With our crucial first quarter of operations behind us, this seems an opportune moment to share with our many Valued Stakeholders some reflections on our short history-to-date and to examine some of the modest insights we feel have accrued since the inception of this bold and challenging initiative. Suffice it to say, it's been a pretty fuckin weird three months.
It may interest some to know that we did not intentionally set out to create Entropy Gradient Reversals as a vehicle for multimedia stand-up. We hesitate to admit that we did not think we were being funny at all until we began receiving your many email hoots and catcalls. Quite stung by these at first, we soon came to realize they represented a serendipitous opportunity-in-disguise. We carefully analyzed the passages you told us you found comical, and wrestled with mastering this inadvertent style in subsequent issues.
While we feel we have achieved a certain measure of success in this respect, it has not been easily won. In point of fact, we are seldom amused by anything. We find precious little to laugh about in the senseless squandering of a billion years of evolution. We are thoroughly demoralized by the empty spectacle that passes in these latter days for civilization. We cheered for the aliens in ID4.
In sharp contrast to the way things have transpired, our original intent was to explore a set of issues relating to the Internet and the World Wide Web that we felt were deserving of deeper thought and critical analysis. However, we almost immediately found ourselves in an odd and uncomfortable position. Having been among the first "evangelists" to call for more open access to the world's groaning but sequestered databanks, we suddenly felt like John the Baptist staggering out of the desert -- and into the middle of a Billy Graham revival at Disney World. How could we plausibly continue to argue that The Web was a Real Good Idea, when it was becoming painfully obvious that everybody and her long-lost Uncle had somehow managed to get on the bloody thing, and were already making more goddamn noise than we could ever hope to counter?
One of the pressing issues we therefore aimed to address was: Just who do these people think they are? They have no journalistic training, no editorial panache. They represent a rabble more dangerous to society than the mob that overthrew the rightful monarchy of France, that bit the paternal hand of kindly-if-mad George III. They deliver opinions on All and Everything, yet never supply a single footnote. They pilfer and plagiarize with impunity! They have reduced our beloved mother tongue to an unspeakable gracelessness that nature surely never imagined nor intended. And this egregious abuse has so far gone unchecked by government, by our largest corporations, even by our most vigilant Institutions of Higher Learning. This unsavory phenomenon has progressed to such an extent that many are now using to the world's most sophisticated communication medium to pass around mere jokes!
Imagine our embarrassment when, after setting out to call attention to this deplorable state of affairs, we found ourselves doing exactly the same thing. Heh-heh...
Ever the pragmatists, however, we have come to accept the fact that this steady fare of drool and drivel is precisely what appeals to the baser appetites of our steadily growing if largely decorticated audience. Opportunistically speaking, we feel that our flexibility in this regard is currently unrivaled elsewhere in CyberSpace, and that therein lies our formula for assured success in electronic publishing. That said, we nonetheless plan to use these quarterly reports to mention -- at least en passant -- some continuing concerns that our vulgar pandering prevents us from touching upon in regular distributions.
|People Really Are Smarter Than This... Right?|
|Some people like to go on and on about how stupid everybody is. Everybody except themselves, of course. It has to make you wonder what happened to these folks to get their nighties into such a tangled knot. The fact is, if everybody was as brain-damaged as these doom-sayers insinuate, the world would just plain fall apart. For each of the situations listed below, you just know there are cagey strategists behind the scenes, pulling wires and orchestrating outcomes. None of this is coming about by accident or by default. It's all being manipulated by Mensa-level super-intelligences working incognito and very much off-stage.|
|Software This Bad Doesn't Just Happen|
|You think maybe they forgot the user interface? Come on! Nobody's that dense. They're simply saving it up as next year's product add-on. For instance, have you ever wondered why, when you do a CTRL-F search in Netscape, the hits always appear at the very top of the screen so you have to scroll backwards to get any context? Or how about Microsoft's latest browser? You install it and nothing happens. You probably thought these were small, forgivable oversights. Wrong. They're all part of a Master Plan. In both of these cases, we happen to know what the plan is; unhappily for you, we're under non-disclosure.|
|What About Those Sweepstakes?|
