Lazy Guide to Net Culture: Gullibility
If you want to appear like you're at the cutting edge of net culture but can't be bothered to spend hours online, then never fear. Scotsman.com's pathetic team of geeks, freaks and gimps will do the hard work for you. While you sip wine, read a book or engage in normal social interaction, they will burn out their retinas staring at badly designed web pages and dodge creeps in chatrooms to prepare for you: Scotsman.com's lazy guide to net culture.
One of the ways I get through the daily pain of the working day - beset as I am by confederation of dunces heaping vituperation upon me from their mindless tongues - is to listen to my iPod (consumerist whore that I am). It helps me through the horror in the heart of farce.
Specifically I'm listening to Rage Against The Machine. Specifically Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name". Specifically the last 90 seconds of Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name". At full volume. (If you are not familiar with the oeuvre of this once-popular beat combo, shame on you, but you can find the lyrics here but, be warned, there are some "bad words" in there. Or rather one "bad word" over and over again.)
It may be adolescent nonsense and it may make my ears bleed but it salves my soul as I stare into the horror in the heart of farce.
This little ritual engenders me a similar feeling to the time I bumped into a fellow sell-out hack at a Billy Bragg concert and he simply said: "I didn't realise people thought like me any more."
Further proof that there are still people who think differently can be found courtesy of NewsTarget's gullibility test. It asks you a series of questions about your attitude to the world, big companies and the government and then rates you on your results.
If you're a trusting sort, who always believes what you're told by "them", this is the rating you'll get from the site:
You are a total mind slave, utterly controlled by corporate and government interests. Even though you think you are a free person living in a free society, all your beliefs, decisions and behaviors have been decided for you. You are easily to manipulate and represent the "ideal consumer" desired by Big Business and organized medicine. Government likes you, too, as you will always do what you are told and rarely question the reality constructed for you by authority figures.
If you were in The Matrix, you would definitely take the blue pill. In fact, you are much like all coppertops: you think you're living in the real world, but you're actually plugged in to a propaganda machine that shapes your reality for you.
Your architects: The architects of your world are marketing companies, the mainstream media, your peers and government propaganda. Had you been a German citizen in 1939, you would have made a loyal Nazi.
Of course, being a fully paid-up uber-cynical member of the pinko awkward squad, my personal score was somewhat different:
Welcome to the top 5%. You're a true free thinker and a person who is well informed about the reality in which you live. Although you may have been easily manipulated earlier in life, you eventually gained lucidity and developed a healthy sense of skepticism that you now automatically apply to your observations and experiences. You are endlessly curious about human behavior and the nature of the universe, and you have one or more lifestyle habits that most people would consider odd or unusual. You are not only of very high intelligence, you are also extremely creative in one or more areas (music, art, software development, inventing, etc.)
If you were in The Matrix, you would have taken the red pill, completed the combat training, and started fighting (and beating) agents from day one.
Your architects: You have cast off reality distortions taught to you by your parents, schooling, corporate advertising and government propaganda. You create your own beliefs based on what serves you best, without much regard for what the rest of the crowd is doing. You are guided by your own internal code of ethics (which may or may not agree with politically-correct ethical codes) rather than any pre-set system of ethics (such as from any one religion).
Sadly, the site does not elaborate on my "one or more lifestyle habits that most people would consider odd or unusual". This statement has me intrigued one one hand and, on the other, hunting through my house in case hidden webcams have caught me singing "Jerusalem" to a bust of Harold Wilson while wearing red, latex lederhausen (or latexhausen or whatever).
At this point, however, I'm going to put my leftie smugness to one side and focus my "healthy sense of skepticism" on some of NewsTargets assumptions.
For a start, I'm not sure that traditional herbalism really does have a cure for cancer. Someone would surely have mentioned that even if the "the US cancer industry simply doesn't want anyone to know cures exist because it profits from the management of cancer".
And while I agree that the US is not a particularly democratic democracy and it does not do things that I particularly like, it is actually a democracy.
You see, by creating my "own beliefs based on what serves you best, without much regard for what the rest of the crowd is doing", I have realised that NewsTarget has a teensy-weensy agenda and is playing the old "if you agree with us you're clever" joker.
One of the places in the world where they really insist that you agree with them is China, which is why its disappointing that Yahoo! gave information to the Chinese authorities that helped put a pesky journalist behind bars.
Perhaps Yahoo! should take the red pill.
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