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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

I Give Up

While I watched a documentary on the debate about the rights and wrongs of restoring the late Keith Haring's mural at the old Collingwood Technical School in Melbourne, this blog last night reached 2.5 million page views. Haring's Australian work stands out among his 31 surviving murals worldwide, because it depicts a human brain trapped inside a computer terminal at the head of a giant corporate caterpillar. The symbolism has been interpreted many different ways, but for me the doco was timely, as the mural seemed to represent what had happened to my blog.
Reaching 2.5 million page views in a little less than five-and-a-half years should have felt like an achievement, but it didn't. Far from it. The reason being that just one of my 2240 posts had been viewed 24,000 times since the weekend. I had tried to take the heat out of it, without success, so in the end I deleted it altogether, because it had created too much of a distraction from what I want to do with this blog. It seemed like the post had been hijacked by people who have allowed their non-functioning brains to become boxed inside computers, so that they themselves operate as mere annexes of the Internet hivemind (and I certainly don't mean collective intelligence).
Interestingly, from 24,000 page views, there were only four comments, none of which were published. Two of those comments alone made me think: What the hell is going on with the world? Have people actually stopped thinking for themselves? Have they locked their brains inside a computer, and let others on the Internet do their thinking for them? Do they retain the capacity to read, but lack the capacity to comprehend? Or are they just too plain stupid to be able to make their own own minds?
I know there are many like me who think the worldwide craze for political correctness has gotten way out of control. What worries me most is that there are people out there, whether simply to be seen to be politically correct or are just too easily led, who are willing to ignore the solid evidence of the truth and allow themselves to believe in a deliberate manipulation of historical facts. It appears to suit their needs to accept lies, so they do. Frankly, if people like this are dominating the worldwide web, I don't want to be part of it. I give up.
The world I grew up in was one in which one was encouraged to listen and to read, to form one's own opinions, but to back up one's ideas and beliefs and opinions by what could be proved to be true. It strikes me that's not happening any more.
The summer edition of Vanity Fair has a wonderful article by James Wolcott about Twitter and its tweetering, mindless masses. Wolcott stresses his concerns about the toxic Twitter - the kangaroo court of social media - by outlining the cases of two non-tweeters, Gay Talese and Calvin Trillin. I stay well clear of Twitter myself, and it concerns me that one doesn't even have to be involved, or have an account, to get bombarded by the baseless indignation of moronic trolls - making relative innocents "cannibal stew", as Wolcott puts it - "So many clapping seals snapping up such puny fish."
Wolcott concludes, "Those who descend the ladder into the average unmoderated comments section will find themselves in a lunatic flophouse of seething illiterates and haters."
All too true, and a horrible reflection on the world today. What right-minded person wouldn't want out?
A week or two ago, this blog became so inundated with constant spambot mail that, reluctantly, I was forced to change the settings so that all comments had to go through the moderation process. I didn't like having to do that. As I have been saying here for years, one always felt safe within the confines of the Typosphere. Step outside it, however- wittingly, willingly or otherwise - and one never knows what one may be getting into.
That's not the real trouble, though. The major distress comes from being made to realise what the world has turned into, to have to deal with the realities of living in a time of mob mentality and hashtag zombies. Whirled back in time by the Internet, we're been returned to the Dark Ages. Instead of the worldwide web taking us further down the path of enlightenment, it has only succeeded in clouding thought and reining-in intellect. In discouraging a dependence on the truth, it frowns on free thinking, free speech, and allows liars, charlatans, cheats and crooks to prosper. So be it. I'm outta here!


Ted said...

I have hope, if you're planning on shutting down the blog, that you consider generating a PDF version for interested readers. I find your blog to be a very useful reference - one which I would be very sad to lose. (:

Bill M said...

I for one have never been interested in the idiotic world of twitter. For the most part like much of social media there are just to many ignoramuses who think they know it all. Problem is so many people get sucked into the garbage.

In any case I congratulate you on 2.5 million visits minus the 24k or so that may be bogus ones.

I agree with Ted on the blog. I know it takes a lot of work, but I vote for a book of your blog.


I suspect that the world is precisely just as stupid today as it ever was. (I offer for example the case of Nazi Germany, without said stupidity Hitler would never have been elected rat-catcher, much less leader of the Reich.)

