The Internet will fade into the background, says Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google. Yes, it will just vanish, like Amelia Earhart or state gay marriage bans or NBC’s "Bad Judge." Poof. Up in smoke.
Now there will be things I’ll miss, such as Florida Man, online banking and this. But there are other things that the Internet has perpetrated that we can simply do without. For instance: entire episodes of 'The Beverly Hillbillies." How do they help anybody? It’s like measles, all but eradicated but now all too easy to come in contact with. Two other things that exemplify the dystopic side of the World Wide Web are ISIS beheading videos and LinkedIn Pulse. I guess you could also mark me down as “strongly disagree” with child porn. (Adult porn requires a discussion, depending on degrees of exploitation and download speed.)
Another thing that threatens us all, just after global warming and One Direction, is the Top 10 list. These have taken over the Web, filling us with arbitrary, unscientific, superficial and altogether dubious collections of opinionated drivel. This practice not only substitutes cheap titillation for substance, it threatens the role of honest brokers of corroborated fact. None of that baloney for yours truly, of course. Herewith, therefore, I give you the Top 7 Things Nobody Will Miss When the Internet Disappears:
7) Throwback Thursday. I don’t care one bit what you are doing right now. So why the hell would I care about what you did before?
6) Comment sections. It is one of the annoyances of “democracy” that everybody is permitted to vote and speak uncensored about what is on their mind. This applies even to stupid people, political ideologues blinded by zeal, rhetorical cheaters who build arguments out of straw men and their own apparent clairvoyance about other peoples’ thoughts and motives, big fat liars and trolls who act out just to get a rise out of you. The beauty of this is that speech is the sacred life’s blood of a free society. The bad thing about it is it is currently unlawful to shut down IP addresses wholesale. Alternate plan: sterilization.
5) Anonymous. Here’s the thing about vigilante justice: it can be satisfying, such as in "Falling Down," "Walking Tall," "Righting Wrongs," "Fighting Back" and other gerund-based Hollywood films. But it sort of lacks accountability. I don’t think we should leave punishment in the hands of a bunch of maladjusted geeks we cannot even see -- and if we could see them, probably wouldn’t hire to manage the drive-thru window, much less Global Justice.
4) 4chan. Remember the good old days,when misfit teenagers just went out and made pipe bombs, or knocked down mailboxes with baseball bats or were rushed to the ER with alcohol poisoning or some other all-American rite of passage? Gosh. It’s like “Morning in America” just thinking about it. But now the same little pests have their very own Web site for creepy subcultures, criminal mischief, personal destruction of enemies and just random targets. If only there were e-juvey.
3) Identity theft. Look, you can tattoo yourself paisley. You can start affecting an interest in World Music. You can plaster your car with Memphis Grizzlies logos. But let’s get real: all you really are is your DNA, your default password and your Social Security number. And you are so distracted and gullible that someday you will give 2/3 of them to a guy named Dmitri who has managed to mock up a convincing looking PayPal “account update” and send it as an email. When the Internet goes away, nobody* will be able to take away your identity without swabbing the inside of your cheek.
2) Megaphones for Morons. Jenny McCarthy, as she explained to Oprah, enrolled in the “University of Google” to learn about vaccines and autism. Problem is, the University of Google sucks even worse than the University of Phoenix. It includes the ravings of McCarthy and other ill-informed alarmists, whose refusal to listen to data, reason and the facts about their discredited hero causes them to spread dangerous lies that are killing children. Let them put fliers up on the bulletin board at the supermarket, but get them out of my computing machine.
1) Auto-play ads. It is 3:30 a.m. You are checking your email, looking for West Coast sports results or visiting HotPodiatristAssistants.com. You open a page and an AD BEGINS BLARING SO FREAKIN’ LOUD the rest of the household jumps out of bed in panic. The individuals who designed, placed and published the ad should be taken directly to a CIA black site and subjected to enhanced sodomy techniques. And if that doesn't work…notify Anonymous.
* Except your wife.