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I feel so cosmopolitan all the sudden. July 30, 2009 4:40 AM   Subscribe

"The experience of moving online actually bears quite a few similarities to becoming a New Yorker. Disorienting and seemingly endless, the Internet conversation moves at lightning speed and according to unstated social rules that can bewilder outsiders. Also, like New Yorkers, residents of the Internet do not suffer fools, or mince words in belittling them, as anyone who has contributed a redundant post to Metafilter, or an earnest comment to Gawker, can attest." Bright Lights, Big Internet by Bill Wasik.
posted by ND¢ to MetaFilter-Related at 4:40 AM (109 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Oh I suppose I should say via.
posted by ND¢ at 4:44 AM on July 30, 2009


Bright lights big internet done gone to my baby's head
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:51 AM on July 30, 2009


Look at what the city internet has done to you!
posted by Askiba at 5:11 AM on July 30, 2009


Hey! I'm typing here! I'm typing here!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:15 AM on July 30, 2009 [11 favorites]


HEY, I'M BLOGGIN' HERE! I'M BLOGGIN' HERE! UP YOURS YOU SONOFABITCH, YOU DON'T TALK TO ME LIKE THAT!
posted by Jofus at 5:16 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn you, robobcop is bleeding. Damn you to hell.
posted by Jofus at 5:17 AM on July 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Mr. Wasik seems to imply that the democratization of fame and the loss of New York City taste makers as cultural gatekeepers has had negative consequences both on what becomes popular and on the impact celebrity has on those who find it without the assistance of those gatekeepers. I think this opinion runs counter to many on the internet who appear to believe that the more popular opinion is allowed to rule, the better it is for everyone.
posted by ND¢ at 5:32 AM on July 30, 2009


What to you is a big break is, to this increasingly sophisticated and fickle audience, just one forwarded e-mail message in a teeming inbox, to be refilled again tomorrow with a whole new slate of distractions.

1. It is amusing how much activity on Metafilter drops after U.S. work hours and on the weekends. That upside to this is that people actually have lives. Works is something that people do in between using the internet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:34 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


KRAMER: Jerry, this is the way society functions. Aren't you a part of society? Because if you don't want to be a part of society, Jerry, why don't you just get in your car and move to the East Side!
posted by WPW at 5:35 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


1. It is amusing how much activity on Metafilter drops after U.S. work hours and on the weekends.

If by "amusing" you mean "annoying or boring to the folks down under" then I'd say yes, you're correct.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:38 AM on July 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Agreed BB. I've said it before and I'll say it again. We live in a post-work society. We are all just sitting around on computers surfing the internet and pretending to work. Everyone does about three to ten hours of actual work a week because that is all society requires of us. The 40 hour work week makes as much sense in modern society as daylight savings time, schools getting out for summer vacation, and working nine to five.
posted by ND¢ at 5:45 AM on July 30, 2009 [15 favorites]


2. If you're going to make a list, then later change you mind, get rid of the numbers. It's important.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:46 AM on July 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


0. Good point.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:58 AM on July 30, 2009


yet another New Yorker telling themselves and other New Yorkers in the New York Times that living in New York is really the baseline experience for all experience

We live in a post-work society. We are all just sitting around on computers surfing the internet and pretending to work.

what do you mean "we", paleface? don't get me wrong - i'm a fan of the 4x4 plan originally dreamed up by the Wobblies - but not all of us currently have jobs where we sit around all day surfing the intarwebs - you might live in a post-work society (and hey, congratulations) but the rest of us don't enjoy that particular privilege yet

whoever dreamed up the phrase "the creative class" needs a good smack on the snout with a rolled up newspaper
posted by jammy at 6:04 AM on July 30, 2009 [11 favorites]


Damn you, robobcop is bleeding. Damn you to hell.

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:05 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm, after they've seen AskMe?
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:08 AM on July 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


jammy: yet another New Yorker telling themselves and other New Yorkers in the New York Times that living in New York is really the baseline experience for all experience

I've thought a bit about this. I think everyone agrees that no single way of living or place to live in can be considered a baseline for all humanity. However, wouldn't living in New York City be more normal than living in, say, Kansas, because NYC has more than 8 million inhabitants and Kansas has just under 3 million?

