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February 26, 2016

Sic Nostra Cultura Moritur

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

We thrive in an era of contentment, where being a passive observer, and consuming free stuff is as high as we need to raise the bar. It’s kind of depressing and technology — specifically the Internet — is to blame.

I enjoy reading 9gag. It’s funny! My thought, however, is that those people should be paid for producing that content. Instead, the website itself generates revenue from advertising sales for people who don’t provide the content.

Before the Internet, such a collection of funny images and such would garner a price: A printed 9gag magazine would have a cover price or annual subscription fee. Advertising revenue would be generated, but the key difference is that content providers would be paid. Now they’re not.

The lack of payment for their efforts doesn’t seem to deter 9gag’s contributors. Every day, a new roll of stuff appears, ready to be consumed. I’m guessing that idnividuals generate this stuff at some point, though most of the material is copied from other sources. Apparently, wearing the badge of Internet fame is far more important to those people than making money.

Thus endeth the culture.

Not only are content providers training themselves to do work without compensation, but legions of users are training themselves to expect such information at no cost. Sure, you get exposed to some advertisements — or not, depending on whether or not you use an ad blocker. Still, I find the entire system grossly disappointing. It’s a negative reflection on a culture that doesn’t place value on quality material.

Not everything on 9gag, or on the entire Internet, is really worthy of payment, of course. A lot of the material is regurgitated crap. Beyond the amusement web pages, try looking up references to programming code or checking online documentation. Even news articles are frequently published sans editing, proofing, or even a good read-through by the author. Spelling mistakes, grammar gaffs, improper verb agreement, and other amateurish writing blunders litter the online reading landscape. Worse: Such low grade material is considered acceptable.

I know I’m guilty of this sin: I proof my own stuff, but I don’t pay an editor. Then again, this information is being offered free as a supplement to my books — books you can steal and not pay for, all thanks to the Internet and Free Stuff culture.

The end result of this is that, naturally, mankind gets lots of free diversion. Free videos. Free comics. Free porn. No one needs to pay for visual entertainment. Yet the cost of that luxury is a demotion of quality, something that the consumer is apparently willing to lower their standards and expect.

For the material that’s worthy, well, people don’t want to pay for it, either. Movies, books, TV shows, are frequently purloined and placed on pirate sites. A whole generation of kids don’t think anything of stealing the media, either; they feel entitled to it.

My solution is simple: Unplug the Internet. Restrict its access. Throttle its speed. Have the major players pay for it. That way you can still subscribe to your Netflix and iTunes and Hulu. Beyond that, kill it. Kill it all before the bar gets so low no one ever bothers to create anything new and useful ever again.

On the horizon: Virtual Reality. That will mark the dawn of the era where no one leaves their house. Ever.

2 Comments

  1. Depressing, very depressing, but I can see what you mean.

    Comment by glennp — February 26, 2016 @ 5:14 pm

  2. Then again, I might just be getting old and grouchy.

    Comment by admin — February 26, 2016 @ 5:14 pm

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