The Washington Post

Anything on the Internet?

Is the internet becoming a big stupid mess? I think maybe. It certainly started out as a mess, a smallish one, and then got really big really fast. It has stayed a mess, which has always been a significant part of its appeal. But the days when it looked like a mess full of glorious possibilities seem like a fond memory to me. Now it’s increasingly just a mess. A stupid one. What happened?

What happened was what we always knew would happen eventually. It’s getting commercialized. It’s becoming a fully integrated part of the vast consumer culture, the culture that causes your head to split open and become a fertile medium for advertising, insecurity, pandering, and lazy, distracting activity. It is becoming Television 2.0.

No, there is nothing to be done. There is never anything to be done. All I’ve noticed is that when I contemplate the supposedly infinite possibilities of the internet, which used to be the perfect pause that refreshes, now I often just feel bored. The exact same kind of boredom I came to feel about television years ago, even as the number of channels mushroomed. Since everything ever recorded or published is now on the internet, this creates a bit of a problem. On the other hand, the real 3-D world (not virtual 3-D) has never looked more vivid and exciting and interesting and enjoyable to me. Maybe we should try linking up out there.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog. See all of his cartoons here.


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