Announcing the Grumpy Gus 3.0 Awards!

Seriously, did someone set my time machine back to 1998? Not only do we have frightening legislative overreactions to the booga-booga threat of online child porn, but a rash of curmudgeonly complaints about cyber-life straight outta early Brill's Content.

James O'Shea, CNN.com:

Contemporary media ethics have been sliding downhill ever since the Internet gave voice to the likes of Matt Drudge, the blogger who reportedly got his start rooting through trash cans at CBS Studios in Hollywood looking for gossip in the 1990s.

Note that this comes in a column about the utterly unrelated News of the World scandal (though it's also cribbed almost word for word from O'Shea's book The Deal from Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers, which I reviewed for the Wall Street Journal).

Let's see, what else can bring back the much-lamented late '90s? Can I hear some barkety-bark about "cyber-libertarian digital prophets"? Evgeny Morozov of The American Prospect [UK], come on down!

[E]mpowerment was supposed to come through the removal of intermediaries. Mainstream media outlets were to be replaced by bulletin boards, e-zines and later by forums and blogs. Elected representatives were to be replaced by "electronic townhalls" and direct online voting. [...]

Overall, this vision of a world without intermediaries satisfied the communitarian former hippies and the libertarian anti-system cyber-pundits. They both wanted the internet to "flatten" the world, by which they meant level things out—make things fairer. [...] That former hippies found themselves dining with venture capitalists only seemed to confirm the great bridging potential of the internet. The ex-hippies genuinely believed that all their utopian blueprints could be executed with the help of private capital. [...]

While we are being empowered as consumers, we are simultaneously being disempowered as citizens, something that the cyber-libertarian digital prophets didn't foresee. "Electronic town halls" never took off either. When Barack Obama tried to hold one shortly after being elected president, the most popular question posed to him concerned the legalisation of marijuana. The internet does not and cannot replace politics—it augments and amplifies it. The Tea Party in the US does not limit its activism to social media, but uses it as part of a broader political campaign. Politics is still primary and technology secondary.

The whole article is, if anything, even more stupid than the above passage (my favorite line: "Why the venture capitalists found the internet so appealing is a mystery"). What a bizarre worldview, where individuals asking the president of the United States about a technically insane and inhumane policy of marijuana prohibition (a question most credentialed journalists are too embarrassed to bring up) is proof that, um, individuals are being disempowered?

The surprise entrant in this nostalgia trip is one of my favorite writers, Reason contributor Jonathan Rauch, writing a guest-post over at Andrew Sullivan's joint:

[M]y mild, moderate, think-it-through-and-get-it-right style doesn't mesh well with blogosphere culture, which seems more to resemble, say, Roman gladiatorial entertainment, only without the subtlety. Plus...I'm not getting paid. That's good for you, but it's not so good for me. Or for reporting. Or for journalism. And don't even get me started on commenters.

Am I whining? Sure. But I submit that the whining of traditional journalists (you know, the kind of people who punched their tickets on newspaper police beats where they learned quaint notions of fairness and accuracy and keeping one's opinions out of it and all that) is nothing compared to the self-congratulatory smugness of internet culture, which tells us at least five times before breakfast that it is the Great New Thing.

It isn't. For people who want to read and think, which is still a lot of people, the worldwide web is an incorrigibly hostile environment. [...]

If some strange magnetic pulse wiped out every blog post written since the format began, hardly anything memorable or important would be lost

Sniff sniff, Rauchy!

But for sheer psychosexual WTFery, today's Grumpy Gus 3.0 Award goes to Stephen Tippins, for his cover story in The American Conserative:

Kenny reaches into his front jeans pocket and retrieves his smart phone. Within minutes he has accessed his Facebook account and the table is passing his phone around from one person to another, like kindergartners at show and tell, each taking turns looking at the Facebook page of one Henrik Bjornson, which lives up to all its shallow hype. [...]

I'm living in a Gene Rodenberry teleplay. Minus the space exploration. [...]

Most Rodenberry-esque, though, are these women. Oohing and aahing over Henrik, they are about as alien as the Borg and about as soulless. Of course, they are blissfully ignorant of this fact, but that is beside the point—or maybe it reinforces the point.... The feminist movement was consummated at least two generations ago, but the aggression continues. Eventually, the post-feminist woman, believing that she epitomizes equality and choice, will assimilate all men into her collective, until we all resemble either the metrosexual Henrik or the spineless runts that these women dominate at home.

