days of naze
|from my head to my toes
A little audio gift (85 kb .wav)
for my Faithful readers on
the first anniversary (7/14/99) of
the site. Hand cranked to help
you on the long march.
An obnoxiously large
(101k .wav) audio greeting
from the Author.
|January 23, 2000
What is it that it is?
This is probably ill advised.
The arguments of the disenchanted always seem more credible, more persuasive because quite frankly, the world is filled with disappointments. They resonate.
But when I read this, I felt compelled to respond.
Let's get this out of the way first. The fact that the first lines of the last two days (and as you know, days days are infinitely more like Neptune days than Internet days) reference Alexis, merely graze upon how much I groove on her Massie-ness.
While I've been on the Web for a long time, and the value of a good active audience can't be underestimated, she was the antecedent: the writer/performer/artist. She was building this damn thing way back when Cool Site of the Day was actually pretty cool. Alexis still kicks ass.
But you can kick ass and still be wrong.
In a couple of entries she'll tell you not to take her so seriously, not to get so bent out of shape. But anybody who writes about this great big thing so frequently and passionately clearly believes and cares. With Alexis' experience and talent, you've got to take her seriously. The subsequent protestations of the irrelevance of her opinions are probably the only part that you should take with a grain of salt.
She's got some compelling arguments in there. Let's start with the definition of the Web. The literal definition is obvious (i.e. protocol, servers, bandwidth), so let's move immediately to the harder, bigger question (hmm, that came out a little nastier than intended...). What do we really mean when we talk about the Web?
Some famous person (who I cannot recall at the moment) said, "Art is the blossom of society". And while I am not a big fan of the the capital "A" in Art, let's make use of it for our purposes here. When I think of the web (small "w"), I think of Amazon and ESPN, but when I think of the Web, I'm thinking of Evaporation, Tremble, Salon (most days), Rob and about 20 other places I frequent. Not because there are only 20 other places worth frequenting, but because I can only suck in so much Web per day.
The Web is a network of people (us, in this case). Or more exactly, a network of human expression. The symbols of expression: words, images, sounds, engaging two of the senses (and who is kidding who? -- taste, touch and smell may not be too far off, but how eager are we for their digital equivalent, really?).
Enough to tell a pretty damn good story.
And that, my dear, as you well know is the point.
I don't believe in the Web, just like I don't believe in t.v., radio, CDs, magazines, or (forgive me, Supreme Being) books. However, I do believe with all my soul in some of the stories and ideas I have encountered in them.
But maybe I do believe in those stories from the Web more than I do from other media for the very simple reason that I participate. Call and response. It's at the core of what it means to be. The Web is a constellation of campfires in the night, each with a storyteller, many of them with people around them, some close in where you can see their faces, others sitting back in the shadows.
That the Web is awash with knick-knacks and bits of nothing is the price of it's existence. The alternative is a completely refereed or mediated experience. That's not what I want. I want to crash through and stumble onto something that might look lame at first (sorry, Dana, you know I love you), but be brilliant.
But as you conclude (and did you really have to crap all over My Web? -- I'm actually rather fond of it), the Web isn't what I want it to be, it isn't what you want it to be. Honestly, neither of us would be satisfied with what we want it to be. How much can any one or two people sketch the geography of such a place, standing in for millions? Where is the surprise, the wonder, the invention in that?
Which brings me to my next point:
"and what's the point of something wonderful if it doesn't change the world?"
Oy! Wonder doesn't have a point -- it just is. Wonder changes you. And if wonder changing you changes the world, more power to you. It seems to me that world changing is more a product of passions that have no original intention of world changing.
[Her third paragraph is a devastating, largely on-target broadside against the Web. I'm not even going to try to take that one on. Pass Go. Collect $200.]
But listen. I have stories to tell. They are who I am. The Web (capital W) allows me to speak them and for others to hear and respond. Without the Web I am a father, a product manager (and very rarely a musician). Those are necessary and prescribed roles. And they could be enough. But with the Web I can speak as all of me. With the Web I am more than I would be without it.
And I can't help regard that as some sort of miracle.
It's late. Buddy Guy spins. Although we both end up at roughly the same place conceptually, Buddy speaks for you: "You're damn right I've got the blues". Comparatively, I really haven't given that much to the Web. I can't honestly say I've earned the right to be disappointed in this monstrous construct. And I don't think you can actually talk someone out of the blues.
I'm kind of amazed I still find great stuff. But I'm not soaking in it. Maybe I'd be unhappy with Madge if I was.
Hugs and kisses,
p.s. Was that "duck and cover" drill just for nuclear attack?
p.p.s. The "Made with Front Page Express" tag in the code probably isn't going to win me points in this argument, is it?
p.p.p.s. A necessary evil in an imperfect world: new days notification list.
|previously on days of naze :
before i die
what have you done for me lately? survived another day.
|May you never be more active
when you are doing nothing.
They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
-Carl W. Buehner
|in the feedbag:
milestone: one of my millenial wishes was bestowed last week. i can't help but feel very optimistic about the others. ;-)
cd: Buddy's Baddest: The Best of Buddy Guy. "Feels Like Rain", "Damn Right, I've Got the Blues" - unbelievable.
vcr: Slamnation (A) - a surprisingly engaging documentary of a recent National Poetry Slam held here in Portland. Shots of the trainyards and the bridges give you a sense of the soul of the city. Rent this movie.
book: The Memoirs of Cleopatra - A Novel; it is a very, very long book, still enjoyable to this very slow reader.
favorite phrase of the moment: David "mish - mash - mo!"
PC: I gave my system a few treats over the holidays - 1) a total defrag took more than 8 hours, holy shit!; 2) a new printer cartridge, and 3) a badass Altec Lansing set of satellite speakers with sub woofer for $49; whoa, what a difference.
PC: a serious obsession with LucasArts' X-Wing Alliance. I've made it through all 49 missions and have made literally more than 100 attempts at the final Death Star, only tonight destroying the reactor but swept up into the conflagration halfway to the exit. AAAGGGGGHHH!!!
|death to all counters! your days are numbered...|
© christopher naze