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The Information Ague
A Chilling Encounter with the Virtual Sodom & Gomorrah
© 2012 James LaFond
The Information Ague had me in its cruel grip, sucking my mind from its gelatinous housing, threatening my very sanity! I had spent weeks attempting to get online so that I could help upload free content for the website. Eventually I succeeded in plugging a cable into the back of my tower and plugging the other end into this plastic box downstairs. ‘Yes’, I thought, I am online, able to communicate with the five people who want to communicate with me!
I returned to my modest den to peer out onto the information highway. I had done this years ago; remembered a nice blue screen topped by postmodern symbols—I think they are called tools by this device I am pecking at—and did not feel the least bit intimidated. I shut the door, admired the crest on my Evil Smurf helmet and the hilt of my Museum Replicas Viking sword below it, and turned toward the blue screen rimmed by my clearly defined access tools—no!!!
My psyche was dealt a body-blow. I hopped into my used swivel chair to stare in dismay at the chaos that now invaded my serene 11 by 14 foot slice of Planet Earth. Banality literally blared from the screen: the gorgeous Armenian American babe was there to remind me I wasn’t a millionaire NBA player and that she was permitting a new mortal to worship her from among her circle of friends; two NFL coaches—or some form of non-combatant gridiron parasites—where screaming at each other, and the headlines touted the significance of their discourse as if they were Julius Giaus Caesar and Cicero; a gay actor pretended to kiss the neck of some fashion model in an evening dress in an ad for some TV program—and my mind was spiraling into the worldly abyss…
No wonder people can’t keep appointments; can’t look away from their flat palanteers to avoid oncoming traffic; can’t write a letter; don’t know anything other than celebrity gossip and sports news.
I panicked and called Charles, “Hey man, I’m trying to get to the website and it’s like standing in the supermarket checkout trying not to look at the tabloids—this is horrible.”
Charles calmed me down and walked me through the back end of the computer, finding the buried toolbar, disabling this and that, cutting me off from the 1970s high school lunchroom that is American Journalism, until I was looking at a screen that did not scream banalities from the End of Days into my mind.
It was surprisingly unsettling to be forced to have mental intercourse with the perverse database that immerses the mass of American humanity in trivialities innumerable. Thank God I was wearing protective glasses. Now, that I have managed, with my young guide’s help, to encase this window on mankind’s ongoing cultural implosion with the virtual equivalent of shutters, blinds and a curtain, I no longer feel like the robot that hotmail, yahoo and rocketmail thought I was when they made me read twisted letters that I could not recognize, any more than I could see my name spelled in a tree’s leaves. Finally, after three internet gatekeepers declared me nonhuman, Charles sent me an invitation to join the rest of you. So I may now devote my computer time to interacting with our Tabloid Society, instead of writing.
Now that I can laugh at the invasive haunting of my offline man-cave by the news-cycle poltergeist with some detachment, I am reminded of Charles’ response, last year, when I told him I did not have a Face Book [well, whatever a Face Book listing is], “Okay, there are five people on the planet who are not on Face Book: my grandparents; you apparently—and two hillbillies drinking themselves to death in West Virginia!”
I laughed at the thought of those hillbillies until the news-cycle poltergeist burst into my life. I do not know how you folks do it. Do you wear aluminum foil hats to keep the CIA from extracting your thoughts, or do you hide behind the screen when you type?
Good luck.
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