Years ago, America Online flooded everyone’s mailboxes (real ones, not “inboxes”) with floppy diskettes and CDs promising easy access to Teh Intarwebz. Millions bought in, signed up, and logged on. Of those, tens or hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, were idiots, children, or idiot children.
Human discourse has not been the same since.
Everyone likes to talk about democracy, freedom of expression, and equality in fluffy abstract terms, but a recent stroll through Apple’s App Store for the iPhone and iTouchMyselfPod was a more concrete exploration of what these terms really mean.
Simply put, the democratizing influence of convincing every mouth-breather that their American Life would be best spent on America Online has led to them believing that they should, nay, must make their every opinion known to all their peers surfing the tubes.
I’ve plucked a pair of App Store product reviews from the luminiferous aether to illustrate my point.
Let’s start with a review of the AS3 API Reference app. Quoth Tjenicek in his/her/its 1-Star review:
Idk what to do or how to use it.
You may think I’m being harsh. You may even be right about that.
Perhaps Tjenicek is in the middle of some sort of performance-art piece that requires him/her/it to download and review every App Store application in alphabetical order, and the sheer number has caused him/her/it to run out of ideas by the late As. Perhaps after thoughtfully reviewing the Ask Your Mom app, this was all that was left in the tank.
Whether you discount that one, wait ’til you see the next review.
For the puzzle game Blocked, Kj fauve wrote in his/her/its 1-Star review:
This is a really nice game me and my dad always play this on our spare time. My real name is Kyle but I changes it to kj because I thought it would be real cool to do it so yeah thanks for your time I hope u enjoy reading about me And yeah I’m gay
Words fail me, just as punctuation and coherent trains of thought escaped the reviewer. We’ll just note the 1-Star (out of 5) score on what appears to be a positive review and move on to the summary.
So AOL gets everyone on the internet by lowering the barrier to entry from “Install correct Winsock version, Configure PPP and TCP/IP settings, Configure Dialer, …” to “Stick This Thing in the Hole on your Confusion Box and Click until you see Porn and Spam.” A Zero-Knowledge-Needed access plan got people with zero knowledge to participate.
This is perfect egalitarian democracy, and the fucktards are ruining it.
Thanks for that, AOL.