Tom Sherman on 28 Dec 2000 17:03:56 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] STOP THE INANITY


Stop the inanity, please.  I'm being buried with meaningless crap.  Crap
generated for no good reason, by people going through the motions.  
Either they're under the illusion they're being productive by issuing
personal statements on absolutely everything, or they're convinced they're
actually bigger, more important people, because they're leaving their mark
far and wide.
Those who hold their tongue are soon forgotten.  Those who hold their
thoughts will simply be overwhelmed and disappear.  People who choose
their words wisely will be buried alive by the indiscriminate
pontificators, those with identities maintained by spewing continuous
personal diatribes on absolutely everything.  They issue high volumes of
drivel in order to assert, and maintain a case for, their very existence.

These self-centred beacons of malignant personality are simply filling a
social vacuum.  Enduring long, socially bankrupt hours at their
'work-stations,' they enjoy a surplus of privacy in their respective
remote locations, but feel a definite need to participate in a kind of
simulated office banter.  In this way listserves linking
communities-of-interest simulate highrise office complexes, where
co-workers actually still rub elbows over coffee pots and water coolers
while simultaneously really keeping in touch through e-communication.  
Remotely networked co-workers also crave day-to-day contact with each
other.  In the absence of daily physical contact, this simulated office
banter quickly revs up and becomes the surrogate display of the group's
cohabitation on a specific network or list.  Labour-nets provide the
breeding ground for insider-attitudes, thus promoting the formulation of
semi-coherent mission directives.

There is another side to this simulated, surrogate-office scenario.  Many
of the most energetic, totally obsessive personal transmitters garner
energy from their frustration with the banality of their screen-based 'day
jobs.' Their outreach is driven by a negative momentum: a virtual
workplace hostility.

These individuals, if they make their living shackled to a keyboard and
computer screen, find themselves perpetually on-line, and available for
comment on absolutely everything.  Designers, programmers, writers,
animators, etc., etc., many of them self-employed and telecommuting, find
their loneliness more tolerable if they are reaching out and making
contact with others in domains supplementary to their compensatory labour.

These peripheral, diversionary exchanges perforate and are feathered into
normal workday routines.  Unfortunately such attempts at interpersonal
communication are often systematically pursued and practiced like
advertising or other forms of pedantic, pushy influence.  The last word is
never the last word.  Like an unsuccessful attempt to scratch out an itch,
the transmission process amounts to nothing more than a persistent,
relentless manifestation of presence, mere proof of existence, a vaguely
self-affirming pulse, a bare-bones signifier of survival...  A form of
cranky S.O.S., a psychological Mayday...

Tom Sherman

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