Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Wild Wild Web

Every time a new frontier has been approached by mankind it has been treated by some with fear and suspicion, by others as a place to make a better life and by others as just out of reach of civilization. When we first started to sail the seven seas of this earth that third group sailed a little further than the others to take to a life of piracy on the ocean waves. When the Americas were first discovered many chose to ride into the wide blue yonder and live life in the lawless West. When mankind finally springs free from the bonds of this island Earth many of us will instantly opt for Space-Pirate/Cowboy lifestyles. But I want to focus on the one that's happening right now.

Google Image Search: Space Pirate...
First. Damn. Page.
It's easy for people to think in the overly coddled western world that new frontiers don't exist, and even if that's not correct we think those frontiers are beyond us. There's good money to be made running drugs through South America, but it's not exactly on anyone's list of places to build a better future. NO I'm talking about the frontier that you are exploring right now. Yes this article (oh look at me trying to pretend I'm a proper writer) and everything else you encounter on the internet are the new frontier. I don't mean that in some bullshit philosophical way I mean that when we ran out of sprawling wastelands which were notoriously hard to police we invented a new one. I'm going to focus on the West for this post because I was brought up with limited access pirate movies due to Costner ruining water based films also since Monkey Island there have been no good pirate games. Whereas I've watched tons of Westerns, countless episodes of Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman and played Red Dead Redemption. Also by combining westerns and technology I'll be able to make Firefly references.

If this isn't at least part of what you want your life
 to be I'm not sure I want you reading this blog.
So I think I should first address the lawlessness aspect I touched upon above, you see a big part of the appeal of the Western genre was that a lot of the West was beyond the reach of the law. True Grit is a story about 3 people travelling for a long time to find a criminal that the regular authorities didn't have the resources to pursue. Whilst True Grit is not a true story it is typical of what the west was like and indeed what the internet is like. I'm not saying that anyone reading this article has ever shot a man over a game of cards... although if you have yo can tell me, I'm cool... but you have all certainly breached international copyright laws. Now there are a million and one justifications for doing that, if House aired in the UK as the same time as the States I wouldn't need to download it, would I, Fox *spit*, but the reason we do it is because we know that we probably won't get in trouble. That's the same mentality that pervaded towns like Tombstone and Deadwood (yes, Deadwood was actually a real town). If you want to find the online version of tavern in a lawless frontier town then go to 4chan and check out /b/ I'm not going to link because you won't thank me. Now I'll admit the laws these people are outrunning are for the most part rules of social niceties but there is also a fair amount of flat out illegal shit occurring as well
Outside of the internet mixing cartoon bears and peadophilia is
seen as at best ill-mannered and at worst a sin against nature
While the West was lawless it wasn't without justice and revenge, justices deformed half brother. When someone had crossed, whatever the locals considered to be, the line by say punching the towns prettiest prostitute, stealing cattle or noncing a non-ginger (do what you want to the ginger kids no-one gives a fuck but then again they are the least attractive, so...) then it was time to round up a posse to bring the wrong-doer to justice. Alternatively they just grabbed the nearest 'negro' and crossed the thin line between mob-justice and lynching. I'm guessing I don't have to drive this one home to much but this totally exists online and even has it's own damn costume. Anonymous are a modern day posse/lynch-mob (it varies depending on where you are standing) with as much power for good or evil as there high-plain antecedents. However no-one believes this to be the worst part of the old West. No that was always a much more sinister phenomenon.

Yes, people pretending to be sasquatch, was a
huge problem but not the one I was referring to.
We've all seen the film Clint Eastwood rides into town to discover the Tavern, the General Store, the Ranch and the local Gold Mine all belong to one corrupt bastard who usually is shown early on punching a woman. He controls the flow of everything into and out of that town, hell even Zeke the ineffectual sheriff won't touch his boys even with all the brawling. Basically he's Gene Hackman in 'The Quick and The Dead'. If you live in that town he owns you. Surely we wouldn't allow such a thing to exist online would we, I don't know let me just check my Facebook. That's right in the littel town of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg is Gene Hackman... obviously outside of this metaphor Jesse Eisenberg was a much better casting decision. See whereas Google is the Pony Express and the Transcontinental Railroad of the New West social networking sites don't talk to each other they are closed systems and there making a small group very rich and this time we're not allowed to shoot them.

Being allowed to shoot them is one of the major plus points for fictional villians, but
does raise the issue of fictional rights, or as Americans call them 'The Constitution'
This metaphor works on so many levels that you can just keep pushing it. Flame wars are the new duels online word-slingers settling differences at High Noon fingers hovering over the keyboard until a helpful local yells "CAPS LOCK!". The geeks are the Native Americans seeing there spiritual homelands destroyed by a wave of fucking noobs. Where the West had its whorehouses, we have so much porn that I was desensitised to midget porn before I was twenty, have you any idea how hard it was to get desensitised to midget porn even a few short decades ago? It used to take a lot of effort... I did it by accident. However this torturous extended metaphor does have a point I want to get to and that is enjoy it while you can because it doesn't last.

Doesn't even make me laugh any more.
Pirates these days are a much sorrier affair than they once were and what was once the Wild West is now Cawker City, Kansas 'Home to the World's Largest Ball of Twine'. I'm not saying that the Internet will not remain a vast lawless playground for many years to come but when the hammer falls it will be a massive overreaction. You see pirates didn't just decided to quit. One day the British Navy and the East India Trading Company had a massive ruck with all of the pirate kings... there was a sea goddess and a Kraken... Seriously I don't have a lot to work with on pirates. However I can tell you that the death of the Old West was followed almost immediately by prohibition. You see when the authorities want something tamed they don't do subtlety they take complete control and drip you steady drops of freedom to see if you can be trusted. Which means that one day our Grandchildren will need an iris- scan to get online and will never accidentally see porn... I for one weep when I imagine that so, please everyone while you can, watch as much filth  as possible.

I don't want to live in a world where naked
cowgirl gets no hits on Google. Do you?

eddie <porn is fantastic>  

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