On Sunday I went to the movies with some friends. The idea was to see the new Harry Potter but one of my pals ‘wasn’t ready for it yet’ so we decided on viewing The Social Network. The facebook movie was good but it was missing something… OH YEAH! GIRLS! Women make up more then half of the population and in the movie about the ‘biggest’ thing to happen to our world since the internet itself they were no where to be found!

Others may say ‘Hey! What about that crazy Asian groupie turned girlfriend character?” or ‘what about the idea that the fuel behind the fire of facebook was the protagonists want to spite his ex-girlfriend?’ to this I say: What about it?

I don’t think that it is enough. We have moved from an agrarian/rural race, to an urban race and we are now becoming a cyber race, for it is online where we now ‘live’ a great portion of our lives, and in our new world woman are poorly represented.

The situation is worse then poor representation, it’s not simply that women and girls are disinterested in internet culture, it’s also that their participation is discouraged.

In online communities like 4chan their rule 16 of the rules of the internet is ‘there are no girls on the internet’. This means that in this place of 24 hour, anything goes, pure democratic discourse girls aren’t allowed? Welllllll no. There are no physical restraints keeping girls off the internet, but, there is an attitude and a stigma towards female screen names that can’t be denied and really discourages female participation.

This discouragement has lead a lot of women interested in online culture to chose to be “anonymiss”. Anonymiss’s post and interact in these online worlds under false gender pretenses. They are like Mulan, expect instead of going to war in china they are just using their laptops and getting their opinions out there.

Man-o-man, you’d think as we go ‘where no man has gone before’ that girls would be allowed too! Hmmmm … maybe after the internet has been around for 50 odd years.



Once upon a time the internet came along. With it came many opinions of what its future and legacy will be. At the forefront of the debate surrounding the power of the internet emerged a dichotomy of ideas. One side saw the internet as a utopia, a realm of perfect freedom and a democratization. The other adopted a Dystopian ideal where the internet will be used as a tool for perfect surveillance and control. Now, neither has happened, but the fear of the later is still present. The view is that with the normalization of the internet it will soon grow to mirror the same high level of centralization present in other media realms e.i radio.

But SMILE because it hasn’t happened yet!

Why would it suck if it did?

Well, because the internet is used mostly as a social tool, as a place for expression and response. Hence, if it were to be subjected to higher levels of control we would be loosing this group conversation. For, group conversation has often been seen by those in power as a threat, and the elimination of threat is the intention of surveillance and control.

So! Where am I going with all this? Nowhere really, I just felt like stating where we are and what we have to lose in the hopes that people in western democracies don’t take our internet freedom for granted. So we don’t take our online group conversation for granted…even if they are concerned primarily with useless memes.

In the first chapter of The Empire of Mind, this idea of the constraints on thought is introduced. The constraints are manifested in dominant symbols which have the power to establish limits to thought. These constraints should sound threatening for it is believed by some that humans evolve using culture to pass on messages and bring up the next generation.

This being said, I posted the video at the top of this post to function as a beacon of hope. It is a video and hence cultural/art centric product that does not appear to show the sings of censored or constrained thought.

By contrast, it incorporates many symbols found in the niche levels of amateur culture. The use of base level graphics, and amateur style editing, are still catering to and conveying an established thought but one that is counter to the dominate. The dialogue is very chat inspired and the characters are obviously ironic in their opposition to the “shiny” and “sexy” characters of most music videos.

The power found in the “thought” direction of this video, directed by Eric Wareheim of the Surreal sketch comedy series Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, is in its counter-culture identify. It is providing an alternative thought narrative for people to consume; tapering the power of the dominate solicited thought… mildly.

Hence, having alternatives to the dominate can be comforting to those who don’t see constrained thought as creating worthy culture to pass down messages to our next generation.

The home life.

The home used to be a secret place. It was one in which families were sheltered from the prying eyes of the world. It was a simpler time for the level of accountability or judgement to the community and by the community was shallow.

The image on the left is significant as a commentary of communication during previous eras. People could be ignorant and mysterious about their “issues”. Mild PSA of the like presented in this image were common place as a way of uniting the alienated population.

Today we seek out reassurance in our contemporaries on the internet. There is no need for these PSA for if ma and pa are worried about their punk kid they can google solutions.

But with this sharing of information what is abnormal has lost some of the potency it once had.

Home videos used to be a filtered view. Family photos where posed and when the curtains were closed your family was unknown.

Today we have a window to the world, and them to us, with the videos we post. The aesthetic norms that governed the boomer generation has been diluted through exposure to alternatives.

Media was bringing the alternatives into the public domain back then but now the consumer, with the help of programs like youtube, has the power this power too.



I like being reminded of this!
I’m going to have to tune into some children’s channels to see if they have kept up these messages! To see if they still care about those young consumers. I hope they DO!

I miss the house hippo

What ever happened to these public service announcements?
The kind of commercial that confronts the public, the consumer, with the idea of critical consumption. In our current “reality” tv climate  perhaps more PSA’s  with similar messages as this one this would be nice.