To the individual Kansan living in Kansas will be the baseline experience and the individual New Yorker has a baseline experience of living in New York. But I wonder if in the aggregate, by dint of having the larger chunk of humanity, living in New York City is more normal than living in Kansas. Of course, the inverse of that is that living in Kansas is more unique than living in New York City.
posted by Kattullus at 6:37 AM on July 30, 2009


-1. I don't know what we're talking about, but I enjoy making lists.
posted by DU at 6:46 AM on July 30, 2009


Of course, the inverse of that is that living in Kansas is more unique than living in New York City.

I have a hard time imagining someone in Kansas finishing a bowel movement, looking in the bowl proudly and saying with a chuckle "Only in Topeka!" before they flushed.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:56 AM on July 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


We are so close to a Metafilter reality TV show at this point I can taste it.
posted by The Straightener at 7:06 AM on July 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


However, wouldn't living in New York City be more normal than living in, say, Kansas, because NYC has more than 8 million inhabitants and Kansas has just under 3 million?

What's normal? To a person who's lived in and around urban areas, sure, but to those who've lived in small towns, hell no, New York is a dirty insane asylum.

Actually, it's probably like that to those used to big cities, but hey, at least you have huge cultural scene and you can order in cuisine from around the world.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:20 AM on July 30, 2009


at the end we'll all be exhausted and sick as the sun rises and we gaze at pictures of bread on an abandoned livejournal as we flick our email..."Wanna buy a ferret? Wanna buy a ferret? Wanna buy a ferret? Girls Girls Girls" ad nauseum...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:42 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


as anyone who has contributed a redundant post to Metafilter

None of the mods are from New York.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:44 AM on July 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey, hey, brother, come here a minute. You look hip man. Hey, you wanna make yourself five bucks man? Look here, run this across the street right quick.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:44 AM on July 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


whoever dreamed up the phrase "the creative class" needs a good smack on the snout with a rolled up newspaper

It was this guy and yes smacked repeatedly.
posted by octothorpe at 7:51 AM on July 30, 2009


"try to invent a play on words, and then Google it. You’ll be convinced that there is, in fact, “nothing new in the cloud”"

About two years ago I coined the term "kidquaintance" as in someone you only know because your kids play togther. Suck on that Bill Wasik.
posted by splatta at 7:57 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


We are so close to a Metafilter reality TV show at this point I can taste it.

"I'm not here to make contacts, y'know?"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:57 AM on July 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


So where can I get a decent bagel around here?
posted by Miko at 8:08 AM on July 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


None of the mods are from New York.

No but you're all e-from e-New York. You're so e-New York and you don't even e-know it!
posted by ND¢ at 8:09 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lady, I gotcher bagel right HERE. In my deli. Come in! Tell your friends!
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:12 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


That upside to this is that people actually have lives.

BB, speak for yourself! i know for a fact that i have no life whatsoever. i know there are many more like me; there just has to be.
posted by the aloha at 8:15 AM on July 30, 2009


How did you get that bagel to be so nice and golden brown?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:16 AM on July 30, 2009


I keep reading "e-New York " as eNork
posted by nola at 8:19 AM on July 30, 2009


Is this where I get to say I lived in Soho (W. Broadway & Prince) before all the chain stores moved in?

(Man, I miss the pulled pork from Tennessee Mountain BBQ)
posted by vacapinta at 8:21 AM on July 30, 2009


Miko: So where can I get a decent bagel around here?

From misreading dirtynumbangelboy.
posted by Kattullus at 8:21 AM on July 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


The internet is like an alien spaceship that has abducted all of us who by birth and heritage should be South Carolinians and Kansans and Michiganders and Arizonans and it has taken us all to e-New York City and so we are all e-New Yorkers wandering around our geographical "hometowns" and people are like "Why is that person who seems like some kind of virtual New Yorker living in Colorado?" and they secretly hate us because we don't speak their language or have their mannerisms. They hate us because we, despite being from the same physical place as them, are strangers in a strange land. It is because we are prisoners in a virtual metropolis which has become the true home to our true selves. Our bodies; however, remain trapped in flyover country where we can no longer be understood because we don't live there anymore. We live here.
posted by ND¢ at 8:23 AM on July 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sometimes, when I see someone at the top of the subway stairs standing & blocking the way down, I want to scream at them. Instead I flag it and move on. Metafilter makes me a better New Yorker.
posted by yeti at 8:29 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


π. Lists are enhanced by using weird numbers.
posted by Mister_A at 8:31 AM on July 30, 2009


For New Yorkers, everything is viewed in terms of New York—it's similarity or difference or relation to the city.

