Author Emma Woods has released her review of Post-Modem, and it’s decidedly positive.
In my book, Post-Modem: The Interwebs Explained, I discuss many of my favorite Internet Future Theories, including building colonies on Internet. One noticeably absent subject, however, is how we will refer to Interwebs, Internets and Webules in the future. This might seem trivial, but imagine those who said the same thing in the early part of the 20th century.
“How silly! Who cares how we might refer to bandages in this imaginary future. Whether we refer to them as finger stick ’ems, handages or Band-Aids, the blood will cease!”
How silly, indeed. Is what I would say to this hypothetical person. It might seem harsh to use their own words against them, but again, ignorance of the eventualities that time will bring is not an excuse for not understanding how things will work out. Forethought is key when divining what the future holds, and that is what I hoped this segment of my book to be, should I have conceived of it before it went to press.
Ten years ago, did we assume that “searching” on the Internet would soon turn a brand name into an verb? When “Hotbotting” didn’t catch on, did we not bristle at the attempt to make “Googling” a household word? Let us not ignore the great possibilities ahead of us when we look deep into ourselves as a culture to discover what will be the “Kleenex” that becomes synonymous with “Internet.”
Naturally, the first assumption is that we might stick with the shortened version we use to refer to our surfing experiences, like Net, Web or “Dot C A,” as it is spoken in Canada. But, again, these still refer very specifically to the actual Internet itself. It would be like calling a wooden writing implement a “graphite holder.” We can be certain the heirs to the Pencil, Inc fortune thank their lucky stars every day that we don’t.
The second assumption we might make is that “Googling” will make the logical jump for the Internet to simply be called “Google,” given the ubiquity of its services, or the frequency of its homepageness. Perhaps, still, another contender, not yet on the scene, will make itself known and become the new Google.
But I contend that the winner of the name-branded Internet will be the company that perfects the web browser. Nay, the company who owns the naming rights to said browser. Branding Internet before you even get to it is the key to changing our perception of it. Will it be one of the world’s most profitable companies? Possibly. Purchasing the naming rights to an entire service could motivate diversification in a company with the strictest of business models. Imagine if one single company essentially owned the trademark on what we call an entire foodstuff, drinkstuff or snackstuff. Even regionally, such a coup would make the company so powerful that all stuffs would be required to be served with a side of them.
Given typical internet success stories, however, I believe that Internet will re-brand as as the result of a start-up. Not just a start-up, but a crowd-funded start-up. The internet is built on sharing, on networking, on digitally communing, and on turning all of those things into a willingness to pump something full of funds with none of the benefits of ownership. The next browser will come from you, if you’re the type of person who likes to crowdfund, so whatever the name, it will be, in a sense, sort of yours, almost. Unless, of course, Kleenex buys that browser from the owner of the crowdfunding campaign.
Until next time – Good Kleenexing.
- Jason C. Klamm, B.A.
A loyal fan has sent me irrefutable proof that my book is now available for purchase on Amazon.com (and at BarnesAndNoble.com, though that screenshot was much less fascinating) for $14.99. I’m also told that, per my request, Amazon is pairing my book with only the most exclusive day-to-day calendars, as specifically related to memes (in this case, an hilarious series of 365 instances of people being mean to dogs).
As I likely, or should have, mentioned in my book, the success of a meme can only be judged in physical terms. Analytics, facts and numbers can only do so much, when applied to the digitalness of the Internet and Internet-based materials. It’s when the physicality of paper comes into the mix that the same analytics, facts and numbers actually start to mean something. Having that physical thing in your hand, something you can watch literally reduce in mass before your eyes, day-by-day (in the case of a day-to-day calendar or a book you’ve vowed to slowly destroy), reminds us of the hope that we can fill life with, provided we do so through humanity’s most succinct and pure form of expression – the meme.
You can also buy the book for $41.99 NZ ($27.89 US) at this website, should you choose to do so.
– Jason C. Klamm, B.A.