The modern man is a perfectly emasculated descendant of his ancestors. In fairness, men are to blame for the defeat—men like Henrik, for example, who think "poking" is some kind of foreplay. Maybe we really are the weaker species; maybe we deserve to be eradicated.

Looks like we've finally found some people to take the million-dollar pledge....

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Stephen Tippins has a handful of bad-wiring. Sounds like he's about one more status update away from shooting up a women's aerobics class.

    People truly secure in their masculinity don't obsess about the masculinity of other men.

  • Warty||

    I sometimes want to forcibly shave the ironic beards off hipsters. Is that the same thing as obsessing about their masculinity?

  • Bingo||

    It's ironic mustaches now, get with the times you neanderthal.

  • ||

    "Is this mustache wax vegan?"

    "Why? Were you planning on eating it?"

  • YouLube||

    That's not what it's for.

  • ||

    mustache wax isn't for removing mustaches, if that's the sort of waxing you were thinking of, YouLube.

  • SIV||

  • AlmightyJB||

    What do you mean dramatization? That really happened. Also, the Eric Prydz Call On Me video that came up after after this one? All I can say is "Damn".

  • Bingo||

    It's bizarre that he finds women titillating over an attractive man to be some aberration. Like that never happened before facebook.

  • Brett L||

    I think maybe its that the (gay?) guy is perpetrating it?

  • Bingo||

    Seems to me like one of those "doth protest too much" situations. I wouldn't be surprised if Tippins gets caught cruising for twinks in the local pick up spot.

  • ||

  • T||

    You can't fool me. That's Rosie O'Donnel 50 pounds ago.

  • ||

    i thought the comparison to show'n'tell was bizarre. Was that behavior somehow more mature when it was a plastic sleeve full of the same sort of boring-ass photos no one wants to look at?

  • ||

    "Kaboom! That's the sound of the thunderous volcanic explosion that gives birth to the magnificent geode, one of nature's most--"

  • Warty||

    And don't even get me started on commenters.

    Well, sure. We're total assholes.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Speak for yourself, fuckface.

  • ||

    I think that we can all agree that everyone here other than me is a total cockstain.

  • Warty||

    You're the worst of the lot, you raccoon-organed dicksnorter.

  • ||

    That's big talk coming from a lice-spewing dogwhore.

  • Warty||

    Lice are the kitties of parasites.

  • ||

    I shall be your doom, you micron-becocked turdbumbler.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It's true. They were going to make the Sugarfree the official unit of measure for internet commentors, but they ran into trouble when even ubertrolls like urkobold, ZODIAC MOTHERFUCKER, and Lonewhacko only registered at negative 2 to 3 femtoSugarFrees. You're like a neutron star of anguish and horror.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I love this place. I thought I learned all of my cusswords while caddying for my dad and his buddies in 1979. Then I discovered Hit and Run and realized there is more to cursing than just mixing and matching the good old standby vocabulary.

    Still, I think the Russians have got us all beat in this category. Clocking in at 521 pages, I give you the Russian Curses Dictionary.

  • T||

    Tease, linking to out-of-print books like that. Some of us don't work in reference libraries with fancy inter-library loans.

  • Brett L||

    The 4 of us who aren't sockpuppets disagree!

  • I||

    agree with Brett L.

  • Me||

    too!

  • Aren't||

    I hilarious?

  • Yes||

    , I am

  • ||

    3

  • YouLube||

    SugarFree: Even less than a cockstain

  • Warty||

    You try very hard at this and do a very bad job.

  • Mainer||

    SF, you are on the endangered feces list.

  • Tim||

    What a bunch of assholes you guys are. Wait...Deja Vu.

  • ||

    Hey guys, I was in a meeting, what goin' on...oh.

  • ||

    I'm the cock, you all are the stain!

  • Sudden||

    You are what you eat...

  • ||

    Yeah, your mom is sort of a dick.

  • Otto Sparky||

    You pompous, stuck-up, snot-nosed, English, giant, twerp, scumbag, fuck-face, dickhead, asshole.

  • ||

    Ironic that commenters online are presumed to be inferior to...what exactly? Letters to the editor? My local paper recently had a letter complaining that the president uses a new pen to sign every piece of legislation. That's better public discourse? or does Rauch really just mean that it's all better when noone gets to say anything that contradicts what he wants to say?

  • Tim||

    "Letters to the Editor" is where you still have to SUBMIT to the legacy press for content, vocabulary and metaphor.

  • ||

    My home town paper edits the content of letters to the editor. I am not talking about spelling and punctuation either. They change whole sentences and meaning.

