All Things Considered, June 2, 2009 · When she was 10, my wife, Laura, belonged to a junior librarian club whose motto was, "We never guess; we look it up!" Bless their little hearts. Her club came up when I was complaining about the tons of e-mail I get asking questions people can look up. I thought about signing off with, "Don't ask me anything you can Google," which is kind of rude but necessary in these days of little time and too much communication.
If you ask me anything you can Google, then you force me to waste time being Google, just another appendage of an empire that's already stolen half my waking hours.
After some well-meaning fan put up a Facebook page for me, I signed up for it myself, and now I get messages on Facebook that I could have gotten just as easily in my regular e-mail, a time-wasting redundancy that also carries other time rip-offs with it.
My regular e-mail now tells me I have Facebook messages, forcing me to go to Facebook, which is slow on account of the jillion egos battling for verbal-audio-visual attention. And when I get there I find some cute thing that it's taken me years to ignore in real life, and I start wandering involuntarily among postings in the hope of something to get that sickly saccharine taste out of my mouth, and I find more cute — a real sugarplum tree made by millions of bored people. After that honey bath, I'm ready to Twitter in rude Anglo-Saxon.
The new media's given me several new insights:
1. Most people have too much time on their hands;
2. Most people are passive receptacles for whatever goes by;
3. Most people are not bothered by redundancy — they can do the same thing three or four times in a row without feeling defrauded; and
4. Most people want to be recognized for something, even if it's just dumb repetition.
Maybe there is an upside to this, something organic that's good for evolution, but I'm inclined to think that it's deliberate extortion by aliens.
Google me timbers!
The name alone is so cute, you can hardly go on for an hour without hearing or saying it.
Google. Google. Yo Google.
If Google ever takes off its mask, you might be surprised to find that it doesn't look cute at all, that it's more insect than human, like almost happened when it agreed to censor itself in China. I suspect, too, that this Google is just the first of many coming Googles, one cuter than another, each with more time-chomping jaws than the next.
I wonder where all this time we seem to have come from? Did the washing machine and the car really create such leisure time that we are giving it over to Google? Are the machines really working that well together?
I guess, but I just don't know. And this time I can't just look it up, oh junior librarians, 'cause there is no Google for this question.