Advancing Technology

Beat the Monkey: Swingin' on the Internet

by Bobby Mitchell

Sometime ago, I remember there bein a discussion sump'n to the effect of the 'Net not really bein very hip 'cos it was developed by the US Department of Defense, rabble n babble and so forth n so on. The foregoing statements are all very twoo - the Internet was a cold war tool developed to fight them bad Russians - ugh! But ... !

That's kinda like sayin Velcro has no use 'cos it was developed by NASA ...

But I'll tell ya's: I've been thankful for Velcro ever since my surgery, for were it not for the material, I'd hafta wear a 40 pound plaster cast, rather than an 8 pound plastic and Velcro backbrace.

And besides ...

Somewhere along the line some cyber-crazies got their mitts on the 'Net and turned it into an anarchic free-for-all, beating the army at its own silly game. Now rather than just having some Black Op logging on merely to find strategic sites of Russkie ICBMs, you also have kids with pink n green hair goin online to create their own interactive games, steal software and possibly even sabotage a few military sites here n there just outta spite.

Millions of people check on to the worldwide web every day. Many are like your Aunt Jo who just wantsta find the Betty Crocker Webpage and write an e-mail message or two while she's at it. But for every person like your Aunt Jo who uses the Web as an info-based medium, there are also those cyber-nuts who just wanna have some kicks. They wanna be entertained. They're like the proverbial Remote Brat: channel surfing the tube, jamming on some really intense game boy/playstation rot, then they get in their cars and go channel-hopping up n down the radio dial the entire time they're driving from points "A" to "Z."

I belong to that last crowd: got the attention span of a baby gerbil. The main diff between me n that gerbil is I don't gnaw on woodchips.

And while many sign onto the Web with a specific destination in mind - I tend to go on with kind of an open mind about things: meaning, I don't have a clue as to what I'm gonna do. I have hundreds of bookmarks I never visit. And then I'll prime the pump and fire up the search engine and type in sump'n like "God's Cadillac" then punch "go" to see where it takes me. I mean, I don't have any more of an idea why I'd write "God's Cadillac" than you might. But in order to find that special sump'n you might not otherwise know you are searching for, you hafta think beyond the normal lexicographical uses of the English language.

So, let's see ... I type in "God's Cadillac" and whadda I get ... ? The United Methodist Church of Cadillac, Mich. is the first thing that pops up. But then I browse down and notice a site for the Cadillac Angels - an "Americana" group that's played with the likes of Link Wray, Wanda Jackson and Dick Dale, among others ... !

It's not a particularly extensive list. So, I go back to my search engine, type in "Venusian Anarchists with a Hard-On for Justice," hit "go" and up pops a link for the Venusian Church - Sex is Divine. And in the summary, it sez: "Enjoy pornography & an erotic orgasm." The next entry begs the question "Why is anarchy called libertarian socialism?" but offers no answers. I find that it's also a dead link. Hmmm. Then, there's a site called Venus Shop that tells ya how to get property on Venus. And I'm thinkin, like, yeah ... well - I gotta pretty neat bridge to sell to anybody who's sent in his check for that property on Venus ... ! Next, there's sump'n called Veganarchy Homepages that has a hard-on about saving humanity, loving your animals and preserving the ecology - I think it was based in California, but I'm not too sure. But I bookmarked it just in case I ever feel like I need to save the planet.

I keep on scrolling ...

I get lists of prominent anarchists (how ironic!), a site called the New Society of Anarchists in Milwaukee(!!), and finally I get another listing for "The Ministry," and I'm back where I began. The summary states, " ... the Venusian Church has several openings for individuals interested in a very unique and rewarding job opportunity with the Venusian Church Priesthood."

There is so much stuff on the Web, you can type in a word like "zits" and get 4 million hits. But you'd better know how to spell "Codrescu" or you won't get a damn thing! Sometimes, tho, I just make up words to see if there's a site for em. And much to my surprise I'll occasionally find some hits! It's just that they all appear to be in Germany ... !

But the point is, if you're gonna surf the 'Net, you gotta stay fast n loose - go tubular, stay outta the wash, and shoot on thru straight into the sun!

I mean, one day I happened to type "beat the monkey" into my search engine, hit "go" and ended up cruising thru Cyberspace till I landed on the Cosmic Baseball Association. And from there, I linked up to Levi Asher's Literary Kicks site, which sent me down a little rabbit trail to a place called SUBTERRANEANS. And then, I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in, and slipped on a cloud eight miles high. That was just a little more than a year ago. But none of this woulda been possible - not even the NoneList - had I not first just kinda dum-dee-dum-dum typed "beat the monkey" onto my computer that one fateful day ... ! 'Cos - hey! - SUBTERRANEANS begat the NoneList, sure as shootin ... !

It's Lists like NoneList (and our fabulous Anthology) that make the 'Net hipper than it oughtta be. It frees it from its lean green machine origins and makes it a real tool for serious communication (ha-ha!). It explores the sea of possibilities, opens up the third eye and lets the sun shine in.

Keep on trippin.

love n peaces,

Copyright © 1999 by Robert W. Mitchell

Bobby Mitchell, American poet, is the founder of the NoneList internet mailing list for poets, writers and other creative artists. Born in 1950 in Los Angeles he grew up in Alaska and eventually found his way to the great southwestern section of the United States. He lives in New Mexico with his wife and they have six children. He writes, "My biggest poetic influences have probably been e.e. cummings, Charles Bukowski and Jaláli'd-Dín-i-Rúmí."

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Beat the Monkey-Swingin' on the Internet
Published: October 26, 1999
Copyright © 1999 by the Cosmic Baseball Association