First off, let me just say that I was originally intent on writing an article entitled: “10 Reasons why Cosmo Landesman is the Greatest Film Critic Going.” However, I soon remembered that The Times no longer offer online content free of charge, leaving me unable to quote this most able of film critic’s hilariously vitriolic rants. So THANK YOU RUPERT MURDOCH!!!
Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system.
Anyhow, last week I wrote about fantasy football addiction. This week, I’m writing about internet addiction. I have consequently left myself open to the criticism that I am addicted to addiction. Hence, this piece shall now be called: “10 Signs of Internet Addiction.” The blog is vaguely relevant for a change, given that a splendid-sounding new book is on the brink of being released, entitled: “The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember” (by Nicholas Carr). The signs in question are as follows:
- Compulsively checking e-mails. E.g. Oh my God, I haven’t checked my emails in like, 5 minutes. Maybe Martin Scorsese has finally gotten back to me about that script I sent him. Maybe the UCD hierarchy have unleashed their latest metaphor for watching paint dry. Maybe that Poker site I’ve relentlessly told to stop spamming me has actually stopped spamming me.
- Gchatting ad nauseaum. “So, how was your day?” “It was good. How was yours?” “It was also good.” “What’s your favourite colour?” “Red.” “Really? Mine’s orange.” This type of correspondence I find strangely compelling. I guess it’s just subconscious preparation for the black hole of eternal nothingness that awaits me in the next life.
- Spending too much time on Facebook. Wow, my hair appears slightly messier in that picture than it was in last one. Oh my God, that guy I was briefly introduced to last night and will definitely never see again wants to be friends with me. I feel so validated. Ooh look, another link to another blog in which I can waste another five minutes of my life reading.
- Staying up until midnight so you can check out the next day’s football transfer gossip on the BBC Sport website. Okay, maybe that’s just me.
- Watching YouTube videos when you really should be working. Admittedly I’ve already taken several breaks to look at YouTube while writing this very blog. I can’t help it; obscure hip hop videos, classic David Lettermen shows and random Margaret Thatcher speeches are just too damn addictive.
- Accidentally writing essays in internet speak/Twitter update style. Lol cant wait 2 c wot King Lear does next. Goneril and Reagan r such bitches. I luv Cordelia tho wot a hottie.
- Failing to get away from it all. Going on holiday to escape the stresses of work/a failing relationship only to find yourself constantly Skype-ing your work colleague/loved one, spending an excessive amount of time explaining how to work the photocopier, or clarifying that when you said you had a crush on Zooey Deschanel, you only meant it in a kind of ha-ha, sardonic, something-to-talk-about-at-lunch kind of way.
- Chronic Laziness. Waking up with an irresistible urge to spend the entire day doing nothing other than watching online poker, eating gone-off spaghetti hoops and drinking tea as if it were a nervous habit.
- Chronic Dementia. Suffering a nervous breakdown/being unable to function in the most basic ways imaginable/weeping uncontrollably whenever you’re internet connection is down. You just lose your whole goddamn raison d’être.
- Being unable to concentrate on anything for more than two seconds. Before the internet, people thought television was dumbing us down. Now, Fair City seems indistinguishable from an Ingmar Bergman drama. The ability to read a book from cover to cover will soon be sole requirement for graduating from Harvard. And attempting to converse with someone for longer than a minute will lead to you being regarded as freakish and utterly lacking in social intelligence.
The internet is vile. However, all resistance is futile, as any attempts at concerted rebellion will be relentlessly disrupted by one of the numerous distractions pervading the net (as Sandra Bullock likes to call it). And as Oscar Wilde once proclaimed (according to Metropolis): “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” Or “fuck it,” as that other personal hero of mine, The Dude, was liable to say – the internet is here to stay and idiosyncratic personal behaviour is just one of the many unavoidable consequences.
* Pitchfork (i.e. the only music site I can be bothered reading) recently produced a list of their 50 greatest music videos of the 1990s. Here is my own favourite video of that decade:
It finished a highly creditable 8th in the aforementioned list.