Monday, January 30, 2006

I am become goatse, the destroyer of blogs

What's this world coming to? Last evening, I noticed a blog post that mentioned a truly inordinate amount of stretching, and I couldn't help posting a comment that included two or three goatse links. (Don't click if easily offended. You've been warned.) The author of the post replied a bit later, and judging from that reply I guess that my attempt to be funny didn't come across too well.

But nothing prepared me for what I saw this morning: the author of the post that I had commented on now appears to have deleted all his posts from that blog (the blog had another contributor, whose posts were untouched). Not only that, but the three or four other blogs kept by the same author seem to be gone as well (admittedly none of them had had any new posts for several months, and I'm not sure if they were deleted today or perhaps some time ago).

Is it just a coincidence, having nothing to do with my silly comment the night before? I hope so, but it's hard to be sure.

For pete's sake, folks, I may have a sick and twisted sense of humour, but that's no reason to overreact in this way...

11 Comments:

Blogger Nadezhda said...

Woho! Feeling guilty, aren't you? You should be for making fun out of perfectly serious blog posts.

Ok, seriously... you can write anything you like in the comments and the author of the blog always has the option to delete your comment and prevent you from posting comments in the future. Also, you cannot be blamed for other people's decisions. To just take down the whole blog because they were offended... it would seem silly and childish to me. One can't expect everyone to like their blog. One has the means to prevent people from being nasty to him/her. One has the ability to prevent nasty comments. It is their choice if they do it or not. Theirs and not yours. Stop feeling guilty.

Monday, January 30, 2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Lilit said...

God! I didn't even notice it, and it's supposed to be my blog :blush: I got the comments by email, though (didn't check the links before, but now... I'm a little grossed out, actually).

Yes, I haven't posted anything "lately". But I didn't read much and nothing that interesting.

Monday, January 30, 2006 1:04:00 PM  
Blogger ill-advised said...

@nadezhda:

Thanks for your encouraging words. Yes, I was feeling a little guilty. I agree that in the end it was the author's decision, and probably it wasn't really caused by my comment anyway; but still, even if it should turn out that my comment was just a small influence in the larger scheme of things that eventually led to the author's making that decision, I should feel somewhat sorry to have been a contributing factor to it.

But anyway, whatever tinges of remorse I might have felt about the whole matter, they are far outweighed by my delight at having had the opportunity to (ab)use the Bhagavadgita/Oppenheimer quote for the title of this post :)

@lilit:

I suppose it's good that you are grossed out. I think that the really worrying thing would be if somebody wasn't grossed out by it. :)

Anyway, thanks for your comment, and I wish you good luck at finding something interesting to read.

Monday, January 30, 2006 8:07:00 PM  
Blogger Bo said...

Of course it wasn't just your fault for me to have removed my last blog, and the ones way before that. Your "mischief" played a tiny part in this - however tiny enough for me to respond -, but you know, as a glass is being filled, there always comes a moment of a droplet making it spills over. I don't want to explain in detail why I removed my blogs. After all I still don't comprehend fully that myself.
I would like to express some sort of apologize for this late an answer. I hope you didn't have much trouble sleeping, or if that was so, I am hoping I remedied that a little.
I have always liked you words, even though our choices of books are quite different, as you like more to drift into the past and read about people then, I like present more and read about nature and technology. Serenity of your words feels really good and guiding, and also seems so natural, but I guess you must've had a lot of training. Good for you.
It's funny how one's single act can change the direction of my inclination towards him so dramatically. With your eccentric humor or none, I think you are stupid, as in sick stupid. I guess this can be helped. I wish you good luck nonetheless. I don't won't to fight over anything with you at the present moment.

Sunday, February 05, 2006 2:18:00 PM  
Blogger ill-advised said...

Thanks for your comment, bo. It's true that I haven't exactly lost sleep over this, but I'm nevertheless glad to hear that you had other more important reasons for deleting your blogs.

I found your comment about serenity interesting. I certainly don't think of myself as a particularly serene person, nor do I make any efforts to infuse serenity into my writing. Incidentally, I haven't had any particular training in writing either; except perhaps in the sense that I was somewhat influenced by the style of some of the books I've read.