The only difference today is that all the stupid people can easily log on and spread their opinions for all the rest of us to see. And it's depressing.

Please keep going with your fascinating blog -- just shut down the "comment" feature.

The stuff the world is thinking? You'll be much happier not finding out about. ;)

Ted said...

heh, just so you know you're not alone, I also have a spam-magnet post that draws something like 20-40 spam comments a day. It's called "Bazooka Joe and the Black Helicopters of Doom", and I have no idea why it's so attractive, other than it hints at conspiracy theories (but is actually about powerful camera lenses).

I find it a useful tool for training my spam filter. (:

notagain said...

Now I wish I'd seen that post! Allow me to join the chorus of support though. You have some dynamite research baked into interesting posts.

David Lawrence said...

Oh please! Allow me my 2c worth, Dynamite? Nope.

Robert Messenger's research is the very basic pick and shovel kind, long, hard yakka, and he also fills the cart and pushes it out from the coal-face all the way to the processing station, has a quick shower, changes clothes, and not only processes it, but assembles it into witty, fascinating prose, and then [changing hats] publishes it!

Richard P said...

24,000 views in a few days for one post? I am puzzled. Either you touched on some very hot topic, or the number was inflated by some strange bot.

Twitter is mostly pointless and nasty. I recently announced that I was essentially quitting, although I reserve the right to post an occasional chirp there if I feel like it.

Other parts of the Internet, though, have very different atmospheres. And for the most part, I have found the typosphere -- in which your blog is a major presence -- to be a friendly and positive place. However, you are the only one who can decide whether the blog is worthwhile for you. I suspect that you'll miss writing the blog, sooner or later. So never say never; just post if and when you downright feel like it.

All the best to you.

texbodemer said...

Does this mean that I'll never get to see your Royal Safari-type typewriter reviews? I always look forward to your posts on various portables! If so, could you send your notes to typewriterresearch (at) gmail(dot) com ? I would love to compare notes!

Hans Boersma said...

Any monkey can press a button, it's nothing new. You don't need to be part of the Internet; just use it to publish. You can't fix the internet, but what you can do is not make it worse.

shordzi said...

Many greetings & congratulations for the big hits number - most of them, I am convinced, come frome friendly and avid readers of your amazing entries (such as yours truly). So I hope that despite the frustations which inwvitably come up, you can maintain this blog, and just as Richard says, at your own pace.

gee said...

Sorry that I did not read the post in question. I will add to the group in saying I appreciate and find your blog both interesting, informative and one I always look forward to read. Yours truly (Gerald T. of the Manual Typewriter Experience)

Gukim said...

I am from France, and i discover recently your blogs. Internet is only what people makes, it's just a tool. So the mistake and criticism is just for the people. The space that you create is very appreciating because the time you put on us.

The world is fill with greedy people, it's just a fact but you are not the one of them. So the perspective of this internet is just the representation of this world. With this fact, which is the reality, and this this reality everyday i can not avoid. My thought are just what i am gonna make it.

It's the same things about typewriters market there is so many mercantile guys who never appreciate those machine, those guys can ruin the typoshere.

Your blog is one of them who guide me into typosphere and you made my happiness somedays. So anyway you will miss me, even if don't know you on the other side of the planets. That is the magic of internet, i found your blog a piece of singularity in this horrible space.

Thanks for sharing your experience and your passion to us Robert Messenger!

Danny Messenger said...

I just saw this and hope that you don't shut down your blog!!! I always find it very interesting, informative and entertaining!!

Mark Adams said...

You wrote, "Instead of the worldwide web taking us further down the path of enlightenment, it has only succeeded in clouding thought and reining-in intellect. In discouraging a dependence on the truth, it frowns on free thinking, free speech, and allows liars, charlatans, cheats and crooks to prosper."

Though I note that your voice is among those that prospers most in the typosphere. I hope to keep hearing it.

John Parry said...

Hello Robert:

As Bill Clinton used to say - I feel your pain.

Don't give up the ship - I love your blog and enjoy everything you write. I also concur with your comments on the vast commuity of Twits.

All the best from Canada.

John Parry

Anonymous said...

Gary McGill Hang in there mate I to like to check out your blog.You are dead right the world has changed those who are not PC.seem to be a nasty,selfish,undisiplined lot.Thank GOD the PCs and Nasties are in the minority so stay onboard and give them whato!!