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"The Unsettling Presence of Man"

Full immersion into the Internet, full immersion into the bleeding edge of the Information Age -- both mean full immersion into discovering new people and personalities, instruments through which information is created.

Yes, my friends, people are tools. But you already knew that, didn't you?

Turn on the radio. Incompetent, humorless disc jockeys, generic radio announcer voices, commercial cuts using overplayed music by bands who indulge in idiocy (in preparation for their humiliating bankruptcy ten years later), vapid advertisements with no clear business message or hook to draw in the fools who listen to them.

Turn off the radio. Try for the television instead. More of the same, with durable iMac plastic news anchors bringing you the latest stories of twits subverting the law, advertisements which aren't funny and which couldn't even sell a bloody joke to the desperate celebrities we call Mr. Leno and Mr. Letterman, inane TV sitcoms using the same old plots and flashing the same stupefyingly cute faces of up and coming stars (before they grow up and patch together shameful movie portfolios and develop extravagant drug habits), overdone breaking updates on what our President has done this time, the painful buzzing of the Emergency Broadcast tests, PBS money-raising marathons, shopping channels selling collectible plates of Steve "Stone Cold" Austin, all brought to you by eager little mindless interns and journalists willing to jump through Fruit Loops in order to get the job.

Give up, go outside. Walk down the street, admiring the hollow shells of humans who once were alive, lives free of hope or happiness or contentment, internally celebrating the homeless people and the wannabe homeless high school kids who beg for change and have a master plan for defeating the Government, watching pigeons splutter under large trucks' wheels and bicyclists careen head-on into borrowed Subaru's (useless -- in this case -- helmet and all), deliberating whether to get a Big Mac with the rest of America or to live dangerously and eat at Burger King with the other revolutionaries, walking behind people who walk slowly and inconsiderately (because they have dreams of "Perfect Strangers" and "Walker, Texas Ranger" reruns in their pretty little heads), seeing clerks slide in the devilish credit card the wrong way until you grab it from their hands and do it for them, destroying the tugging feeling of external worth asking for attention as it sees those cliques of young and trendy adults whittle away their days in the name of living one's life to its fullest, being run around by clerks who only have the job because they have to save up to support their heroin habits and grab Pokemon off the shelves at the nearest gaming store (as opposed to actually wanting to help you with your purchase), finding mysterious contracts with bizarre gibberish in fine print (and loathing to see your signature upon it), noting the silence of people as they struggle for something to say.

Run off, scared, into the forest. Pieces of paper and plastic cups are scattered amongst the fallen leaves and moss. A large, clear plastic bag suffocates a tree's branches as it flaps revoltingly in the wind. Puddles of water are stained with kaleidoscopic gasoline spots from leaky trucks. Small woodland animals with little nourishment value lie contorted in unnatural positions, riddled with maggots and bullet holes. Some dead girl lies next to them, her name and life unknown except to only a few, her body used by some filthy, Hellish, human monster.

Pick up the paper, or a magazine. Journalists and professional writers (or otherwise known as the socially in-tuned "masters" of the English language) giving their every opinion on just about any topic which mentions Clinton, sex, Woodstock, Nixon, Jackie, etc. Having to suffer through the unbearable pain of overcritical reviews and seeing the reflections of people who no longer have any reason to live now that their jadedness and stubborn ignorance have consumed their once-thriving passions (which might've gotten them there in the first place). Seeing media spins and political punditry, unable to find what the truth is through using a third person to gather any news that comes outside of the United States. Seeing the recently converted paparazzi digress to their old ways, driving still more loveless and miserable individuals into concrete tunnel dividers. Agonizing over ridiculous feedback letters in the Mailbag sections from people who have no business opening their mouths, let alone using them to speak. Respecting the blind courage of magazines and newspapers while they tumble madly out of control to find a way to work alongside the Internet.

Heading off to class, brushing shoulders with the future of America and international business, powerboating through the wake of high school losers who have no aspirations or goals to reach before the touch of death finds them, suffering through the ranting, rambly editorials of professors who've been stroked for years by "dedicated" students to the point where lectures become more like gospel preaching than a surveying of views. Seeing children waste their parents' money by getting college educations they're not quite ready to appreciate yet, wondering just how the Hell America will stay on top as kids crush their opportunities with every moment they spend preening their hair and walking like homosexual runway models down the classroom aisle, as if anyone cared, as if anyone noticed, as if good looks were the center of the universe. Silently loathing the industrious students who laugh at all the professors' jokes and who take good notes (presumably of taking stock of professors' weak points for flattery) and who walk around like their knowledge is the be-all and end-all of modern society as we know it.