I quite agree with you that a single act can change one's perception of a person dramatically. I think this is particularly true in cases when one knew that person only from one specific and narrow point of view --- in that case there is really no way to ensure that one's perception of that person matches reality, and any further bit of information that reveals a hitherto unseen side of that person is quite liable to show that the impression one has formed until then has been inaccurate.

I'm not entirely sure what to make of the phrase ‘sick stupid’, but I agree with you in at least some of the meanings of both ‘sick’ and ‘stupid’. However, I don't necessarily think that these are bad or undesirable characteristics to have. As for whether this can be helped, I'm somewhat ambivalent. In the end it depends on the meaning of ‘can’. Stupidity is a difficult thing to cure; my efforts to educate myself through reading haven't borne much fruit so far. I am inclined to think that stupidity can be helped in the same sense that anyone can become wealthy --- it's possible in principle, but we know that the vast majority of people will fail.

Monday, February 06, 2006 7:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Katra said...

Wow!

That's my first reply!
I've been bit busy for about a month now not blogging or looking at other people's blogs and then I read this... made me think.

I did start to wander what happened to BO… I guess I found my answer partly here…

I know the feeling of having the last drop of “water” hit you, so I can sympathise with BO. You have to admit that humour can go bit too far at times and that it is good to think twice about that in the first place???

Well what’s done is done… no going back.

I also want to comment on that “sick stupid” what ever. I believe the joke was sick and by that means also “stupid” by you to use it. Not all people are that “ha, ha, ha” about shocking material. But for the rest I do not believe you personally are stupid. I guess your blog is a good proof of that on it’s own, maybe it was just poor judgement.

And BO if you still read this, I think that this “joke” most probably was not meant as bad as it turned out to look. Hope you’ll change your mind and still stay with us… I liked your comments on my blog!

I only have a suggestion for you ill-advised, to maybe think things true a bit before acting out… people are still people even on the web… feelings can get hurt.

Katra

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger ill-advised said...

Yes, I agree about poor judgement. That's part of the motivation why I adopted the nickname ‘ill-advised’ in the first place. This is also part of the reason why I said that I agree with bo in at least some of the meanings of ‘stupid’ and &lrsquo;sick’ --- namely, at least according to dictionary.com, ‘stupid’ includes ‘tending to make poor decisions or careless mistakes’ and ‘foolish or careless’; and ‘sick’ includes such things as ‘unwholesome, morbid’.

As for thinking things through, that's just what I did. The post I had commented on was full of a blithe enthusiasm about stretching that I found incredibly grating, and I decided that it would certainly be good to deflate it a bit by responding to all this stretching with a couple of goatse links (which surely provide the ultimate experience as far as stretching goes).

I agree that not everyone will laugh over shocking material. Nevertheless, this is the internet, after all; shock sites are a part of its charm; everyone ought to see them once; think of it as a further step in one's personal development. Besides, I had a vague notion that bo may be coming from a technical background (but I may be wrong about that); so I guessed (wrongly, as it turns out) that chances are good enough that he'd see the humour in the situation after all. Heck, I even acknowledged the ambiguity of the situation by including a self-deprecating quote in the same comment (namely the ‘one way ticket to hell, please’ stock phrase from fark.com). Ah well, the whole thing turns out to have been an error in judgement after all.

I agree that feelings can get hurt on the web. In fact it happens to me all the time. There is hardly a forum, a newsgroup, a mailing list that does not include some people whose opinions I virulently disagree with, and I feel deeply offended at the very thought that such people exist and write things in such blatant disagreement with my own opinions. I rarely participate in discussions myself, as I often feel too weak to stand my ground. I've observed my share of flamewars from the sidelines, and I agree that they can be quite nasty things. But I think that my conclusion from all this is that the internet is simply not a great place for very sensitive people. And I think that's another major part of its charm too. Both treading on other people's toes, and having your own toes trod upon, is easier and less painful on the internet than it is in real life. The internet provides a splendid opportunity to lay one's sensitivity aside for a while, and walk more freely for a few hours before returning to the unwelcome strictures of everyday life. And I for one welcome that fact and hope it stays that way.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 7:35:00 PM  
Blogger Bo said...

Master ill-advised,

I was going through your mischief and my response again, and then I read your captivating opinion on the social impact of the net, and I decided to comment more. Perhaps I was a bit misunderstood, but then that would be only my own fault, so let me say some things, and we can go on from here, if you would like: I have NOT proclaimed any fatwa against you, nor I would like to see you get hurt much. When you shared those associations with me (us), I shook my head and showed you a finger.