You can buy Post-Modem: The Interwebs Explained today to learn how housewives in the 50s combined a turntable and a HAM radio to get Wi-Fi. What’s the the connection between “Mad Men”‘s Jon Hamm and AskJeeves (hint: you might want to ask Jon Hamm!). Is Richard Dawkins real? How did Stalin create the first LOLCat via Sputnik?
Whether an expert or a “newber,” Post-Modem is guaranteed to tell you something you would have never known about The Internet without picking up this book. Post-Modem is the unabridged, unedited history of the Internet you’ve always needed.
PURCHASE LINK: http://bit.ly/postmodembook
One woman, Loraine Oliver, saw the problems immediately and took her male superiors aside, explaining to them that women were no longer interested in light labor and dictation, insisting that they be introduced to the heavy labor involved in Internet, just as their counterparts in warhead manufacture were no longer restricted to painting serial numbers on bullets, like so many copper fingernails.
Though it took nearly two years before the changes would be implemented by act of Congress, a woman as prominent as Eleanor Roosevelt stood behind the Women’s Information Corps as a champion of their cause, hoping for an “Irene Internet.” It was due to such support that, in 1943, President Roosevelt signed an honorary law allowing women in Internet to “work with their delicate hands.” Oliver treated the document as her passport toward workplace rights, and was shortly thereafter named head of Internet Technologies for the War Department, honorarily.
The transition wasn’t easy for the thousands of wives, mothers, sisters and aunts who wished to build up America’s defenses in the frequently overlooked information sector. Increasingly weakened by the Women’s Information Corps’ expectations and stringent demands to live down to them, their understanding of the Internet was little more than that of the average US citizen at the time. Oliver quickly remedied this with her pamphlet, “Building the Internet, One Girl at a Time.” Though some of her senior male officers chided her for her use of the word “girl” rather than “woman,” (or, as the President himself recommended “womban”) her pamphlet worked its magic, and the Corps was quickly becoming the most Internet-savvy group in the country.
Building transparent internet portals and tubes for use in the President’s Civilian Conservation Corps, 22 the women serving under Oliver found themselves serving a societal purpose beyond the standard role of mother or teacher. Many of them went on to maintain the very tubes and portals they created with their own two hands.
An excerpt from Post-Modem: The Interwebs Explained, which is released on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. From Chapter 5, “The Post-War Interweb”:
Preferring instead to call it a “space race,” the Soviet Union then attempted to soothe strained relations with the United States by sending up a considerably more humorous satellite, in keeping with their desire to create memorable events for those most starving and freezing to death. The following month, they launched Sputnik 2, with an angle toward cuteness – this time they included an adorable dog named Laika, whose presence aboard Sputnik 2 caused a great deal of controversy. While one camp had hoped for a kitten named Mitsa (Russian for “mittens”) to be the world’s first living being to orbit the Earth, Khrushchev insisted that a cat would be too difficult to shove in a space capsule, given their wily nature and sharp claws, and so the issue was decided.
Though Russian telecasts featuring pictures of Laika contained adorable captions such as, “Where is today’s copy of Pravda?” and, over pictures of a yawning Laika, “I am a space monster, fear my wrath!” the flames were merely fanned between the two passive-aggressively warring nations. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. launched Explorer 1 on January 31, 1958, and followed this success up with what they considered to be the Ace up their collective sleeve. Intending to beat the Russians at their own game, American scientists chose to launch two monkeys, given that President Eisenhower was such an immense fan of Ronald Reagan’s Bonzo series of films, and had “always wanted to see a monkey pilot a rocketship,” despite the insistence of his scientists that neither monkey would have much control over the actual direction or speed of the satellite.
