News, views and what I choose to dos

Technobile – amusing myself

Category : Funny, Internet, Journalism, Technology ยท by Aug 6th, 2009

Purely by accident I just came across a “technobile” column piece that I wrote for the Guardian a few years ago. I have to say I amused myself. Posted below but grabbed from the Guardian site:


Concerns grow about internet users who are dangerously addicted to Google. Quick, read it now!

I can’t believe Google gives no results for “Internet Derived Lethargic Episode”, because the search engine is a major cause of IDLE. It is a particularly destructive illness where the victim, having spent days working at their computer, awakens to discover they can barely recall a single event, save a joke about the Lib Dems.

Bombarded by stimuli, the victim ends up in a state of highly excited lethargy where any activity taking longer than 30 seconds is too tiring to tackle. The brain, fizzing with chemicals, produces an effect similar to a caffeine overdose but combined with dangerously high levels of pathos. Overfilled with trivia, the sufferer can often be found transfixed in front of his computer.

Electronic doubt and pixelated anxiety drive some to self-harm – purchasing worthless articles of nostalgia from auction sites or entering into fruitless chatroom discussions.

Doctors are concerned about the spate of otherwise normal adults presenting with an array of symptoms and emoticons, and have called for an independent commission into IDLE. Many fear it is too little, too late.

“I receive over 3,000 headlines through RSS feeds every day,” one man posted on a site dedicated to sufferers. Another spoke of how he hadn’t correctly spelt the word “great” in two years.

Matthew, 26, boasted of how he would know the details of a major news event minutes before his peers. “I used to have all the facts, plus a witty analysis on my blog before anyone had even heard of it.” Now he cuts a forlorn figure in the Berners-Lee hospital in Waddington and can’t even remember what the current version of Firefox is.

Victims often don’t realise they have the disease until it is too late, Idle specialist Professor John Trillian told me. Worst of all, it strikes hardest at those with creative minds. “Ginsberg wrote: ‘I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness’,” Trillian explains. “Now young minds are being destroyed by the ability to discover within seconds that fact, the date it was first said, where, and who Ginsberg was sleeping with at the time through a simple Google search. As a result, knowledge is built in a haphazard, disconnected fashion with no effort made to discover context. We are building a generation of cultural magpies.”

As if to explain, Trillian handed over a poem written by an Idle patient.

The emails are not wanted now; delete every one,
Pack up the Apache and dismantle the Sun,
Tear up the superhighway and power down the net;
For nothing online will ever give what you get.

“WH Auden would have flamed him,” Trillian said gravely.


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