Normally, this is annoying. In this instance, the self-regard is apt.
posted by adamrice at 8:32 AM on July 30, 2009


Hey everybody, ND¢ is holding!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:34 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey white boy what you doing uptown?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:37 AM on July 30, 2009


Our bodies; however, remain trapped in flyover country where we can no longer be understood because we don't live there anymore.

ain't that the truth. (sigh).
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:39 AM on July 30, 2009


Quit acting all bridge-and-tunnel you schmucks.
posted by Mister_A at 8:41 AM on July 30, 2009


My Dinner With Andre: "I think that New York is the new model for the new concentration camp. But the camp has been built by the inmates themselves, and the inmates are the guards. They have this pride in this thing they built...they built their own prison, and so they exist in this state of schizophrenia where they're both guards and prisoners, and as a result they no longer have the capacity to leave the prison they've made or to even see it as a prison."

Now replace New York with the Internet and read it again. The same? Different?
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:45 AM on July 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oh shit I ended a Metafilter comment with rhetorical question. Here come the lulz...
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:49 AM on July 30, 2009


splatta: ""try to invent a play on words, and then Google it. You’ll be convinced that there is, in fact, “nothing new in the cloud”"

About two years ago I coined the term "kidquaintance" as in someone you only know because your kids play togther.
"

I've got "narcissizen," "the enlightened and calm acceptance of the suffering of everyone around you."
posted by mph at 8:51 AM on July 30, 2009


Mountain Dew or crab juice.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:51 AM on July 30, 2009


Man, I have a huge amount of lint in my navel, gross.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:59 AM on July 30, 2009


Escape From MeFi!
posted by barrett caulk at 9:00 AM on July 30, 2009


I feel so cosmopolitan all the sudden.

*shudder*
posted by Sys Rq at 9:05 AM on July 30, 2009


Mountain Dew and crab juice. On the rocks. With a quince twist, please.
posted by slogger at 9:08 AM on July 30, 2009


It's like a never ending coke party in the toilet stall.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:11 AM on July 30, 2009


I'd be curious to know if any of "MeFi's Own" launched successful professional careers thanks to advice given in AskMe, or feedback in Projects. After all these years, I would bet that the Metafilter community has been instrumental in helping quite a few businesses get started.

That would have been a better way to look at us than "MeFi is a harsh mistress," IMO
posted by zarq at 9:12 AM on July 30, 2009


New York's Metafilter's alright if you like saxophones pancakes.
posted by zinc saucier at 9:30 AM on July 30, 2009


I have a hard time imagining someone in Kansas finishing a bowel movement, looking in the bowl proudly and saying with a chuckle "Only in Topeka!" before they flushed.

It's the corn.
posted by gimonca at 9:51 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


it isn't very pretty what a net without pity will do
posted by pyramid termite at 9:59 AM on July 30, 2009


We are so close to a Metafilter reality TV show at this point I can taste it.

I can taste it too. It taste like burning.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:01 AM on July 30, 2009


The internet is like an alien spaceship that has abducted all of us who by birth and heritage should be South Carolinians and Kansans and Michiganders and Arizonans and it has taken us all to e-New York City and so we are all e-New Yorkers wandering around our geographical "hometowns" and people are like "Why is that person who seems like some kind of virtual New Yorker living in Colorado?"