  • ||

    Brad de Douche does that to the comments at his blog.

  • SIV||

    WTF is with the people who thought Obama would legalize weed? Are they brain-damaged from drug use? Easily lead dupes of the Democrat Party? "Racists" who think all Black people smoke marijuana?

  • Pi||

    All of the above, with the added caveat:

    Statist boot lickers

  • PIRS||

    I remember some people who thought the same thing about Clinton - partly because he said when asked about it that he "Didn't inhale".

    Of course we know how that turned out.

  • Mainer||

    I thought all black people smoked crack.

  • Sudden||

    It was on Intervention last night....

  • ||

    Everyone knows that Democrats are in favor of marijuana legalization. Duh.

  • Michael||

    ...Evgeny Morozov of The American Prospect...

    I don't think that Prospect and The American Prospect are related in any way.

  • Matt Welch||

    Thanks, my bad.

  • Tim||

    Asshole.

  • Sudden||

    Urethra-dwelling ratfucker

  • Tim||

    Meme jumping proto-degenerate!

  • Sudden||

    Used-tampon-q-tipping sub-troglodyte

  • Tim||

    Sock Cucking whore's gynecologist!

  • Sudden||

    You are the man from one man, one jar.

    Czech Australian-colloquial-term-for-friend.

  • Tim||

    You binxed Jar-Jar.

  • PIRS||

    "Many people who voted for Obama would like to legalize pot. Some even voted for him *because* of that. So, the fact that these people, unlike professional journalists, want to use the Internet to ask him about his very disappointing performance on this important and deadly bit of public policy mostly proves that the Internet disempowers individuals. Seriously, American Prospect, what the living fuck?"

    To some, questioning the Emperor disempowers those the Emperor claims to represent. You see, to statists, the Emperor *IS* the state, *IS* the people. This is why the gullible agree to be Kamakazi pilots for the Emperor.

  • Warty||

    maybe we deserve to be eradicated.

    I think this same thought fairly often.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yeah, Adama's speech from the first episode of BSG pops into my mind any time I read about something that could destroy the country or the whole human race.

  • Warty||

    Remember all that shit that made no sense? Angels!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Angels? I don't know what you're talking about. BSG ended when they landed on New Caprica.

  • Tim||

    Turned oput everybody was a fucking cylon. And an asshole.

  • ||

    It was all downhill after "33."

  • Tim||

    "Ressurrection ship" was the last one that really had me. Ron Moore was phoning it in after that.

  • ||

    No, Warty, you don't get it! Starbuck was an angel! See?!?

  • Warty||

    Remember that dawning realization, as you watched the last episiodes, that you'd been cheated? And remember how you hoped that the last episode would make everything right? It was sadder than a sack of drowned puppies.

  • Tim||

    I wonder how much they enjoyed wiping their asses with old leaves and getting raped by Homo Erectus?

  • ||

    What? It totally made sense to send the ships into to the sun. I mean, the Cylons only found them dozens of times, what were the chances they could ever find them again?

  • Tim||

    They did find them, and laughed themselves silly.
    "We were afraid of these douches?"

  • ||

    Yes, they did. The secret coordinates were encoded into the Duran Duran cover of "Lay Lady Lay."

  • Tim||

    (shakes head) the wounds still bleed.

  • ||

    They did find them, and laughed themselves silly.
    "We were afraid of these douches?"

    The scary thing is that there were 1000s of people in the fleet.

    I find it hard to believe that every single person agreed to give up on civilization to join the hippy commune.

    So in essence those people who did not want to leave the ships were forced through threat of violence to give up technology.

  • Jordan||

    Being one with nature is my antibiotic!

  • ||

    I knew, in my heart, what was coming. But I had to watch, and see if they disappointed me as much as I feared...or more. It was more.

  • Tim||

    I take some satisfaction that Ron Moore's career went in the shitter after he let BSG wither.

  • Hugh Akston||

    He should get cancer, have it cured by fetal blood, then get it again when his life is running low on dramatic pathos.

  • Otto||

    I saw it coming, and stopped watching at the end of the third season.

    The sad thing is, if he'd just reversed it - "The plan" being that cylons were working on becoming human, but superhuman - it would have worked much better.

  • ||

    No, I don't remember that, because I didn't watch. My infallible rule is: if the wife watches it religiously, it's sure to be a stupid show.

    NEVER been wrong.

  • ||

    if the wife watches it religiously, it's sure to be a stupid show.

    NEVER been wrong.

