I was reading the comments on a story about Honeywell’s new automated app-enabled thermostat, and -
Whoa there, hold on a minute you say. You can’t just pitch us headlong into that exciting anecdote without some backstory.
Oh but I will. I was keen to see how quickly the comments would devolve, and as usual, the answer was “instantaneously.” The fascinating part was seeing people get into a platform war about thermostats. The only sensible response to the story was “interesting development; let’s see how it plays out when it’s released.” But no. Nest vs. Honeywell, Samsung vs. Apple, anti-Honeywell because they’re patent trolls so no one buy it, anti-Nest because Google owns it and will use your data. These are ancillary issues, and matter little to the item under discussion, which is a thermostat, but everything on the internet has to be an argument.
At least the tech arguments have some data, some facts, a certain nerdy rigor. Elsewhere - say, a Gawker site about San Francisco development I discussed on the work blog - it was the usual raw gush. Smart and snarky and oh-snap! and lots of “here, let me pour my entire worldview into a story about a vacant lot that now has a structure on it.”
There are the trogs, who write sub-literate nonsense, and they’re easily spotted and discounted. But it’s the educated sort who are unbearable. They cannot argue. They can only hector and harangue and bludgeon the unenlightened; they have no desire to change minds, just to bash in the skulls around them. A good polemic is a thing of beauty, but to use the medium of the Comments Section is like mistaking the group of smokers outside the classroom for the lecture going on inside. All the smelly little orthodoxies, all the jargon to signal the fellow-travelers and consign the heretics to the ring of hell where the unbelievers writhe. They’d better writhe. Nothing is more irritating than considering that the oppressors or unbelievers are content and don’t care that you know how wrong they are.
Around the 40th comment slamming the thermostat for not having a swappable upgrade module to anticipate Wifi standards upgrades I thought, the perfect isn’t the enemy of the good, it’s the enemy of the happy.
A gorgeous day, a perfect day. June, with a few exceptions, is paying off all the debts winter racked up.
Consequently my brain is a well-browned banana, and uninterested in most things, including the correct use of disinterested. I’ve been using it to mean “not interested,” when of course “not interested” would suffice, but there’s always a nagging feeling that I’m using it discorrectly, if you know what I mean. It’s like “bemused.” It’s not what you think. It will be; in a few years, people will say “it begs the question: why was he so bemused by the joke?” and it’ll mean what people want it to mean. Which is: it raises the question, why did he laugh?
It makes you wonder how many words change meaning because enough people get them wrong.
Anyway, disinterested means “not influenced by considerations of personal advantage.” For now, anyway.
Not to say there aren’t issues of the day. Every day has issues. They wash over you in a stream of tweets like army ants en route to bite someone else. Like thermostat defenders. I hit a lot of links from Twitter - I’d say ten times more than the links in blogs. When you see a link in a blog nowadays it means “here’s what I just paraphrased, with more evidence” or possibly “here’s an ironic rejoinder to the point I just made, which seems to undercut it but actually proves my observation.” The link was evidence implied.
But the link is dead.
No, let me put that in modern terms: YOU’RE LINKING IT WRONG: WHY HYPERTEXT FAILED US ALL
Sort of. That would be #2 in a series, the first being SO BLOGS ARE LIKE THAT GUY IN ‘BLUE VELVET’ WHO WAS DEAD BUT STILL STANDING SOMEHOW
No, too long. Something that has more haughty authority: YOU SHOULDN’T CARE THAT BLOGS ARE DEAD
Something like that. Modern headlines have to stake out authority, but with a prissy snippy way, because everything that is over must be judged in the same tone you would use to describe the tie of a politician you don’t like because reasons. As they say. Bitchy, bossy headlines make sure you come to the story wanting to knock the chip off the writer’s shoulder, or at least blow the froth off his coffee drink which would be a real causus belli. Wait, is that a shoe designer? Or that new place that serves spaghetti but lays out twenty strands on a plate and just drizzles the sauce over? Anyway blogs, the personal one you wrote that no one read and you gave up on after a few months, are dead dead dead because it’s all about
The Endless Scrolls of Drivel, like BuzzFeed, which believes that the occasional serious and well-written piece will undo the accumulated inanity of 37 posts about 14 times Anne Hathaway’s Eyebrows Totally Changed the Life of This Hedgehog’s Left Testicle
The Upworthy assemblages of viral stories no one reads but shovels into their Facebook feed like Titanic boiler-stokers
The group-blog sites like BoingBoing that coalesce around a particular sensibility
Tumblr, which spares you the work of writing how you feel and lets you reblog an inspirational quote handwritten over feet on a beach
Twitter, which actually cuts right down to the bone, with a cryptic remark before an URL. When you click you step outside of Twitter, but you still have one foot in the stream. It’s the most ruthlessly efficient information presentation format of them all, and it relies on the Big Established Primary Sources in old and new media.