Have you been reading Doctorow? (sp. Eastern Standard Tribe) I can't really recommend taking the time to actually read it, but this is the gist.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:27 AM on July 30, 2009


You read an essay in the Times by a Harper's editor while riding the subway home from the walkup in Hell's Kitchen where you fucked that performance artist you met at Limelight, after your friend Tad Allagash gave her a bunch of Bolivian Marching Powder.
posted by box at 10:28 AM on July 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


You are not the kind of person who would be on a website like this at this time of the morning and, though the details are fuzzy, you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:49 AM on July 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


What's funny is that I've always conceived of the web as an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. E-mail is a small mailbox here.
posted by Kattullus at 10:50 AM on July 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


So you're saying the web is the "Dangerous Loner Model Home" ?
posted by nola at 10:54 AM on July 30, 2009


You know, if cortex won't answer my question, I'll never be able to make that Millard reaction joke I've been sitting on.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:08 AM on July 30, 2009


fucking hipsters
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:09 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]




What's funny is that I've always conceived of the web as an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. E-mail is a small mailbox here.

>open mailbox
>get leaflet
>read leaflet
>block infocom spam
posted by juv3nal at 11:26 AM on July 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bartender, I'll have one of those Cosmopolitans. too.
posted by Cranberry at 11:38 AM on July 30, 2009


Our bodies; however, remain trapped in flyover country where we can no longer be understood because we don't live there anymore.

Speak for yourself. Me personally, I'm doing my best to bring grits, proper barbecue, pimento cheese, music you can dance to, jokes that take five minutes to tell and are actually funny and other great products of my world onto the internet. I'm driving down the dirt roads in the backwoods and finding the really great stuff so you can see it's not just bigots, bible-thumpers and ignorant yokels here. I'm hoping it will scare off those affected (sic) souls who will try and bring the whole of their homogenized world into my homeland. On the other hand, I hope the folks who still dare to venture here after hearing my tales will come not to change it, but because they want to love it as much as I do.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:38 AM on July 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


On any person who desires such prizes, the internet will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy. It is this largess that accounts for the presence within its walls of a considerable section of the population; for the residents of the internet are to a large extent strangers who have pulled up stakes somewhere and come to town, seeking sanctuary or fulfillment or some greater or lesser grail. The capacity to make such dubious gifts is a mysterious quality of the internet. It can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to the internet unless he is willing to be lucky.
posted by languagehat at 11:44 AM on July 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


We are so close to a Metafilter reality TV show at this point I can taste it.

We already had one, and its Wendy Pepper departed a few months ago, thankfully.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:53 AM on July 30, 2009


So what part of New York is MetaFilter? Please don't say Staten Island. Even more please don't say Williamsburg. I think we're Canarsie.
posted by Mister_A at 12:14 PM on July 30, 2009


Astoria? The people I know who live there are MetaFiltery types.

Though it's hard to decide if we can't use other sites as comparison. Google is clearly the Metropolitan Transit Authority. What's Facebook, for instance? Or Something Awful? Or Orkut?
posted by Kattullus at 12:21 PM on July 30, 2009


What part of New York? I'd say we're the part of New York that lives in not so small apartment in a cheap part of town (either way uptown, or in Brooklyn or Queens), works somewhere between Midtown and 14th Street, and parties in the parts of Manhattan that's easy to get to by subway from the aforementioned cheap parts of town, and in our friends apartments, which somehow are always all the way across the city in a different cheap part of town than ours. We go to bars in the East Village and the Lower East Side when our friends won't come to us, and we eat dinner on Ninth Avenue when we want something nice (but not too nice).
posted by ocherdraco at 12:22 PM on July 30, 2009


Something Awful is the kids in Union Square.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:23 PM on July 30, 2009


Metafilter: The Williamsburg of the New York that is the internet

(sorry Mister_A!)
posted by indiebass at 12:27 PM on July 30, 2009


New York? The Internet is more like Tokyo or Mexico City (urban areas more populated than NY, according to the UN) while São Paulo and Mumbai are getting close.