Though the winner of the space race was never officially declared, this brief moment of all-out competition does show quite clearly the loser of the Internet Race. The Soviet Union, for all its enthusiasm, never sought to outdo itself, and could therefore never hope to advance past the consistent ante-upping of the United States, its chief competitor. The real loser, of course, was the Internet, which enjoyed a brief moment in the spotlight, only to be cast aside as a remnant of a by-going era. Life and Look magazines ran ads calling Internet, “The New Rock and Roll,” and the television show The Phil Silvers Show even shot an entire episode dedicated to Sergeant Bilko finding a way to steal Internet access from the monkey satellite that was to launch from his fictional Fort Baxter. The episode, however, never aired, as enthusiasm fizzled quickly in the wake of the suggestion that man might one day, soon, travel to the moon. The lessons we can take from this turn of events are manifold, but perhaps the most important came from the words of Phil Silvers’ Sergeant Bilko himself: “I’m sorry, Colonel, sir, I couldn’t see you behind the monkey!” It would be almost a full decade before we, as a country, learned to see behind the monkey.
An excerpt from Post-Modem: The Interwebs Explained, which is released on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. From the Wi-Fi section of Chapter 1, “The Internet”:
By 1958, the Wi-Fi service, which accounted for 9 out of 10 household Internet experiences, was proving its superiority over wired internet which, at this point, was still largely telegraph-based. Not only were the services easier to understand and use, but the entertainment value was greater, allowing consumers to control every aspect of what they saw on television. Says Net Historian Salman Gourd:
“This was the beginning of a true revolution – one that didn’t see itself truly realized until just a few years ago. People were finally given what they had been asking for since the earliest days of radio – the opportunity to get up and interact with the people that were being paid to bring them their free nightly entertainment. They were no longer restricted to sitting on their plush, comfortable couches and easy chairs, passively receiving an entertaining variety of relaxing programs – now they could be active, involved watchers, getting up out of their chairs and physically calling up the operator and telling them about something they read about in the paper recently, and they’d get to see a rough approximation of those various events on the very screen in front of them.”
When local news or requests for the whereabouts of missing acquaintances failed to meet the producers’ standards or to fill airtime, however, the cast and crew of stations like Oneonta, New York’s WIFI 1 opened up the lines to requests for less conventional content. One hot afternoon in the summer of 1959 proved to be groundbreaking for this medium. On a slow news day and with most Wi-Fi users’ children indoors and in plain sight, Oneonta Inter-Man Darius Jeeves asked his presumed audience if they had seen or heard about anything that they would like to share with the other Wi-Fi users.
The response, recalls Darius Jeeves, Jr., was “Insane.” When Ms. Betty Wellman of nearby Laurens called in and dialed 6-2-6-5-4-2-5-3-3-4-6-2-2-5-5-7, Jeeves, Sr. laughed, turned to the camera and said “I’ve got just the thing,” and proceeded to invite his producer, Gregory Funk, to join him in front of the camera. Truly perplexed, Funk made his way to Jeeves’s desk, which Jeeves promptly moved aside as he stood up, shaking Funk’s hand. With a smile, Funk turned to the camera, confused, just as Jeeves drew back his right leg and delivered the resulting kinetic energy to Funk’s unsuspecting groin. The rest, as Jeeves, Jr. puts it,
With a monthly subscription fee of sixty-five cents and just over 12,000 subscribers nationwide, though, Wi-Fi service had trouble supporting a cameraman, Inter-Man, sound man and servant for every major metropolitan area of the United States. This sent Wi-Fi station owners throughout the U.S. into a panic, causing them to quickly add budget line-items for advertisement and publicity. Though it would mean temporary service outages, sending their online personalities to other areas of the country meant great word-of-mouth exposure for the service.
Jeeves, along with other Inter-Men in Cincinnati, Stanford, Phoenix and Chicago, became the first of the nation’s internet celebrities, appearing at conventions in character, an ever-evolving amalgam of the duties he performed on his daily webcasts. Though he opened Upstate New York’s inaugural Wi-Fi program on February 20, 1957 as the sort of traditional besuited spokesperson found on innumerable television programs of the era, Jeeves quickly evolved the character from the “staid, whitebread company-man,” he recalled in his autobiography in 1972 to the kowtowing gentleman servant he became best known for. This was not, Jeeves eventually revealed, a simple reflection of his duty to serve the typical Wi-Fi user, but a comment on the times.
