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Language Games

July 14, 2010

One great thing about the Internet is that it is just a stream of information, and because it’s pure information, it can be rearranged mechanically and automatically for your viewing (dis-)pleasure.  For example, if you aren’t the most level-headed person, you can use http://www.unevengoogle.com/.  Or, if you would really rather not be reminded of a certain someone, you can block all traces of your ex on the web using Ex-Blocker.  Correspondingly, because the information flow on the Internet can be rearranged and repositioned in general, stories like “Tired Gay Succumbs to Dix in 200 Meters” can be brought to the fore and highlighted by folks like Daniel Tosh (now the most popular host on Comedy Central; yes, even more popular than Stewart or Colbert).  The reason for that is simple; the Internet allows audiences to exert the most pull on the content they want to watch, as opposed to increasingly outdated modes of communication that required the broadcasters and publishers to push content at their audiences, hoping that they will like what they are given.  Then again, sometimes a little push can get us to a better place than we would have reached on our own, and in that sense, each form of media will survive insofar as it has a competitive advantage of achieving some particular end.  Cory Doctorow, astute as ever, explains this with some clear examples:

A report last month in the Economist tells us that “blogging is dying” as more and more bloggers abandon the form for its cousins: the tweet, the Facebook Wall, the Digg.

Do a search-and-replace on “blog” and you could rewrite the coverage as evidence of the death of television, novels, short stories, poetry, live theatre, musicals, or any of the hundreds of the other media that went from breathless ascendancy to merely another tile in the mosaic.

Of course, none of those media are dead, and neither is blogging. Instead, what’s happened is that they’ve been succeeded by new forms that share some of their characteristics, and these new forms have peeled away all the stories that suit them best.

Since blogging isn’t dead, I might as well connect you to some random other stuff, with a splash of commentary here or there.

Since you’re reading this blog, there’s a pretty good chance that you are an unemployed xenophobe who thinks that it’s all these dang immigrants who “took our jobs,” right?  Well, they heard you, and they’re going to let you have them back if you want.  Just apply now at http://www.takeourjobs.org.

I normally don’t post links to games, but this one is simply too clever not to mention: Twirdie is a golf game of sorts, where your stroke length is determined by the frequency on Twitter of a word you enter, determined at the moment you enter it in.  The mechanic cleverly requires you to vary up the lengths by guessing more common words while driving and some more infrequent words on the putting green.

I suppose I’m as guilty as anybody of bastardizing the English language, from a prescriptivist‘s point of view, but at least my usage is more or less correct.  Because I prioritize efficacy and accuracy of communication over etymological purity, I don’t idolize any of these logogogues.  After all, who wants to read some SNOOTy asshole’s blog?

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