Otherwise your intuition serves you fine, for I have a technical background (with a degree in physics, majored in mathematical physics). My mind tends to understanding others. I did get you humor, mind that, the one with stretching an anus as stretching goes for example is very funny (I had a great laugh, when I calmed myself down), but also very UNNECESSARY. For at the heart of the stretching philosophy is the praise of one's body and strive toward aeshetic. I don't see how your association adds to this, it only subtracts. It made me confused and tired.

But regarding your interesting thoughts about the net, I have a differently inclined opinion than you.
I've been using computers to a fair extend and surfed the web much, and I'm increasingly of the opinion that I don't like the "digitized" me that much, and that I would've been thriving much more successfully in an environment without all this crap, yet still with books and such sources of knowledge. Book is immortal!
I know, it's hard to imagine such a world today, and even if existed, there is no guarantee I would actually love it. Because I've experienced many situations that turned out differently than I'd guessed they would. But what I've been observing myself over and over again is this: A computer attached to the net offers me way too much for me to stay focused on one thing. But that's not bad, some might say, right, more the better? Wrong, less is more: like a laser, a focused beam of energy that can cut through the thickest walls, - one can crack a problem, only fully devoted, and with mind set on it. I've lost so many seconds, summed up to minutes to hours to days to weeks to months to countable infinity, that it seems to me now like I've been moving across an abstract field of ideas, and wavering between them, never really satisfied, with my mind always some place else, a bit like an unfortunate bee that can't get laid on a fully flowered field. This is sad, and I blame two things: me, myself and my lack of discipline, and the age of computers, so this civilization.

Regards.

Friday, February 17, 2006 2:57:00 PM  
Blogger ill-advised said...

Well, I'm somewhat of a luddite myself. I often find myself toying with the idea that it might be nicer to live a simpler life, with less technology and above all with fewer distractions. I too lack discipline and have found the web to be a great dissipator of concentration. I also find it next to impossible to focus on anything, especially if sitting at a computer connected to the web.

But I don't really mind any of these things. I suspect that this is the point where our opinion differs very greatly. I don't feel that my life needs to have such things as purpose, meaning, focus, etc. In fact I'm a bit of a nihilist that way; it's not very pleasant but I don't see any way out of it.

Anyhow, I don't mind the fact that my attention is constantly pulled hither and thither by the innumerable interesting and curious things on the web. I'm quite content to explore one obscure and irrelevant little meme, blog, forum, website after another. I'd much rather be undisciplined and unfocused than be whipped into shape by a lack of technology.

Besides, whenever I find myself tempted to wish for a simpler age without computers, the web, etc., I must quickly admit to myself that, if one tries to look at this comparison honestly and reasonably, it's hard to pretend that such a simpler world would be more pleasant. It's mostly a case of "all times when old are good". There would still be distractions in such a simpler world, only their nature would be different. Instead of the web, there would be something else; taverns, or the theatre, or a great deal of entirely unedifying drudgery, or who knows what else. It's a simple matter of fact that the past is not characterized by an overabundance of highly disciplined philosophers or scientists who have withdrawn from the world to quietly contemplate the world and watch their wisdom grow in the absence of distractions. On the contrary, it's characterized by the people who had nothing in life to stimulate their intellect, and have consequently remained ignorant and dimwitted throughout their lives.

Whenever I find myself tempted to idealize a world without the internet, I remind myself of the many delightful things, and even some useful things, I've learnt thanks to it; and of the books that line my shelves, how many of them I would never have even heard of, much less bought and read them, had it not been for the internet!

Choice is a terrible thing to have. I hate it more than the vast majority of people. However, deep inside I can't help admitting to myself that, were I deprived of the myriad of choices the web offers one, I'd be a more miserable person rather than a happier one.

Otherwise your intuition serves you fine, for I have a technical background (with a degree in physics, majored in mathematical physics).

Well, it wasn't really intuition --- I suppose I must have read something along those lines on one of your blogs at some point. Otherwise it wouldn't have occurred to me to guess at your background. I either don't have any intuition, or I'm unable to listen to it.

I don't see how your association adds to this, it only subtracts.