A nailgun to the brainpan of the blog, really.
So why do I do this? It’s not a blog. It never was. Whatever personal websites were, this was. I don’t link enough to be a blog, really. This is a self-contained daily product that gives you some stuff at the top, a programmed feature under the ad, then tosses you off to a site update. I think of each week as an Issue of an ongoing magazine, in a way.
Anyway: summer. Perfect so far. Daughter went off this afternoon on her bike to hang with besties, a new development compared to previous years. Before it would have been: arrange, drive, deposit, pick up. Now it’s wave-farewell and out the door. The rope in your hands starts to play out faster.
It’ll burn if you don’t loosen your grip.
PUPDATE: dog has a cold. Or some sort of upper-respiratory condition. Or Kennel Cough. We’ll see. He had a big green wad of gunk coming out of his nose this morning.
How do any pups survive?
Daughter is taking him to the vet, which is one of those Responsibility things you’re happy to see them shoulder. Just had to go over the script, what to tell the vet.
So he had yellow stuff
I thought it was yellow.
It was green. Not that he’d know. To him it was breakfast.
We now think he’s a Treeing Cur, which is a unique sort of dog from Tennessee; he certainly resembles the pictures of the pups, and they’re brindle-coated. They’re named for their ability to drive prey up trees, providing the prey is inclined to do so by natural endowment. Don’t see many rabbits going up trees.
At the vet:
What, not enough postage?
Gail gets the recap this week:
How did she escape the fiery explosion? She walked out of the shed before it blew up. They left that part out. Once again, we have been deceived by editing; it’s enough to make you doubt the next cliffhanger.
As it turns out, Captain District America did not kill Matson when he threw him six stories, but he’s been gravely wounded. Authorities hope he will regain consciousness so he can finger the Scarab, aka Maldor. You’d think this would cause long faces down at the Evil Museum, but Maldor, idiot that he is, has no worries. The conversation switches to how they’re replace the invaluable Matson once he kicks, and Maldor has a brilliant plan. You may recall that last week, a scientist invented immortality? Right. And Maldor stole the machine? Right. So he’ll use it to reanimate Matson.
Remember, this started out as the Purple Death, killing explorers and stealing high-tech weapons, then got sidetracked into another machine that used a heat ray, then became about finding out something about a blow-dart gun, and then they tried to kill Captain America because a dead henchman had a key for a watchman’s shack at the quarry, and now we’re reanimating dead employees. FOCUS, SCARAB. FOCUS.
Well, Matson croaks, and the Scarab makes a move to steal the body. Here’s the reanimating machine:
But hey, we get to see the Secret Control Room the Scarab maintains for no apparent reason:
See, the reanimator device needs one meeeeelion volts, and Malororo just happens to have a device in the lab that will generate one meeeeelion volts.
Highest possible quality workmanship:
Matson awakes from the dead, only to discover he’s Stanley Tucci:
Maldor sends this guy, who was dead, and woke up 30 seconds ago, down to the alley to bring the car around. Here, take the fire escape.
The only question is whether he will shoot the scientist he kidnapped for the experiment. You know, the only man on earth who has proven he knows the secret to conquering death:
The fistfight goes on forever; Maldor escapes; Cap makes the mistake of taking the fisticuffs to the meeeelion volt generator. And so:
You know it’s not Cap because he wouldn’t scream like a little girl.
What, it turns into a driver-safety documentary?
See you around here and there. This is just the start of the day's work, you know. (Hint: buttons.) Oh, and four motels! I've divided up most of the stuff, and it looks like it'll go through the end of October.