    The first 2 years the show was not stupid.

    So you were wrong on this one.

  • ||

    Fair enough. I was wrong for two years and right for . . . ? (I honestly don't know.)

    Now Lost, I knew from the very first that there was no way they'd ever make it make sense.

  • ||

  • ||

    The Lost ending and the Battlestar Galactica ending both made The Soprano's ending look good.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Starbuck kicked ass. Also, #6 made every episode worth watching anyway.

  • Jim||

    Thanks, that's the biggest collection of "WTF!?" fail quotes I've seen in one place at one time in at least a week.

    And the obsession with some sort of feminist collective assimiliation is just bizarre.

  • Michael||

    I don't know who this Stephen Tippins is, but I'll be damned if that isn't the most curmudgeonly lamentation I've read in a long time; right down to the author's name. Bonus points for a "smart phone" that pulls up Facebook in "minutes". Wow.

  • ||

    Bonus points for a "smart phone" that pulls up Facebook in "minutes". Wow.

    Clearly an iPhone on the AT+T netowrk

  • Zuo||

    LOL +1

  • Jeff P||

    So, the POV I shoot with my phone of girls with ear buds and bluetooths giving me head while their moans of delight are auto-tuned make me emasculated?

  • Bingo||

    Something tells me that this is more up Tippins alley (No pun intended).

    NTTAWWT

  • ||

    So, the POV I shoot with my phone of girls with ear buds and bluetooths giving me head while their moans of delight are auto-tuned make me emasculated?

    No, it makes you T-Pain.

  • SIV||

    Matt,

    We need your American Conservative password to RTFA.

  • Sudden||

    Don't lie SIV, we know you already have your own pw

  • ||

    In a way though, I do agree with Mr. Rauch. I'm only 22 years old, but I am of the slow-down-think-it-over school of thought. That doesn't mean I hate blogs, or that I want them dead. I just don't find them excessively appealing. It's a personal preference. I like everything else about the internet though.

  • Brett L||

    And thus you also conclude the Andrew Sullivan's vagina blogging is one of the few good uses of the medium? Because that's where he lost me.

  • Zuo||

    Look, the advantage of blogs is that they're are millions of 'em and they cater to the interests of their consumers (who don't even have to pay!) If I go to whatever POS newspaper has a captive monopoly on my market, it'll be stories about the local GOP Boogeyman of the Week, human interest stories about boring court cases or prairie dog farmers, and administration-fellation on the latest statist overreach or foreign misadventure. Same for any weekly "news" mag. I can easily find blogs that cater to the stories I'M interested in. Facts are facts, and the editorilization on blogs is a more welcome addition to those facts than the ramblings of a bootlicking madman.

    Rauch rauchted hisself stupid, straight into progressivism.

  • Shorter Null Void||

    PRON!!!!!11!!11

  • ||

    This story just poppped up on my push news client, point cast. It's about some senator who's a real maverick and they reckon he might run for president!

  • Zuo||

    Next thing you know the political war about guns and the second ammendment will return to being the #1 issue.

    Can we win another go round?

  • Joe M||

    While we are being empowered as consumers, we are simultaneously being disempowered as citizens, something that the cyber-libertarian digital prophets didn't foresee. "Electronic town halls" never took off either. When Barack Obama tried to hold one shortly after being elected president, the most popular question posed to him concerned the legalisation of marijuana

    What clearly happened is he didn't like what the people were saying, so he canceled the concept. The concept was good.

    For people who want to read and think, which is still a lot of people, the worldwide web is an incorrigibly hostile environment.

    Wow, you are seriously doing it wrong if you really believe that.

  • ||

    What clearly happened is he didn't like what the people were saying, so he canceled the concept.

    I think you nailed it. He's following an age old rule: don't let anyone ask the question if you can't live with the answer.

  • Old Mexican||

    While we are being empowered as consumers, we are simultaneously being disempowered as citizens, something that the cyber-libertarian digital prophets didn't foresee.


    Not that being empowered as citizens really matters... So I don't understand the dilemma.

    "Electronic town halls" never took off either.


    Where? In downtown Pluto? Where is this guy coming from?

  • Citizen Simpson||

    We'd always have walking-bird on Thanksgiving, with all the trimmings: cranberries, injun eyes, yams stuffed with gunpowder. Then we'd all watch football, which in those days was called baseball...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Back then, wealthy men would ride around in Zeppelins dropping coins on people.

  • Mainer||

    we wore an onion on our belt

  • Hugh Akston||

    We used to get spanked by Presidents all the time. Grover Cleveland spanked me on two non-consecutive occasions.

