Thursday, April 13, 2006

Attention Authenticists!

One thing I really hate about teh internets is this self-congratulatory hipster egoism of getting there first--the authenticity of being a 28 year-old "oldtimer." I'm noticing it more and more, on a large scale.

A couple of examples (out of the million or so I could dig up):

1. From: http://a.wholelottanothing.org
"I started using flickr back when it was a flash-enhanced backchannel chat at etech many moons ago, and when it was finally released to the world, it was built off the previous web trend of social software."

2. The complex sarcasm tied up in megnut's statement here:
"all of us narcissistic a-list weblogers stopped frequenting this site years ago..." (I think she's being sarcastic, but clearly there's a grain of truth there as she did not post a comment on MeFi in 2004 or 2005 except to defend Kottke; and clearly the crowd who consider themselves "A-list bloggers" like kottke, megnut, and anildash HAVE stopped frequenting MeFi.)

3. Flickr even puts this into their login screen whereby those with pre-yahoo logins get to sign in under a different button, highlighted by the phrase "Rock On! You're Old Skool."

4. Caterina claiming that "Web 2.0 isn't all that" because here company made it, got bought by Yahoo!, made her a million bucks, and so the trend is over! We were here first! You guys now are all just lame! Except for the companies started by my web 2.0 friends whom I'm also advising!


Now, there are some legitimate cases where this might be OK, whereby someone who's truly an internet giant can stand up and pontificate on the history of particular applications or remind us our history, but most of the time I feel that this is just used as a badge of honor: "I've been doing this forever and let me tell you what it was like back in the old days. I'm so cool now that I jumped off the friendster/myspace/flickr/web2.0/blogger/digg/metafilter/
bittorrent/whateverthehellyouthinkiscool" bandwagon a loooong time ago. This is why I'm not into to "indie" rock. However, "the internet" and its many applications are too big to be confined to the esoteric authenticity wars of this coolness debate. Or are they? It's a small world after all.

I had some of the same issues with Yankees fans. Now, I consider myself a Yankees fan, but when I go to Yankee Stadium and end up making small talk with some guy wearing a Ron Guidry jersey in the bleachers, inevitably it will degrade into a game of one-upmanship of how this guy was born across the street from the stadium, saw Mickey Mantle hit home runs, caught a Reggie Jackson world series ball, etc., and that all this inevitably makes him a more authentic or real fan that someone who's recently moved to New York and also likes the Yankees. I say Screw That. In fact, that kind of I'm-authentic-you're-not might be near the root of some types of xenophobia. Anyone can be an authentic legitimate fan of a team, or user of a website. Accept it. Don't look down on people because they don't remember back when slashdot ran Java 1.1. You are a geek. This need for social heirarchy is simply clinging onto to the only remaining shred of power you can squeeze out of being an unemployed loafer who produces nothing in life but a website and a bloated ego. I'm sick of you all. You really are narcissitic egotists who can only feel important by claiming elder-statesman-status in a medium that changes every second of the day. You are all boring and will be forgotten.

4 comments:

hillary said...

Fuck yeah, Matt!

ken said...

dude, i'm one of the hard-core bucher fans who's been reading your blog from the very beginning, so i totally dig what you're saying.

plus also, anyone can wear a ron guidry jersey, man, my hero was thurman munson...

Stephen Schenkenberg said...

Ten years ago The Onion offered the darkest joke I've ever seen on this topic. http://www.theonion.com/content/node/33866

mbrawner said...

ken said...
>dude, i'm one of the hard-core bucher fans who's been reading your blog from the very beginning...

Psh. Poseur. I knew him back when he was a wallace-l civilian.