"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 6 February 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Persistence of... Something



The terrible thing about the Web -

one of the terrible things

about the Web - is that it

persists. It stays, it sticks in

your craw. No matter how long

you stare at it, no matter how

long you wait for the kidney

stone of information that's

currently lodged in your browser

to pass, no matter how

impossibly, terribly, horribly

wrong - just wrong - a page is,

it just sits there.


[Ted Nelson]

Forever. After all, that was one

of the dreams of Ted Nelson's

Xanadu - through versioning and

transclusion, no discrete piece

of human thought would ever be

lost. Computer networks would

become vast repositories of

knowledge, preserved for future



[Tammy Faye]

But we don't think Ted had in

mind Jim J. Bullock and Tammy

Faye Messner (nee Bakker), who

are going to have a talk show of

their very own. And the page

explaining this to me won't go

away. Ever.


History is a nightmare from which

I am trying to awake.



People compare the Web to TV,

with its flash and dynamism,

with its short attention span

and ratings/hit obsession. The

Web, it has been declared, is

the boob tube of the future,

with couch potatoes prying

themselves up out of the

Barcalounger just long enough to

waddle over to the computer and

plop right down again, still

slack-jawed and click-happy.


[TV screen]

But we know TV, and the Web is no

TV. Sure, it manages to be just

as quick-take-oriented,



as the tube. But it bites back,

with all the vengeful

persistence of a pile of

moldering old newspapers. Where

TV is content to disappear into

the crowded aether, the Web,

that ether-based medium, is here

to stay, with content you

thought you banished some time

ago lurking behind the next

link, ready to strike again.


[Dan Lapre]

TV - quick and flashy - doesn't

try to be relevant tomorrow.

Whether or not Dan Lapre's

infomercials are, in their own

way, timeless, what airs today

is disposable, and is designed

that way. Like a repeated

slow-motion replay of a crime

caught on grainy video, the Web

is archived obsolescence,

documenting its own decay. When

you mix cool and hot media, you

don't get a McDLT.


[Jim J. and Tammy Faye]

Web pages never (or almost never)

die. Lord knows how long I'll be

able to go back and read about

The Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show

in all its fearsome glory. Long

after the show has sunk beneath

the waves of public indifference

is my guess, long after Jim J.

returns to being best known for

doing Too Close For Comfort and

Tammy Faye returns to being best

known for doing wicked things

with eye liner.


[Batman Forever]

Do we really need persistent

flashes-in-the-pan? Do we really

want the ability to forever read

every posting to the

Nephilim mailing list?

Do we really have to suffer

through archives of forgettable

musings, filed away as if

they're relevant the day after

they're excreted?


[TV off]

Apparently so. Welcome to the


courtesy of An Entirely Other Greg