Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Belly of the Beast

So I went on a pub crawl last night and met new friends and then all today I have been outside doing outdoorsy things in Buenos Aires like walking around, touring the beautiful cemetery in Recoleta, getting a tan, admiring the fashionable olive-skinned beautiful Argentians in the cafes. ¨This is life!¨ I think to myself.

But as happens when there is a lull in one´s day, one´s mind starts to wander. Specifically, it starts to wander toward the internet. ¨Come on, Dan - it can´t hurt to check your email. And if a couple web sites slip in there who´s really hurt? But I draw the line at Google Reader.¨ I tried to resist the temptation, but it was just too strong. So I tentatively headed to the nearby internet cafe.

I walked in. I saw a few fashionable young Europeans sitting near the door. ¨This won´t be so bad,¨I thought. I went to the attendant´s table. I requested a computer. ¨Numero cuatro¨ I was told. I began to walk over to the computer. I looked up. Sitting at the next computer over was the fattest, palest, wormsiest, ugly glassesiest American I´ve ever had the misfortune of laying my eyes upon. ¨This is not a good sign,¨ I thought. But I sat down anyway. ¨I´m going to do this, and it´s going to be fine. On my terms. No lingering on blogs and news sites for hours. In - and out.¨ So I opened my mail, and there wasn´t much to see. And I Wikipediaed √Čva Peron because I´d just seen her grave. ¨This is harmless. I´m in total control.¨

But just as that thought enters my head I look over at the obese pasty wormsy American´s computer. And staring back at me is a nightmarish scene of indescribable horror. This is a rough - it really doesn´t do it justice - approximation of how this scene I am about to recount looked through my eyes. On this man´s Internet Explorer were tabs as far as the eye can see. He had them stacked in three rows - I didn´t even know rows were possible. I scan the labels on the tabs: Talking Points Memo, Huffington Post, Marginal Revolution, The New Republic, Salon, Slate... ¨Oh dear God, I´m in trouble. OK. Stay calm. You can handle this. Just refocus on your core sites and you´ll get through this thing.¨ I took a deep breath. I was about to return to the part in the Wikipedia page discussing the musical Evita when this battle of wills took a dramatic turn for the worse. I decided to look, out of curiosity, at which tab the man had open. And it was... I can barely say it... THE DRUDGE RETORT! Reading The Drudge Report is a signal of a certain level of internet addiction and general depravity. But reading The Drudge Retort - that goes beyond internet addiction and general depravity to a level of addiction and depravity where the separation between you and the Internet breaks down and the concept of a ¨real life¨ceases to exist. The Drudge Retort is a site for people who find The Drudge Report´s news to be too mainstream and uncontrarian and seek a site that caters more to internet nerds´taste. This is The Drudge Report that links to every story that questions the existence of global warming and throws a picture of a baby with a leg sticking out of its head on the front page.

At that point I just lost all of my willpower. A chain reaction of ctrl-clicks soon resulted in a collection of tabs that rivaled my neighbor´s. And that is the sorry state I find myself in at this moment. ¨Let´s go to that fun St. Patrick´s Day party at the Irish bar that girl told us about last night,¨my traveling companion says. ¨What did you say,¨I ask, ¨Geithner AIG Obama Natasha Richardson Ski Accident Bailout American Idol Rigged Bernanke Al Franken Recount? Yes that sounds fantastic, let´s do that.¨

4 comments:

Mulatto Jesus said...

My psychiatrist tells me not to feel guilty about ANYTHING. What's done is done. The only crime is that you didn't stream some porn on that bad boy!

Anonymous said...

Dan, it's like you shine a 100 billion watt spotlight onto my soul and give me a mirror. Despair. Hollow men.

Anonymous said...

In that case, anonymous, MJ's porn comment applies to you too

Nostradamus said...

Retroactive praise for this magnificent post.