Yes, well, I never meant to add anything. As I mentioned in one of my previous comments on this thread, I actually found your enthusiasm grating and tried to deflate it. This has probably something to do with my above-mentioned nihilistic inclinations. I'm afraid I have a rather low tolerance threshold towards people with a positive outlook on life. But this is probably merely a poorly concealed case of envy.

Wrong, less is more: like a laser, a focused beam of energy that can cut through the thickest walls, - one can crack a problem, only fully devoted, and with mind set on it.

If you feel that you have the potential to crack great and important problems, and that the web is distracting you from being able to accomplish this, then by all means please disconnect yourself as soon as possible. Humanity will be grateful. However, most people, myself included, wouldn't achieve much in this direction even if they had all the philosophical peace in the world at their disposal (and all the paper books, and no distractions whatsoever except a servant to bring them a crust of bread and a cup of water once a day). That's why the fact that the web dissipates our attention doesn't really cause all that much harm, as far as I'm concerned.

a bit like an unfortunate bee that can't get laid on a fully flowered field.

Pardon my French, but technically speaking the role of the bee is not so much to get laid itself, but to help the flowers get laid :-)

yet still with books and such sources of knowledge.

I beg to differ. I remember well enough the huge and far from enjoyable amount of time I've spent poring over printed dictionaries, lexicons, and the like, looking up unfamiliar words and concepts. All these much-vaunted sources of knowledge suffer from a terribly slow access time. I'd take Google, dictionary.com and the Wikipedia over a set of printed reference works any day.

Book is immortal!

This sounds funniest when you say it with an angry Russian accent. Try it now while shaking your fist in the air. It's fun.

Sorry, that was my mean streak again. But anyway, surely even you must realise how absurd this sounds. It takes effort to preserve books (either through conservation, or reprinting, transcribing, etc.), and sooner or later it turns out that most books aren't found to be worth all the trouble, and are thus left to decay. Many well-known books were eventually lost to the world. If the necessary effort is expended, a book can be preserved indefinitely; but so can almost any other man-made thing, and sometimes much more cheaply than a book. If you have a library of electronic texts on your hard disk, all that you need to do as far as preservation is concerned is to keep backups and, every time you buy a new computer, copy the texts onto it, possibly converting to a new format if necessary. All of which is a great deal easier to do than transcribing them, or setting them to type and reprinting them, as had to be done in the bygone centuries. If it's immortality of words that you're after, technology actually helps you by reducing the amount of effort required to preserve them.

And don't get me wrong, I appreciate the durability of printed books as much as the next guy. Indeed by far the oldest man-made artefacts I've ever touched were books. It's fascinating to think that that humble block of paper sat out on a shelf for two centuries while the world outside changed almost beyond imagining. But immortal? Fiddlesticks.

I have NOT proclaimed any fatwa against you, nor I would like to see you get hurt much

Well, thanks for pointing that out, not that I ever thought you did try to proclaim any such thing. But yes, I guess I might have misunderstood some of your comments a little bit. Your fondness for using the word ‘stupid’ makes some of them appear perhaps somewhat harsher than they were intended. But there's no reason why one should get upset over that.

Anyhow, thanks for your comments here, and I wish you lots of luck in combating the dissipation and the distractions and all the other countless temptations offered by the net. Now I'm sure you'll excuse me, I've got a few blogs and forums and webcomics to catch up with, and a stack of Wikipedia articles to read... ;-)

Friday, February 17, 2006 9:07:00 PM  
Blogger Bo said...

Ha, it's not just me. Others are complaining too: Americans work more, seem to accomplish less

"The biggest culprit is the technology that was supposed to make work quicker and easier, experts say." Supposed ... why won't I just show it my finger, ah.

Friday, February 24, 2006 6:00:00 PM  
Blogger ill-advised said...

Well, my impression after reading that article was that most of the blame for "seeming to accomplish less" must be borne by the ever-increasing expectations of how much a person is supposed to be able to do. These rising expectations are partly caused by the fact that technology genuinely makes some things easier to accomplish. But much of these rising expectations is due to the ever-increasing demands set by the employers. But this is nothing new; the fact that people work more and more is well-known. This is what one gets when one lets capitalists and free-marketeers run the show.

Friday, February 24, 2006 6:59:00 PM  

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