School Type Thoughts #07: World Wide Web
Print media was still alive and thriving, and all sorts of random whoevers had their own paperback books out. It was the 80's equivalent to having a big flashy Geocities or Angelfire page that got a lot of hits, or more prestigious still, their own domain! Print media kept going strong well into the 90s. The comics printed back then were... really... quite a variety.
There were local zine cultures, but I never partook in them. As a dumb child, I was under the impression that highly produced things, were inherently better than rough, coarse things made by a single pair of human hands. How little I knew.
When we see something, we just blindly assume that it goes on indefinitely. Especially when we're born into the setting, where this thing has been chugging along smoothly and everything's going great. Something about the "Tethercat Principle", or the way your aunt goes "you were thiiiiis biiiig the last time I saw you!". They do that because, that's just how brains work. Brains are lazy and generally assume that when something's been going on long enough, it'll just go on indefinitely like an unstoppable force with momentum. Auntie's brain just blindly assumed that you were the same size as you were when you last saw her. She cognitively knows you've grown, but her brain is still surprised. "Tethercat Principle", is that your brain just lazily assumes that people are still doing whatever you last saw them do.
Children thought the TV had cool stuff on it, and thought GrandBoomer's shows were lame and crappy. Which they were. But Boomers, oh you know how they worship the almighty flickering television. People in the 90's were worried about children watching too much TV and computer screens, but no one cared that the Boomers were the worst-case scenario of being glued to a screen.
Children LOVED video games, because they uh. had pixels. That was really all the justification you needed. They swarmed over Oregon Trail (which I mainly found boring and ignored, didn't know why it was so popular. It had only a few cool details.). Also they made all-women parties, and the characters would randomly get knocked up. Hmmmm.
Again, sadly most of our attention and inspiration was on mass media from the store or cable TV. I can only wonder how sad this was back in the 80s, when marketing to children was at its peak. Oh speaking of, I was confused as to why R-rated movies had toys and phone hotlines aimed at 6 year olds. Like call Freddy Kreuger and hear a very slow story. There was a really weird amount of "call this number or hold up your phone to the TV boops, with your parent's permission, to hear a new story every day"... I wonder if there's a repository of those stories. Hey, this is ripe for creepypasta! Lost 90's Hotline Stories.
As for real lost media, those would be very local, 0-budget camcorder productions, and home printing publications. There was also a boom in home VHS, and there was all kinds of bizarre and outlandish things made for children. Most of those are definitely lost, in addition to things from local news stations. Most of the weird home VHS for children, were done in a stage theater style, not a modern, flat, greenscreen style. Like they videotaped a play/theater style performance. Some of the actors were even professional musical theater actors, who sang professionally and their ridiculous acid trip fursuits and makeup, were also professionally made... A budget went into those things, and now most of them are lost. Dang.
I should probably recall some stuff and make a page in here sometime. Guest content is much appreciated.
Anyway, the life cycle of consumer tech and internet, remind me of the life cycle of the average person. They come into the world, faced with adversaries, but they power on through with optimism and personal growth. Then something bad happens to them, and they suddenly change into a revolting, empty, husk being puppeted by some evil, money-obsessed vampires.
As children, we're oddly highly sensitive to certain things. Some children have an inexplicable fear of seemingly arbitrary things, that only appear in media and not IRL. Why would someone be afraid of some fantasy thing that doesn't exist, or some impossible scenario? Well, some people were terrified of strange little things anyhow. And later developed a deep fascination with them. Disturbing Media page (SFW). Examples would be from all decades, though. Some things always stay the same.
Another thing I gotta wonder, is infanthood trauma is a common thing among all decades. Remember that thing about how, when babies are born in nasty, cold hospitals, they enter into a harsh room with bright lights and harsh acoustics, then get held upside-down by a stranger and smacked, to make them "take their first breath"? Gee that sounds like MK Ultra. Sounds like they're deliberately fracturing a psyche, to make the victim desperately bond to some corporate thing, to replace their "identity". Not sure how it works, but you notice that most people identify themselves with brands. Titles of works published by corporations, manufactured bands in the industry, an aesthetic that merges all the corporate things they like. Whatever "personal identifiers" are trendy right now. That's always been a thing.
People are also naturally inclined to imitate others. People imitate the elites, and people copy their peers. That's where accents, dialects, and customs and traditions come from. P-zombies also don't have any real personal identity, and naturally they cobble one together out of stuff they bumped into. Because those things take up a MUCH larger percentage of the population than people would have you believe, they get their numbers and "popularity". Whole groups of p-zombies, getting together and being very popular and having their photos taken and articles written about them. Normal people are just going to blindly imitate that when they're at school. That's just how it is.