Go home, log onto the Internet, scanning megabytes upon megabytes per day of sophomoric (in itself, sometimes funny, unless it has no content) IRC conversations, the equivalent of penis and breast size contests on Usenet and Web forums, mountains of unsolicited mail from lonely get-rich-quick failures who think business models are Cindy's and Eva in suits, hundreds of mailing list posts from web developers who have no idea of what they are adding their work to in the greater picture, insta-news services like CNN and ABCNews that have poor people slaving in the backrooms to throw up the HTML source needed to publish the stories online, the biases and prejudices which could have been erased only a few years ago as people nag and bitch about "e-commerce" and "portals" and whatnot, the personal web sites full of people who make more out of themselves than what they actually are (to the point where they actually ask for work as part of their introduction), the collaborative web sites that do not create an online community, per se, but only another splinter group which divides people up even further, the whining of whether Macs or UNIX or Linux or Fucknix is superior, procrastinating students beaming vague and general e-mails to owners of sites asking them to virtually write their papers for them.

Oh you know...this could go on and on, but Juvenal didn't go that route. I'm no Juvenal, but I'm learning when to stop, and when to condense material. While not the best examples I could come up with, they were the first to spring into mind.

All sorts of manmade waves crash against our bodies, mangling them as they pass through us, our brains processing impossible amounts of data at once as gamma rays and airborne radiation and smog and radio waves and television waves and cellular waves and beeper nets all bombard us like the decaying elements we discovered not so long ago. The eyes of a fully immersed Netizen go back and forth on pages online thousands and even millions of times per day, being subjected to people with no opinions, people with no validity to their opinions, people who shouldn't be on the streets in the first place. So much of this precious information passes through us, yet so little of it we actually remain. We gather it and keep it, being good little packrats waiting for the coming of the newer Dark Ages. Many of the people who post the most stupid posts hardly have any education (formal or street or common sense) and no authority to speak, yet their effect is made anyway.

As an American, I am subjected to so much crap. As we all know, and have commented on at some point of time, 80-90% of what we receive must actually be worthless shit. Whether we like it or not, we're receiving information, through brightly-colored ads, electronic waves slicing through the air, static and radiation emaciating our bodies.

There is no escaping the released byproducts of information, or even information itself, no matter how hard we try. How nice it would be to be buried underground on some distant planet, free of the 24-hour buzz the earth produces. (the movie "Contact" portrays this well) How nice it would even be to sit on a remote island in the Pacific, thousands of miles away from man, just listening to the breeze sweep through the trees behind you as you sit on the beach, facing the water. The horizon is limitless, and the peace and quiet bubbling from this island give you the time away from other people that you have so sorely missed. You feel free, you feel alive. You don't feel irritated, or agitated.

My point is this: the influence of man is near omnipresent, and if you ever decide that you need some time away from the revolting, enslaving, oppressing closeness of human beings, you'll find yourself trapped in a Hell you will find it hard to escape.

Which is one of the better things about love, actually -- when you truly do find it, it's actually like lying on the beach of some paradisiacal isolated island with your lover, and you love so much that you stop dwelling on the inhumanity of humans enough that you actually look at the better qualities of them.

But with all the noise and clamor that humans make, and with all the information being shoved down our collective throats, are we going to become deaf...and blind? Will we have to keep shouting louder, writing headlines with bigger font sizes, doing more and more extreme things just to produce a reaction? Have we lost our ability to differentiate between even very different things? Have we lost our keen senses?

Will we be drowned out by the sea of white noise?

I hate people, and I hate being around people. At times I find it enjoyable to be around plenty of people, but that comes only occasionally and when the setting is appropriate. How come the Internet, what I've gotten so heavily enraptured in, has to open me up to millions and millions of people from around the world, along with the billions of brainless words they produce online every year? Is that a sick joke?

Or do I actually like people more than I give them credit for, in light of all their flaws...?

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