The Nine Layers of Internet Hell

July 31, 2007 at 2:00 am | Posted in annoyances | 3 Comments

I think I have reached the point of no return. While J and I were having a lovely Irish brunch at Kildare’s in West Chester yesterday I was relaying a story to some friends and at the end of the story, I turned to Jeremy and said “Remind me that I want to blog about that later!” And now I completely forget what it was I wanted to write about so badly. This not only means that my memory can be nearly completely erased by two Irish Coffees and a plate full of bangers, rashers, and black & white pudding – this also means that I am thinking about blogging and assuming that every asinine thing that happens to me will be interesting to someone else.

I have a love/hate relationship with everything Internet related. For the record, I have a hate/hate relationship with the term “cyberspace” or anything with the cyber prefix. This includes, but is not limited to: cybersex, cybersleuth, and cyberpunk. The whole e-as-a-prefix thing is getting out of control as well, but for some reason it doesn’t push my buttons the way that cyber does. Still, it’s not just annoying buzz phrases that makes the Internet my fair weather friend.

The thing that gets me about the Internet is that it’s essentially broken down every barrier ever known to hinder human communication, and yet it has simultaneously made us less human than we’ve ever been before. The Internet the ultimate form of free speech, and like anything left open to man and our devices free speech can mean anything from eighteen year old drag queens singing songs about their asses on YouTube to eighty year old bigots posting about God’s unwavering dislike for anyone that’s not a straight, Republican, Christian, and white. Yes, that’s what we like about the Internet, but don’t tell me it’s not just a little annoying that there are entire television programs dedicated to crazy video clips and Internet “celebrities.”

The Internet and all it’s little glories have replaced or are in the process of replacing a lot of things in our world. Encyclopedias. Newspaper dating classified ads. Written letters. For some people it’s replaced the morning newspaper. For me, it’s replaced buying CDs – although I still do indulge my vinyl record collection from time to time. I never have, and probably never will, visit a travel agency. I’ll just Google all the information I need to research my vacations and then book my tickets and hotels on-line. If I really stop to think about it, I am pretty amazed by the sheer amount of information I have access to. If I see a movie and want to know where it was filmed or what other movie I’ve seen the actor in, I just call up IMDB and voila! If J and I are having a conversation about Djibouti, and I swear they speak French there and he is equally positive it was a Portuguese colony, I just look it up and prove that the female of the species is exponentially more intelligent than the male. I like that aspect of the Internet. I like the knowledge and the learning and I like the fact that if I was more disciplined and had more time I could, theoretically, learn how to build a shed and/or speak Esperanto.

The part that I don’t like about the Internet is the pointless shit. This is all relative, naturally. Our tastes are all different, and I can’t pretend my opinions are the right ones. Sike, yes I can. This is my blog, I can claim whatever I want! So, according to me, here are the Nine Layers of Internet hell.

Layer 1: Zwinky. I just don’t get it. Why would someone waste their energy on making a funky looking version of themselves that in actuality is just a Spy-ware program that gets installed on your hard-drive and makes your computer crash from pop-up ads? Oh, right. They’re advertised on Myspace, that’s why!

Layer 2: Goatse. I am not posting a link to this one, because if you don’t know what it is, it’s probably because no jerk has ever sent it to you in a email at work thinking that it was hilarious. Consider yourself lucky.

Layer 3: Annoying advertisements. No, not even the pop-up ads, although they do get really irritating. I’m talking about ads for movies or TV shows on certain major websites that are loud, animated, and usually take up half the page you’re trying to read. The X button to close that fucker is usually creatively hidden or possibly invisible, making it difficult not to watch it until it’s finished and you can navigate around it to look and whatever you actually came to look at in the first place.

Layer 4: Creeps.  I don’t have to say much about this, creeps are everywhere. They’re on Myspace, Facebook, and Friendster. They’re on YouTube. They’re lurking in every chat room you can imagine. And they probably want to have sex with you, or at least send you a picture of their wiener. UNACCEPTABLE. And, really, unregulated. For every perv that Dateline catches trying to hook up with a 13-year-old there are 50 more out there who will never get caught.

