January 27, 2007

Pardon Me, But Your Gap is Showing

I know I'm old.

How do I know? Because I listen to the Significant Other's iPod at work. While that in itself isn't specifically a precursor to senility and osteoporosis, the reaction I got recently is a sure sign of aging.

Here's what I mean: I've got quite a mix of music, and I wanted to bring in a playlist that had some variety on it, but was all stuff that kept me up for the shift. I've got speakers for the pod, so while I try to keep it at a reasonable, others will hear what I'm playing. One of the coworkers is a young guy, 17 or 18 or so, an when he heard Eminem playing, he smiled and said "Dude". Then he heard the Black Eyed Peas, and Lou Bega, and Nickelback, and Marilyn Manson. His jaw dropped and let out this gem:

"I can't believe you're playing that!"

Now this may have simply been a matter of taste, but he assured me that he liked what I was playing. I was bemused at his excalmation, until I realised that when Elvis, Warren Zevon, Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly played, his total response was bupkus. Nothing.

Conclusion? That was the music he expected me to be playing, so no surprise there. After all, I am old...

Then there's the other side of the equation. My dad is a relatively new arrival to the world of computers, so he's still in the "sending along helpful information" stage, meaning we've had a few exchanges about politics to go with a side of spam.

Of the latest exchange, he sent along a piece of "Outrageous Lawsuits!!!" drivel. It's a bit of spam that's been around since at least 2001 (according to Snopes), and I told him as much, sending along a link to Snopes and an explanation. He sent back:

"The others are real as reported in the media with the exception of the winner in the Winnebago. That is a real event which happened years ago[...]"

Grk. I replied that no, it's not: the entire list is mentioned specifically by the group that this email supposedly issued from as false. They are, first and formost, concerned with strange and stupid lawsuits, and this didn't exist anywhere, in the records of any court in America. I provided links there, and explained that the date of the email (2005) was far newer than the email itself, so it looks mighty fishy, doesn't it? His answer:

"I did read about the Winnebago one years ago in the media. I think it was in Washington state. The idjits didn't try to sue, who could they sue? besides it was real and they were too embarrased to sue."

At this point, I'm not even going to bother pointing out that the whole point of the email was to rail against excesses in the courts, so if this didn't go to court, why was it included; and that the reason urban legends existis because poeple "heard about them", but always in vague details; and that our most recent exchange was all about his complaining that the media was in the hands of too few people, and my counter that the internet provides a whole new source of information that cannot be isolated because of its location, so long as people use it. Irony alert!

The local daily newspapers aren't bad, though they are all owned by a single person (Hi, Izzy!); my point is that if I find a story, editorial, or even advertisement that interests me there, I can still go on line and find other sources for differing perspectives of the same story. I decide who I trust (Snopes is one of them; The Straight Dope is another), and I can even check them if I'd like.

Some of this comes from just being a suspicious bastard, but some grows out of experience; my list of Favorites is in a constant state of flux, depending on the resources I find, the research I want to do, stories that interest me, and frankly whatever amuses me at the moment.

The point being that the technology is there to be used by anyone who can access it. What matters is being able to discern what it is you want from what you are using.


posted by Thursday at 6:54 pm


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