  • Au H20||

    When I was a boy, we had a parade every day.

  • Bee Tagger||

    The internet does not and cannot replace politics—it augments and amplifies it.

    I'm not sure if should I try to figure out what "the internet will replace politics" means first, or just go ahead and point out that I don't know of anyone actually making that argument.

  • ||

    What the fuck is a 'henrik bjorson(sp?-don't car)'?

  • ||

    e

  • Michael||

    That cover of The American Conservative is as good an excuse as any to post the following:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWtNWTETYoU

  • Warty||

    Have some Responsible Journalism. Not like that shit that's on the fucking internet.

  • ||

    For it to work, you must first be Facebook "friends" with your target.

    [GASP]

  • Tim||

    "facebook fiends"?

  • ||

    Apple's App Store, for example, offers Drivers License software that promises "unlimited access to realistic-looking licenses" for all 50 states. Though the phony licenses are advertised as entertainment, it's not hard to imagine a minor using one to try to get into a bar or a crook trying to pass a bad check.

    Uh, yes, yes it is.

    Unless the author actually imagines a 15 year old handing his iPhone to a bouncer with his Fake ID App all ready to go, how many steps are there from "App on the phone" to "Fake ID in hand"? The state DMV has pictures of licenses on their website, OMG THEY ARE AIDING LAWBREAKERS

  • ¢||

    surprise entrant

    You really need to stop being surprised by this sort of thing.

  • ||

    Looks like we've finally found some people to take the million-dollar pledge....

    Minecraft is updated over the internet...and any Minecraft news can only be found over the internet...as well as howto videos and its Wiki.

    A million dollars is not enough to abandon all that.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wasn't it Schumer who compared talk radio to pornography?

    The stoopid is getting deeper here...

  • Brett L||

    Schumer is kind of a bottomless pit. The ne plus ultra of stupid utterances. Seriously. Biden is only the penultimate pit of vapidity when Chucky is in the room.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    True, but that statement really had industrial-strength stupid that even Biden couldn't muster.

  • Echton||

    Penultimate means second to the top.

  • Brett L||

  • Brett L||

  • Brett L||

    Fuck you, squirrels.

  • Otto||

    While I don't agree with these jagoffs, I must say that social networking blows goats. I joined LinkedIn as a favor to a friend (who worked in sales, and needed to show his boss how many people he had in his network). Ever since then, I get link up invites from douchebags at the company I used to work for. I don't want to talk to you assholes anymore, that's why I quit. Is that really so hard to understand?

  • Brett L||

    Who the hell wants to be a part of WorkBook except sales guys and mid-level management?

  • Otto||

    Zactly.

  • ||

    What a bizarre worldview, where individuals asking the president of the United States about a technically insane and inhumane policy of marijuana prohibition (a question most credentialed journalists are too embarrassed to bring up) is proof that, um, individuals are being disempowered?

    The press is the public therefor the less powerful the press is the less powerful the public is. When the public voices their concerns outside the press they are only weakening the press and therefor themselves.

    I think the press is perhaps the most disillusioned entrenched power our county has. The sad thing is that they are supposed to be eyes wide open when it comes to power and how it is used. It is their job to report on the subject.

  • Matt Welch||

    That first graf there is a frighteningly spot-on description.

  • a||

    Jonathan Rauch is one of your favorite writers? Really? Or are you just contractually required to say that?

  • Matt Welch||

    "Kindly Inquisitors" is one of my favorite books of political argument ever. I've long been a fan.

  • a||

    Thanks. I'll check it out, but I'm going to be very disappointed if it's anything like everything else I've read by him.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Waaaay back in '99, Bush Version 2.0 stated - briefly, before his handlers coughed and refined his words after the fact - that states should have the right to set their own medical-marijuana policies.

    Wasn't enough to make ME vote for him, and neither were Obama's lame-assed similar statements on the general pot issue.

    Because politicians lie, and the higher the office being sought, the bigger the lies told.

  • ||

    Am I the only one who thinks it's a bit odd to refer to Drudge as a "blogger"?

    And what exactly is wrong with his ethics? That he links to things that James O'Shea doesn't think should be linked to? How does that rate on the journalism ethics scale next to, say, CNN going easy on Saddam's Iraq in order to maintain access?

  • ||

    Best part of that Tippin link? The guy is baffled by a remote car starter.....which have been around for at least 30-40 years.

  • scarpe Nike Store||

    is good

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