Layer 5: Bye, bye, privacy! I know we’ve all got a little bit of virtual sleuth in us – hell, I’m pretty much the Nancy Drew of Google – but there really is a Big Brother type of feeling about the access we have into each others lives. Sure, Google is fun if you’re trying to dig up dirt on your new guy’s ex girlfriend, or discover if your former best friend turned arch enemy is knocked up, barefoot, and living in a trailer. But it’s got a dark side, people. It’s bad enough that we put so much of our own info out there, but what about when other people do it to us? I’m not just talking about embarrassing poetry you wrote when you were 16 that is now available to the world via Google search. But, did you happen to get a little snatered at your neighbor’s Halloween party and decide that you were a fantastic singer and Total Eclipse of the Heart was TOTALLY YOUR FAVORITE SONG EVER? Prospective dates, employers, and even your sweet and innocent mother could know all about it if your neighbor decides that video of this ill-fated event belongs on his blog. Not that this has ever happened to me or anything. Moving on.

Layer 6: Rate My etc. Are you kidding me? No, seriously, are you KIDDING me? There are two types of people who post on these sites. The first groups is ridiculously in love with themselves and want validation from an adoring public and/or a spread in Hustler. The other group is insecure and looking for someone – anyone!- to love them but instead find that the internet is just another way to be rejected by the opposite sex. These sites are breeding entire generations of people who think that self worth can be measured on a scale of 1-10. I also hate when people post pictures of themselves on these sites and add a little disclaimer that the picture isn’t really a good one of themselves. That is nearly always a lie. If it was a bad picture, you wouldn’t have posted it on a website where people rate your face/hair/boobies. You do think that’s a good picture, you’re just setting yourself up for the possibility that other people don’t think so.

Layer 7: Internet scams. Okay, let me break it down for everyone really quick. Your long lost uncle did not die in a plane crash in Nigeria. In fact, you don’t even have a long lost uncle. There is no inheritance, and no lawyer that needs your bank account number to wire the money to you, and there is no $2000 Nigerian inheritance tax you need to pay. And while we’re on the subject, you did not win the Canadian lottery, no one is going to pay you $40/hr to “work from home,” you have NOT won an iPhone, and little Timmy in Davenport will NOT get one hour of dialysis if you forward a prayer chain to everyone you know. Okay?

Layer 8: Internet Celebrities. LonelyGirl15, that Numa Numa kid, that video resume toolbag. Whether their internet based noteriety is accidental or calculated, I am pretty tired of all of them and their douchebaggery. Except for Dramatic Chipmunk, who is actually a prarie dog or something, and kind of endearing.

Layer 9 : The De-evolution of the English language. I do not have the best grammar in the world. I can’t even really spell and rely on spell-check to get me through each day much in the same way that some people rely on the perfect combination of Xanax and Jose Cuervo. Still, one thing I will never, ever be down with is Internet slang. Yes, I’m talking about the often vowel-less abbreviated Internet shorthand that sucks all dignity out of any conversation it’s used in. LOL, TTFN, ROFLMAO, TTYL, PWND, 2, n00b, pr0n, OMFG, or 99% of this shit. URGENT MEMO TO ALL INTERNET USERS AGES 12-17:  it really is worth the extra fraction of a second it will take you to type out the entire word in its proper form!

So there you have it. Although this is my Eight Things I Hate About You, Internet post it’s really not the fault of the Internet. Our computers are only third parties in the downfall of our civilization as we know it. If we were all a bunch of civil, rational people, 50% of the Internet wouldn’t exist in the first place. Maybe we need to examine why we need or want any of these things to begin with. The worst the web has to offer is really a reflection of the worst of what we as a society have to offer. Pedophiles aren’t sickos just because they pay $29.99 a month for Internet access. Teenage boys don’t videotape themselves setting each others hair on fire just because they got a new Mac for Christmas. Some dude citting in a cyber cafe in Zimbabwe is still going to try and scam you even if he has to do it through good old fashioned stamp and envelope mail. This is who we are, and as sad and wonderful as that makes me feel, I don’t think we’re going to go a-changin’ for no one.



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  1. I think you’re just upset that I gave your chest a “4” on

    And, they do speak Portugese in Djbouti, don’t they?

  2. That’s weird, I scored you much lower on

  3. Hmmmm…. I was gonna leave a response but I think I’ll just leave. There seems to be a fight-a-brewing.

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