latelythe on-line diary of
ralph robert moore
the official website for the writings of ralph robert moore
Copyright © 2001 by Ralph Robert Moore. All rights reserved.
Return to lately 2001
the length of my cock
march 24, 2001
The Internet community is apparently dissatisfied with the length of my cock.
I say that because I receive an unusually large number of e-mail solicitations for ways to stretch my cock.
The solicitations don't go into a great deal of detail, for which I'm grateful, but it appears the mysterious process of elongating my cock depends, to some extent, upon my willingness to attach to it small weights.
The heading in the body of each e-mail offering this service is presented in large, bold print, which may be meant as a subliminal message. Why be a twelve font when you can be a thirty-six?
The junk washing up on the shores of my inbox is not limited to cock-lengtheners. I can also enlarge my stock portfolio, my knowledge of others, and my chances of winning at off-shore on-line gambling casinos. At least once a week, I get a breathless announcement that it is now possible for me to buy judicial judgements. I don't have a clue what they are, why I would want to buy some, and what I would do with them if I were stupid enough to respond to the offer.
All of this, of course, is spam. Unsolicited e-mail offers. Recently, governments have attempted to crack down on spamming. Many spam e-mails acknowledge this now, providing a service where you can e-mail them back, asking to be "unsubscribed" (what an ugly term) to their solicitations. The truth though is that spammers send out millions of e-mails, using every possible letter and number combination in the address, knowing that some of the combinations will be authentic. If you ask to be unsubscribed, you have notified the spammers at the other end of your keyboard that your e-mail address is valid, that they've got a "live" one. Guess what happens then?
Another tactic spammers have lately resorted to using is starting their e-mails with the statement, "You asked to receive this e-mail, so it isn't spam." Let's all pray to the proposed patron saint of the Internet, St. Isidore of Seville, that those spammers develop especially itchy, bumpy red rashes high up inside their rectums.
When radio first crackled into existence, Congress considered a resolution forbidding any advertising on the new medium, because what had been discovered, sending voices and music over airwaves, was considered too important to allow such crass exploitation. The measure failed, obviously. Today, we have commercial messages everywhere, not only in stores, but in hospitals, schools, and libraries. We even have a medium now, television, that exists solely to entice us to buy products. We get to watch dramas, comedies and dance, but only when they've been inanely cut up into small chunks, interrupted by still more enticements to buy. Historically, much art depended upon some sort of patronage, but the work itself, finished, was presented intact. In television, art has been made secondary to the sell. Art as bait.
If there was a war, we lost. But maybe it wasn't a war. Maybe it was just a little battle.
In the documentary Crumb, about San Francisco comic artist R. Crumb, the interviewer asks him at one point what the greatest change is he's noticed in American life since the sixties.
"The degree to which Americans wear advertising logos," he answered.
It's boring, of course, to say our lives are aswirl in commercials, and probably boring to read it, too. The reason why we think it's boring is because we think the situation is hopeless. Nothing can be done. But we are still early in the existence of the Internet, and there is still time, this time, to make a difference, to preserve at least one medium where art can be itself. Because otherwise, given advertisers' preference for appealing to the lowest common denominator, we're going to wind up as a people who truly believe shit like The West Wing and E.R. have value, that they are serious, honest dramas, rather than shallow, painfully obvious attempts to get us to buy bright, shiny crap.
Recently, the Nasdaq, where all the fat, over-valued Internet stocks reside, has slid to its lowest level in two years, from a 5,000 point average to a 2,000 average, a drop in value of more than fifty percent. Some Internet companies, such as the once mighty Yahoo!, have lost over ninety percent of their value. Many analysts see this as a sign that the Internet is not going to be a significant alternative to the "bricks and mortar" economy after all. Already, there's talk of some companies withdrawing or reducing their presence on the Web, and of most companies significantly curtailing their cyber advertising. Those annoying banner ads have always had an extremely low click-through rate, 0.06% a couple of years ago, according to a recent issue of TIME Magazine, but even that low rate is now down even further, to just 0.01% (as compared to a 1% to 2% response rate for junk mail).
The Internet will certainly continue to develop business applications, everything from providing informational and order sites for products, to the management and sharing of large databases through advances in coding, such as XML. All of which is good. There's no reason why business should not take advantage of the efficiencies and economies of the Web. The issue here isn't business. It's advertising. The two are separable.
We are forced to listen to commercials all day long as it is. We blew it with radio, blew it with television, even blew it with telephones (nearly every call we get is from a telemarketer). Let's not blow it with the Web.
Let's instantly delete any unsolicited e-mail. Let's ask our friends to do it, and their friends, and their friends.
If several hundreds of millions of unwanted e-mails for cock lengtheners go out and nobody responds, the spammers of the world are going to decide that even though it only costs them a small amount of money to send out each mass mailing, that's still too much money if no one responds.
Spam will disappear if everyone ignores it. Profit is the only air in which spam can breathe.
Spam did not always exist. And if it had a beginning, it can have an end. "If it bleeds, we can kill it".
Let's return the Internet to what it was, and can still be. A quiet, fun, engaging form of ham radio, where we can share ideas, art, literature, conversations, and ourselves.
If that goal could be accomplished, l'd even be willing to live with my current cock length.