where it doesn't even make sense any more. Basically, that email forward that you thought was mildly amusing in 1996 finally got on your parent's radar…was changed so it wouldn't offend grandma…and went through so many censorship cycles that the punchline doesn't even make sense any more.

For example, take this joke I found during some random web-surfing:

"A mother was working in the kitchen listening to her son playing with his new electric train in the living room.

She heard the train stop and her son say, "All of you fools who want to get off, get off now, cause this the last stop! And all you fools, who are returning and want to get on, get your tails on the train now, cause we're going down the tracks!"

The mother went into the living room and told her son, " We don't use that kind of language in this house. Now go to your room and stay there for TWO HOURS. When you come out, you may go back and play with your train, but only if you use nice language.

Two hours later the boy came out of the bedroom and resumed playing with his train.

Soon the train stopped and the mother heard her son say "All passengers who are disembarking, please remember to take all of your belongings with you. We thank you for riding with us today and hope your trip was a pleasant one. We hope you will ride with us again.

She hears the little boy continue: "For those of you just boarding we ask you to stow your hand luggage in the racks over your head, or under your seat. Remember, there is no smoking on this train. We hope you will have a pleasant and relaxing journey with us today."

Then the child added, "And for those of you who are annoyed about the TWO HOUR delay, see the annoying woman in the kitchen!"

Didn't you feel your sense of humor die just a little bit?

Originally, the kids used words like 'fucker' instead of fools, and the punch line was "And for those of you pissed off about the delay, see the fucking bitch in the kitchen.

It's humor. A joke is supposed to force you to make an assumption that's then humorously shown to be false. A building of tension followed by a release.

Thanks to about fifteen years of cutting, pasting and sanitizing for grandma, this isn't so much a joke as just a really boring story.

Save the Internet. Make New Content. Stop Cutting and Pasting.


Capri said...

Actually getting rid of all that vulgarity would make more room for real original content as well. It didn't make sense in the joke that the woman would object to words that weren't vulgar, but the point of it was she was the cause of the 2-hour delay, and while the joke made me laugh just this once, it sure wouldn't if I saw it again in a chain letter. And if I got a chain letter full of f-bombs besides, that would seriously annoy me. So I basically agree with what you're saying, but don't agree with you wanting a keep-out policy for those who want the content without the obscene crap it originally came with. Us non-obscene people have a right to appreciate content too, whatever it is.., and without the vulgar junk. But yes, chain letters should die. Every one of them.

Paulius said...

It's not about censorship, that joke would work with even mild cursing...but why would a parent have a problem with their kid using the word 'fool'? IT MAKES NO SENSE.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be clean content on the web...For example, one of my favorite webcomics is 'Sheldon' which is 100% clean and family friendly.

To be honest, it's the cutting and pasting in general I disagree with. There are too many sites that consist entirely of content taken from other sites...who also get all their content from other sites.

The fact a lot of this content has had all the humor wrung out of it because they've tried to make a George Carlin routine acceptable to 8 year olds is just icing on the cake