Thursday, November 20, 2003

Geekdom Come, Episode II (conclusion)

Ghyslain, then 15 years old, bespectacled and overweight, stepped into his Quebec school video room and taped himself fighting a mock-lightsaber battle with a golf ball retriever. His friends found the tape, uploaded the contents to KaZaA, and exposed this young man's moment of vulnerability to 15 million giggling Internet users.

"Are You Not Entertained?"
I must confess that I felt a most rabid curiosity when I read the intro blurbs on Ghyslain's cult site ( I also found myself asking myself a host of questions: His mug was plastered all over the Web? That was humiliating! (okay, it was hilarious too) What were his friends thinking? Fame and notoriety foisted on someone who just wanted a little time to indulge in what everyone was doing anyway--what was going to happen to this poor kid? Is George Lucas going to cast this kid in Episode III?

Of course, the most important question I wound up asking myself was, "Was this any of my business?" No. But then, could I keep myself away?

Curiosity and the need to experience a story-- introduction, setting, conflict, resolution-- is apparently inherent in the human animal; kinds of primal drive, like the ones for food and sex. When "Survivor" hit the airwaves it was precisely this need that was pandered to. Never mind that many of the hours on the island were filled with the expectedly monotonous-- feel hungry, starve, catch rats, cook 'em, bring down the nth coconut. As long as there were low points, highlights, little intrigues, stories in stories, served up to audiences like St. John's head on Salome's silver tray, all day, everyday.

Information is power, and apparently humans are a power-hungry lot. I don't blame humans too much for catering to this need. It's basic-- patterns of information, after all, are the means by which we organize our lives and routines, and give these some meaning (meaning-- another basic need!).

Information is also aparently entertainment. It's a rare individual who can resist, without difficulty, even the hint of juicy office/showbiz/political/barkada gossip. How far we go to meet this need, though, has been cause for concern for ages. The Great Religions have at one point or another condemned gossip as at the very least a waste of time better spent on loftier pursuits. Loose lips sink ships-- friendships, business relationships, political alliances, reputations have been destroyed by someone itching to know (or tell) who was banging whose wife. Where does one draw the line between pursuing a legitimate amount and type of information vs. beeing a peeping tom or a village hen? If there's a middle way between the extremes of being totally lost (therefore dumb of boring) and being an old hen (irredeemable gossip) or a paranoid raptor ("Minister of Information"), not enough people have found it.

The grand and laughable irony that confronts me is that my abilities, and those of my colleagues, lie in peddling information and coddling old hens.

Love Poems II

...My soul cries in the nightmare of my long night
Yet there is darkness while you are away. . .
Please return the sun into my life.

Reasons for NOT handing the poem fragment to your significant other and passing it off as your own, ESPECIALLY if your significant other is a student of history: 1) its author was one Ferdinand "Fred" (or "Andy") Marcos; and 2) he dedicated it to his wife, Imelda, sometime after his affair with one Dovie Beams was made very public, to Andy's great pain.

DEX NEXT: "I Can Talk About It Now" and (maybe) "The Nature of Nakedness"

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