“It was a commotive time at the time,” Jeeves opened his autobiography with. “Just full of commotion. People the country over were trying to start with a blank slate, in terms of what came to be called ‘The Civil Rights,’ and I was right there, on the front lines. It wasn’t easy, but I eventually convinced our producer, Greg Funk, to fire our servant. It was the only way to at least try to make up for all the injustices we’d indirectly taken a part in, as white folk, since this country began. Greg tried to talk me out of it, and so did [station servant] Carl, but I insisted. It was for the advancement of Colored People, like the Association for that, and I stood by my decision.
It took awhile, but eventually it sunk in for both Greg and Carl. Like I told Funk then – ‘Greg, it’s The Civil Rights.’ He couldn’t argue with that. Additionally, I don’t call them colored anymore. I’ve learned my lesson.”
– Jason C. Klamm, B.A.
©2015 Jason Klamm
On Tuesday, November 17th at 8 PM, your author, Jason C. Klamm, B.A., will be launching his double-length novella Post-Modem: The Interwebs Explained at The One Up arcade and gastrolounge. It will be hosted by brilliant actor Jeremy Guskin and will feature a reading by the author. More information on the official event page: bit.ly/postmodemlaunch.
Patric Verrone (Futurama, The Simpsons, The Critic) says about Post-Modem: The Interwebs Explained:
“Oh what a tangled interweb Jason Klamm weaves as he hyperdrives us down the Misinformation Highway, gathering artificial intelligence from an online past we don’t remember to an offline future we won’t forget. Whether you prefer steam- or cyber-, Post-Modem will leave you totally punked.”
Punning With Scissors: The Downside of Uploading
Regardless of one’s position on the issue of file-sharing, there are a few cases that stand out for both sides of the arguments for and against the controversial practice. While mainstream artists both derided and endorsed the practice, the latter for its sheer ability to spread the word about talented music acts, some of them faced genuine obstacles in having to embrace not just the attitudes and habits of a new generation of music listeners, but an entire new era of technology and communication. One such artist was a man thought by most of his fans to be immune from “techno-fatigue” — “Weird Al” Yankovich.
When Napster was at its absolute peak in 1999 and 2000, “Weird Al” was in the middle of his “Running with Scissors” tour, premiering such hits as “The Saga Begins,” which combined the plot of the recently released first Star Wars prequel with Don McLean’s latest hit “American Pie,” using the two tools of his trade with much skill and to great personal reward. On stage, Yankovick was a ball of energy and spunk, performing “quick-changes” between his hits and performing rare and unreleased parodies to the delight of his audience. Psychologically, however, “Weird Al” was another story.
Long an icon of nerds and nerd culture alike, Yankavic was faced daily with the pressure of his core audience’s high expectations. Not only did they expect the same high energy and clever puns that had come to be Al’s trademark since the early days of “Another One Rides the Bus,” and “I Love Rocky Road,” but they expected his “nerd capital” to constantly self-replenish. While on the road, it was assumed, “Weird Al” was spending equal time rehearsing, performing, and updating himself on popular culture. All of this — music, quick-changes, autograph-sessions — right on the cusp of the dot-com bubble’s bursting. In an as-yet-unreleased autobiography entitled “Untitled Weird Al Autobiography,” Al reportedly confesses that his research time, his “Absorption Period,” is actually the time between touring and new album releases, as the tour bus is not a place for research, but rather a place for inspiration.
Needless to say, the unexpected rise in popularity of file sharing and the various associated programs thereof sent audiences looking to Al for guidance as to how they could best be ironically self-derisive regarding their use of such services, avoiding the stares and jests that inevitably came with expressing one’s knowledge of the current tech-world while in mixed company. In private, Al was counting down the days to the end of the “Running with Scissors” tour, hoping desperately to avoid another autograph session replete with questions about his “web site” and how he preferred to “connect” to the “information highway.” It was becoming too much for the comedian-cum-pop-star, and, though he wouldn’t admit it at the time, he was about to reach a breaking Continue reading EXCERPT: Chapter 9 – Punning With Scissors: The Downside of Uploading