|No one in the online scene expects that people actually want these silly things, or will ever play along with moronic "clues" and "hunts" and such. No, it's all just part of a clever ploy to sneak up and surprise us with the really good stuff they've been working on. We'll understand The Big Picture the day after Rupert Murdoch, John Mallone, Bill Gates and Janet Reno finally join forces to create the Ultimate One-World Media Empire. Imagine our shock when we see the contrast with the junk we get now! One day soon we'll log in and it'll all be different. It's simple reverse psychology.|
|Tell Us Wall Street Hasn't Lost It!|
|Wall Street hasn't lost it. Those apparently wild fluctuations are building toward a Kondratief Wave so powerful it would blow Josef Knecht right out of his deepest Bead Game. Suggesting that our economic system pivots around some cosmically arbitrary roulette wheel is simply irresponsible. Moreover, it's a crime against the State. Or should be. Remember, just because you fail to understand something doesn't mean it isn't good for you.|
|So Will Everything Just Keep Getting Bigger?|
|Will The Web Turn Into Television?|
|Definitely not. But both will merge into something new and wonderful. We can barely imagine the changes that await us as the world begins talking to itself at a trillion terabits per second. We will get stock quotes from our refrigerators, work assignments from our toaster ovens. No longer will we passively listen to the news, but rather act it out in Real Time -- almost like our earliest ancestors who did not know what they were doing until they had in fact done it. There will be no more second guessing. No surprises. Everything will be obvious and easy.|
|Will Memes Take Over the World?|
|As part of the inevitable Cost of Progress, yes. To fully appreciate the impact of these changes, you will need a powerful meme-decoder that will be available only to the very wealthy. Today, such decoders are laughably primitive, but still relatively inexpensive (looking very much like issues of Wired magazine). To help our readers better grasp the import of the New Abstraction that these developments will usher in, EGR is currently preparing a special supplement entitled "Emetic Memetics: Ideas So Powerful They Make You Puke."|
|Do Large Companies Have A Future?|
|The bigger the better! The current consultancy fad has already peaked. As applied to information, efficient market theory predicts that as soon as anything has been written about in Time magazine -- or categorized on Yahoo -- it's already passé. A few years ago, it was Real Estate. Everybody was selling Hot Properties to each other until the bottom fell out of a hyperinflated market. Now they're all consulting to each other. Can the outcome be any mystery? Soon, everyone will know everything, which will lead to complete paralysis of will and economic stasis. Only the largest corporations -- those that have proven able to protect themselves from any certain knowledge -- will survive.|
|Won't The Bad People Get All Our Stuff?|
|Don't fall prey to Second Wave thinking in this respect. By the time nanotech, virtual reality and digital cash have merged, The Third World will be too busy surfing the Web for the best prices on Downy Fabric Softener, feminine hygiene products and The Clapper. Nothing will be as it seems, and everything will work out for the best. As for cases where it doesn't, well, there's always Marburg and Ebola.|
|Will Our Form of Government Survive?|
|Sadly for some, no. Democracy is predicated not only on the touching notion that all human beings are created equal, but also on the more rigorous requirement for measurable differences between individuals of the species. Clearly, these latter distinctions are rapidly becoming academic. Once we are all inside each other's heads, what purpose could possibly be served by voting on alternatives? In contrast, some form of benevolent anarcho-corporate equal-opportunity media-mediated fascism would seem to better suit the future we are currently constructing. But this is stating the obvious, of course; thanks to astounding advances in telecommunications, this exciting evolutionary development is already nearing completion.|
|Will There Still Be Sports?|
|Sports is not something that comes and goes like the weather or a political system. N-dimensional Quantum Hyperreality Physics and Advanced Human Genome Research are converging to suggest that Sports may inhere in the very Fabric of the Universe. We do not yet fully understand how Blue-Eyed Left-Handed Charmed Quarks impart the propensity for unrelenting aggression to otherwise passive strands of DNA. What we do know with some certainty is that all male animals, to show their approval of any competitive accomplishment by another presumed Alpha Male, are known to make multiple short jabbing motions at the air, often accompanied by sharp staccato barks and ritual leaping behavior. So whatever changes and challenges may lie ahead, rest assured: Sports will always be with us.|
Some of you have asked whether I'm still at IBM. Absolutely. Of course, the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the organization as a whole. Just in case you wondered.
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Entropy Gradient Reversals CopyLeft Christopher Locke firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.rageboy.com
"reality leaves a lot to the imagination..." John Lennon
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