For me, MetaFilter is a non-typical suburb in L.A. (Pasadena or Santa Monica) that is still 'freeway-close' to the other web-burbs (Digg is Long Beach, BoingBoing is Burbank, Drudge is Orange County, Neatorama is one of the South Bay beaches) with Google as the LAX airport and WordPress as the Metro bus system. That's what happens when you live in various parts of L.A. for 40+ years. But I'm recovering...
posted by wendell at 12:38 PM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


My Dinner With Andre:

you know, that movie is filled with shit like that, and I still don't understand how anyone could possibly have thought a movie about having dinner with that guy would be a good idea. (the idea is, if you will, inconceivable.) I mean, there's this one point where Andre says (and I haven't seen the movie in ages, so I'm probably misquoting) something like "and it's then that you see the brilliance of the nazi movement" and Wallace Shawn just stares at him with this frozen smile that looks so awkwardly uncomfortable it's hysterical to see. I mean, don't get me wrong. Andre Gregory then goes on to explain what he means, and it's an innocent statement, but he just has that tendency to blurt out these almost-shocking "just so" statements to get your attention. I suppose he's supposed to sound deep and intellectual? I don't know.
posted by shmegegge at 12:43 PM on July 30, 2009


I have a hard time imagining someone in Kansas finishing a bowel movement, looking in the bowl proudly and saying with a chuckle "Only in Topeka!" before they flushed.
posted by Mayor Curley


Happens around 10AM every morning here in North Carolina!




What?! Why is everybody looking at me?
posted by marxchivist at 12:56 PM on July 30, 2009



splatta: "About two years ago I coined the term "kidquaintance" as in someone you only know because your kids play togther."

mph: I've got "narcissizen," "the enlightened and calm acceptance of the suffering of everyone around you."


My son coined "pubermeal," the meal-between-meals that kids crave (instead of sweets/snacks) after school and at night once they hit puberty. He began to understand people's reaction unfavorable reaction to the term over time, as the more visible signs of puberty appeared.
posted by headnsouth at 1:06 PM on July 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


My Dinner With Andre: "I think that Metafilter is the new model for the new concentration camp. But the camp has been built by the inmates themselves, and the inmates are the guards. They have this pride in this thing they built...they built their own prison, and so they exist in this state of schizophrenia where they're both guards and prisoners, and as a result they no longer have the capacity to leave the prison they've made or to even see it as a prison."

It totally works.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:08 PM on July 30, 2009


As a denizen of the flyover, I just cackle at seeing any portion of NYC referred to as a "cheap part of town."
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:29 PM on July 30, 2009


There are definitely cheap places in NYC
posted by kathrineg at 1:34 PM on July 30, 2009


  • I am perhaps overfond of bullet-point lists.
    • Nested bullet points, even.

posted by Pronoiac at 1:52 PM on July 30, 2009


4chan is Greenpoint. Everyone hates it and nobody wants to go there but everyone loves the wonderful art they make. Plus they both smell like BO.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:58 PM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


My son coined "pubermeal," the meal-between-meals that kids crave (instead of sweets/snacks) after school and at night once they hit puberty. He began to understand people's reaction unfavorable reaction to the term over time, as the more visible signs of puberty appeared.

Similarly, I refer to a lad who's at the developmental stage between childhood and adulthood as a "pübermensch".
posted by Greg Nog at 2:29 PM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter is Jersey City.
posted by swift at 2:40 PM on July 30, 2009


I have been to Jersey City. I have worked in Jersey City. You, MetaFilter, are no Jersey City.
posted by languagehat at 2:49 PM on July 30, 2009


I suppose he's supposed to sound deep and intellectual? I don't know.

He is, but I think he's more supposed to sound beanthinking/overintellectual. Shawn is basically trying to reign him in saying: you've gone too far, man, chill out and enjoy a cold cup of coffee that a cockroach hasn't died in overnight because if one had died in it overnight, that would suck.
posted by juv3nal at 2:59 PM on July 30, 2009


I live in Jersey City.

Metafilter is Jersey City.

If only!
posted by stagewhisper at 3:11 PM on July 30, 2009


Also in the NYTimes. I wasn't sure whether to make this its own MeTa but MeFi user paladin (from the old days) was profiled in the City Room blog today. Why? Because his name is John Doe.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:00 PM on July 30, 2009


Someone's parents were comedians.
posted by subbes at 4:26 PM on July 30, 2009


Go back to Suck.com, you bum!
posted by deliquescent at 4:28 PM on July 30, 2009


I make dough, but don't call me Doughboy.
posted by box at 4:29 PM on July 30, 2009


None of the mods are from New York.

