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You can't be an Alpha male in a Beta culture

Make Web 2.0 face the Jack Hammer Johnson [Warning: NSFW]

And ninthly Through the aesthetic modulation of the psyche, then, the autonomy of reason is already opened up within the domain of sense itself, the dominion of sensation already broken within its own frontiers, and the physical man refined to the point where spiritual man only needs to start developing out of the physical according to the law of freedom - Friedrich Schiller

My first mistake? Heading to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. My second mistake? Being victimized by a group of buxom and very aggressive nymphomaniacs that define "gadget" in a much different way from the rest of us.

The pedestrian Register editors warned me to stick to the show floor at CES. The grandeur of my spirit forced me to ignore these instructions.

I flicked off some hags at the Creative booth, hopped a bus and ended up at the Sands where the Adult Expo raged in concert with CES for a few days. This was early January, mind you, and I'm just able to write about the experience now.

Woman holding a Jack Hammer JohnsonAbout 20 feet into the Sands, a small blonde tricked me. It may have been the glossy red high heels, the g-string dividing her buns or the pair of breasts a bit too big for her bikini top. I haven't been able to nail down the exact cause. Nonetheless, this blonde - the kind that would make a sys admin poke a hole through his raised floor - lured me toward her booth and then made a fool of me.

The blonde requested that I serve as a male model at the Jack Hammer Johnson display. I agreed.

In less than 10 minutes, I was blindfolded, strapped down to a chair and turned into the equivalent of a mumbling dildo booth babe. For six hours, Adult Expo showgoers pounded me with a pogo phallus. I was refused water, food or adequate lubrication.

The Jack Hammer Johnson workers wheeled me out of the Sands. I'd been left nothing more than a quivering mass of degradation. Instead of returning me to the Bellagio as requested, I was taken to something best described as a decadence lair. For the next two weeks, men and women of various shapes and sizes explored my inner-being in unnatural ways. It's only now that I've summoned the courage to write about this ordeal.

This article stands as an open explanation to The Register editors who paid me in advance for CES stories that never appeared. I had every intention of defining the direction mobile devices should take over the next three years via cunning and incisive editorials. I could not have predicted that a brief visit to the Sands would leave me a sweaty, slightly bloated version of Larry Flynt's cabana boy.

Which brings me to the next point and the crux of this week's piece. We live in embarrassing times.

Once the demanding dildo salesmen let me go, I returned with haste to the interweb. Five minutes into my surfing session, I discovered an article on CNN with the headline "Birds hunted ancient man."

I know. Surely some mistake.

"The Ohio State study determined that eagles would swoop down, pierce monkey skulls with their thumb-like back talons, then hover while their prey died before returning to tear at the skull," the story tells us. "Examination of thousands of monkey remains produced a pattern of damage done by birds, including holes and ragged cuts in the shallow bones behind the eye sockets.

"Man's ancestors had to survive not just being hunted from the ground, but from the air."

Not to be crass, but are you fucking kidding me? Birds? Hunting man?

The liberal media has force fed us a lot of crap, although this must stand as one of the worst accusations to date. How totally and utterly humiliating is it to think that a bunch of egotistical birds gathered the courage to peck at our monkey skulls. There's no way this is true, and I've decided to open a foie gras farm to prove my point.

I'd love to open a similar farm to teach a bunch of programmers out there a lesson. For years, we've had to deal with the "Submit" button on various web pages. How embarrassing is that?

Various uses of the Jack Hammer Johnson

Google Video Beta Testers in Action

It's like the entire internet has been turned into an S&M fetish site. If Congress wants to crack down on internet porn, it need look no further than the average e-commerce page. Enter your social security number and "submit." Cough up your password and "submit." Reveal your blessed, god fearing mother's maiden name and "submit." Order some pep pills and a new shotgun and "submit."

Let's all agree to standardize on "Enter" or move to something more fitting such as "Obey me, web page." The computers will take hold of us soon enough. No need to give them such leeway in this day and age.

More embarrassing than birds eating us or submitting to is the "beta culture" being espoused by so-called Web 2.0 advocates and practiced by so-called companies such as Google.

Beta culture, in case you haven't heard, is where you toss out some half-assed product and then process feedback for three to four years. Google, for example, pulled the word "beta" from its News site after many, many, many months. In so doing, it gave us all a site that looks and feels almost exactly like the original News site. A lot of good the feedback did there.

Then Google horrified some of its most ardent supporters by pushing out the worst video download service ever seen on the web. But it's a "beta" so that's okay. (Ask partner CBS just how okay it is. They've decided to set up their own video store front instead of dealing with amateurs.)

Technology already has a bad enough reputation what with Linux freaks, Segways, outsourcing, call centers and Lawrence Lessig around. Pushing a "beta culture" on people is just about the last thing we need if cultivating even a modicum of respect is an end goal.

How can you be proud of a beta culture? How can you look your mom in the eye and say, "You know what? I've rolled out the best beta service the world has ever seen. I only failed to process 800 transactions and wasted a few hundred thousand peoples' time today. Isn't that great, mom? Aren't I a big boy now?"

Moving to a beta culture is like selling a computer without a screen or a keyboard or a mouse. It's like ripping half the buttons off your microwave and then throwing the box down a flight of stairs. It's like trying to force urine down your toilet with bare hands. It's like making a slide that goes up.

You can't be a real man in a beta culture. But you can be an alpha dildo. ®

Otto Z. Stern is a director at The Institute of Technological Values - a think tank dedicated to a more moral digital age. He has closely monitored the IT industry's intersection with America's role as a world leader for thirty years. You can find Stern locked and loaded, corralling wounded iLemmings, masticating beta culture, following Jimmy Wales, nursing an opal-plated prostate, spanking open source fly boys, wearing a smashing suit, dropping a SkyCar on the Googleplex, spitting on Frenchmen, vomiting in fear with a life-sized cutout of Hilary Rosen at his solar-powered compound somewhere in the Great American Southwest.

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