What was special about "Wild West" Internet, was because it was such a new thing, and people were very much accustomed to announcing their names, phone numbers, and street addresses all over the place, without a care in the world, people - with their full names, location, and photos posted, because they included that... These people made some pretty, uh... "Interesting" personal sites. Today, most people have been handed down the knowledge of cause and effect, over the years. Most internet users know better than to do things like that.
Even the most pervy, grungy, demented old weirdo, had a simple, childlike naivete and sense of wonder and innocence. Isn't that something to think about. Back then, we just blindly assumed that everything would go on the way it was, going up and up and improving in wonderful new ways. That print media would always be around, that there'd always be a dark blue sky without those weird white streaks that come out of suspiciously small airplanes, that the sun would always be yellow, that time would be lazily crawling along. That wonderful new games and sites and publications and home videos would be released cheap and easy. That you'd have all the time in the world, to hang out with your friends and work on fun projects.
Even before the beerblobhoax, people just didn't hang out like they used to.
P-zombies take the past of least resistance, and in Fake Money I get into the rise of internet shills as we have them today. So that explains a part of why there's so many of... those things... And they're glued to screens, just like the Boomers were.
Who makes the internet and online games a miserable experience? Idiotic 10yo shrieking about how they're "going to [REDACTED] your mother, you [REDACTED]". Asshole trolls and grieferbots that exist only to make everyone's experience worse. You've gone to school and work with IRL griefers, who stick around you purely to piss you off, because they literally have nothing "better" to do. Like take a toaster bath.
40 year olds, and older farts, will revert to astonishingly juvenile behavior OTI when mad about something petty, and completely drop any and all facade of being "mature" and "reasonable". No joke, there are 50 year olds on honeypot websites that will just resort to childish trolling and imitation. They never had puberty, it shows. They're p-zombies, they have no depth or integrity.
IRL has major limitations, and the Internet offered a really convenient new way to connect with people that live in other nations and know different things. ...However, a LOT of the real users of websites were outright baffos, who liked to harass normal people they detected. I still don't know how they sniff out reals, but they do.
You could learn about some person that exists IRL somewhere, and in a few hours, read what they wrote over the course of months. Also, isn't it unfair that it takes like 4x longer to make something, than the amount of time to read it or look at it? Prep time vs Consumption time.
Internet had various forums (remember those?), communities, archives, abandoned old "ghost" sites, chat (heavily monitored, even then) - everything you could want! And there were even!! actually!! a few real people!! Yeah, they used to make internet content! They used to have blogs and websites! Still, most users were baffos and shills and bots. But still. There were like, 5% real people users back then, and like idk, 75% baffos, and 20% shills and bots... Today, it's 99% shills and bots, no joke. That's how it is now. Empty Internet.
But I remember the real people I met OTI back then, and I still think about them sometimes, and wonder how they're doing. Maybe one of them is reading this. Blogs were a load of fun. They were clunky and bloated, and Web 2.0 or 3.0 or whatever it was, was becoming an annoyance. DeviantART became just plain intolerable, with its nonstop updates and features being taken away, and navigation made worse. With more background BS megabytes. There was always that aspect, and it never stopped growing exponentially.
I guess a lot of people spend a few hours making an "under construction" website, and just abandoned it, because really all they wanted was a contest over who could make the most garish, obnoxious site, and they didn't consider putting in anything of long-lasting interest. They might just list their favorite mainstream media things, dox themselves, and leave it at that. Forever.
So much lost potential, because people keep forgetting that they have options. The 90s was all about having options. There were a hundred little brands of 8bit game consoles and home computer type stuff, companies that produced those things, and now those are pretty much ALL lost to the sands of time, save for the industry giants that dominate the scene today. Pong machines, you could have a million different flavors of PONG. That too died down. When there's something new, like TV, you can access all sorts of weird public access channels. But over time, all those choices are revoked and forgotten. Only billion-dollar-budget industry products remain.
ARGs were always a thing... somehow. I never understood the point of them, or what exactly the main idea was. A bunch of teens playing pretend on the Internet? What's the prize? Never understood the point of ARGs. I guess people just want to manufacture something and have it be spooky scary, but that's not how things work. You can't "can" things like that. They have to happen on their own, without anyone's intent.