Just like most New Yorkers.
posted by qvantamon at 5:23 PM on July 30, 2009


Also, on New York, as on the Internet, you can't really get around in a big truck, but instead, you have to use a series of tubes.
posted by qvantamon at 5:27 PM on July 30, 2009


You should post that story, jessamyn, it's fascinating and paladin is still active.
posted by Kattullus at 5:40 PM on July 30, 2009


(I've been hearing a lot about Wasik's new book, and it sounds fantastic, btw.)
posted by grobstein at 5:55 PM on July 30, 2009


We already had one, and its Wendy Pepper departed a few months ago, thankfully.

Man, I went for like a year without thinking about Wendy Pepper, and you ruined it. Thanks a lot.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 6:14 PM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


What about Brian Peppers? Have you thought about him lately?
posted by item at 6:39 PM on July 30, 2009


Goddamnit.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 6:41 PM on July 30, 2009


Ummm Sgt. Pepper's?
posted by Mister_A at 6:52 PM on July 30, 2009


Pepper steak?
posted by box at 7:40 PM on July 30, 2009


Wouldn't you like to be a pepper, too?
posted by shmegegge at 7:58 PM on July 30, 2009


I like Mr. Pibb. It goes down good.
posted by box at 8:31 PM on July 30, 2009


Shoop shoop ba-doop
Shoop ba-doop
Shoop ba-doop ba-doop ba-doop
Shoop shoop ba-doop
Shoop ba-doop
Shoop ba-doop ba-doop ba-doop

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:40 PM on July 30, 2009


What about Brian Peppers? Have you thought about him lately?

As soon as Blazecock mentioned Wendy Peppers, Brian's handsome little face was the first thing that popped onto my head.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:10 PM on July 30, 2009


Hey white boy what you doing uptown?

Paying 3000 dollars a month for an apartment that working class black people used to live in back when the neighborhood was *undesirable*. Duh.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:18 AM on July 31, 2009


Mr. Pibb sucks. Dude didn't even stay in school to get his degree.

/Mitch Hedberg
posted by bardic at 2:57 AM on July 31, 2009


What's that smell? It's time to analyze a plate of beans! A few months ago I wrote a sloppy term paper about how learning to use the internet is like learning to live in a city, arguing that revisiting the works of Benjamin, de Certeau, Simmel, Kracauer, and friends can help us understand what it means to live online, blah blah blah.

Then I found this paper, which did it better: From Flâneur to Web Surfer: Videoblogging, Photo Sharing and Walter Benjamin @ the Web 2.0. It's long, but it might be worth skimming if you enjoy academic analysis of this kind of comparison. Quotes:
even though the flâneur moves around “in an uncoordinated, fleeting way” due to “the fragmentation of modern life”, he can still “redeem it through his ability to aesthetically link otherwise disparate phenomena”...

Lefebvre’s theory on The Production of Space is...fitting in many respects when it comes to the ways in which web interactants, as well as commercial actors, employ a number of social strategies to render the rooms of cyberspace as physical realities...

Sites such as YouTube and flickr are in fact good examples of the temporal and spatial dissolution discussed by a number of postmodern writers...Benjamin addressed similar themes and issues when he analysed nineteenth century Paris as a composite of a thousand eyes and a thousand lenses, all of which acted as screens, reflecting subjects back to themselves as objects.

it is “almost impossible to summon and maintain good moral character in a thickly massed population where each individual, unbeknownst to all the others, hides in the crowd, so to speak, and blushes before the eyes of no one”...
More pieces with similar comparisons: Wikipedia: Exploring Fact City (NY Times), World-viewing city walking (iMomus), My own private metropolis (Jonathan Raban), A quote from Stephen Fry, Is it possible to get lost on the internet? (Ask Metafilter), The Internet as a City: Thoughts on the Connected Brain (Digital Natives blog), Steven Johnson on the Web as a city (TED), etc.
posted by dreamyshade at 3:41 AM on July 31, 2009 [21 favorites]


If this is New York, where's our Naked Cowboy?
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 10:36 AM on July 31, 2009


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