Friday, July 29, 2011

The One Where the Internet is Ruining the World

I'm fairly certain the Internet is what is causing the downfall of civilization as we know it.

That might be an odd thing for someone like me to say, considering I have a blog (a couple blogs, actually), I get most of my recipes online, I read news online, and I have a certain love affair with Google.

But watching people these days, just the way people are makes me feel like if not for the massive amount of online time and information you can find online, we'd be a lot better off.

I offer the following examples:

Example 1: Everyone is so damn hateful.

Granted, there have been mean people since the beginning of time. The Internet, however, and the anonymity offered therein, have made it almost impossible to consider our current culture as anything but a bunch of bullies.

I mostly blame the comment sections on news stories. Any Joe Shmo with computer access and an e-mail address (sometimes not even an e-mail address) can comment on anything. And most of the time, the comments aren't even relevant. A story about Amy Winehouse's death will have a, "SEE, DIS IS WHA HAPINS BECUZ OBBAMA'S DA PREZ." A story about Casey Anthony and how she killed her daughter and got away with it will have a, "Woohoo! WHAT A HOTTIE. I'd like to GET WITH THAT!" Any story in the world will have something about how Democrats/Republicans are the reason the country is in such bad shape.

People are able to be anonymous, so that makes them feel they have the right to say whatever they want.

I think in order to fix it, we need to require anyone who's going to post anything anywhere to include their photograph and home phone number. Then we'll see what people have to say.

Example 2: The Internet makes people think they know everything.

Blame Wikipedia. Blame WebMD. Everyone now thinks they know everything about everything. It doesn't make any difference that a lot of stuff is posted by people who also don't know anything about anything. Even now, people take things they see on the Internet as being the Gospel Truth.

People tell their doctors that the diagnosis is wrong, because they read on WebMD that it has to be something else. People get lame forwards of urban legends, and then suddenly, they're telling everyone and their mother that Oh my GOD, you guys, if you don't put your porch light on from 7:14 p.m. t0 8:57 p.m. next Wednesday, you are UN-AMERICAN.

And if you tell someone who learned something online that they're wrong? God save you.

Patron: I should be able to check out these books by using this iPhone app that has my library card barcode in it. I read it online.
Me: Well, unfortunately, we don't have the capabilities to. . .
Me: Yes, it IS technology that's currently available, but our county doesn't yet have the equipment that you need to be able to. . .
Patron: You are CLEARLY AN IDIOT. It said ONLINE that I can check out books WITH MY PHONE.

It doesn't matter that he read an article in the New York Times about how the New York Public Library is doing that now. He read it online, and that makes it fact. How dare you argue?

Which brings me to. . .

Example 3: The Internet is making everyone stupid.

Technology is a good thing. We've made amazing advances in the last 30 years to get us to where we are today. You can use your cell phone to make a dinner reservation, call your wife to tell her to meet you at the restaurant, and program your DVR to record the TV shows you'll miss while you're out to dinner. You can do all of that.

But you can't spell, and when you text your wife to remind her to wear the red dress you like so much to dinner, it comes out, "Wear ur RED DRESS 2 dinner."

I'm not entirely sure when it became acceptable to say "2" instead of "to" or "ur" instead of "your," but all it's going to do is cause kids to not be able to spell. All you need to do is glance at, let's say, a 7-year-old's text they're sending, and you can see it's already something of an epidemic.

(That is to say nothing of how young kids are when they get their own phone these days. If you want my opinion, if you're younger than 13, you have no need for a cell phone that does anything but call your parents, and maybe one other pre-programmed number. It's completely unnecessary. You don't need to text anyone. You don't need to call anyone. But that's just me.)

(My kids are going to HATE ME.)

No one cares about spelling and grammar anymore. No one cares they sound like a bunch of idiots, because most people are a bunch of idiots.

D was driving a bunch of 20-somethings home in the cab to a bar the other night, and one of them was giving the other a hard time for using "ur." Good for him. I want to be friends with that guy, maybe buy him a beer.

I'm just sad that it's now cool to be dumb. That's all there is to it. Dumbness is so mainstream, it's now the smart people, the people who use the proper versions of there, their or they're, and the people who take the extra half-second to spell out "your" that are the weird ones.

All of that being said, yeah. I'm convinced that the Internet and the fact that everyone has access to it is part of the reason we're in the shape we're in now. Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to get any better any time soon.

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