RYAN NANNI: Mr. Berkes, I'd like you to watch the 1995 AOL commercial below, think about it, and then answer this question: do we like the Internet?
PETER BERKES: We do, I think. The Internet can be pretty awful sometimes, but on a whole it's brought us an entire galaxy of delights and connections that we could not have made otherwise. Like, you know, definitely not porn.
RN: DEFINITELY NOT PORN.
PB: But what is the Internet, exactly? Webster's Dictionary err Wikipedia states:
"The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link several billion devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies."
A network of networks, Ryan. Wheels within wheels. The beauty is simultaneously in the simplicity and the complexity, kind of like watching a colony of driver ants take apart some hapless rain forest bird that's too stupid not to fly away. WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST FLY AWAY THEY'RE ANTS.
RN: Shame that bird didn't have the Internet. Look how much the Internet saved Shitty Dad In A Leather Jacket. He'd completely fucked up buying a present for his mother, taking care of travel plans, and helping his son learn about dinosaurs. And now he's an accomplished, responsible, caring father. (Who does all his son's homework for him, which is perhaps not the smartest long-term plan, but fuck man these teachers really expect a seven year old to do this by himself?)
PB: If nothing else, the Internet is good because we just watched it save a family in real time back in 1995. Families are the glue that keeps this great nation together, as well as fast food chicken, light beer, and home repair injuries. But, lo! The Internet can guide you to all of those things as well. It's the father Shitty Dad In A Leather Jacket's son never had.
And now he doesn't have to go to the library and suffer the embarrassment of looking like an egghead.
RN: Thank you, Internet. Now dads can spend their free time live chatting. About kayaks. Definitely just kayaks and not weird sex things.
PB: Hey, if you've never "kayaked" before, don't knock it until you try it.
Anyway, if we can firmly establish that we *do* like the internet, I posit a question to you: What is your favorite thing about the internet?
RN: Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. I like the 1995 Internet. I'm not sure I like OUR Internet. They're very different things. For instance, 1995 Internet is used to:
- purchase goods
- read the news
- send e-mails
- play fantasy sports
But 2015 Internet is used to:
- did we develop anything else to do on the Internet in the last 20 years?
PB: We can watch things on the Internet now without having to wait 45 minutes for them to load, but other than that, no. Think about all the new things you've started doing in the past 20 years. Actually, don't. Think about all the new things a hypothetical go-getter of a person started doing in the past 20 years. It's a lot! We've basically just bolted a TV onto the Internet, which, I mean, great, but some light fabrication work should take 20 minutes, not 20 years.
Now, speaking of distorted timeframes, I'm glad this commercial included the 10 free hours offer, because take a second to think about that. If you're a person that uses the internet for work, which is just about most people now, that free trial is less than a day of work plus whatever you do on your own personal time. Back when this commercial was new, 10 hours felt like it would last you a month.
RN: Again, a function of the Internet's increased speed. Now I can watch movie trailers for films I'll almost certainly never watch without worrying about consuming precious resources. And, to answer your earlier question, that is what I like about the Internet: the plentifulness.
Yes, 96% of today's Internet is poorly thought out garbage and overwrought, too long responses to the poorly thought out garbage. But, man, this Lazy Susan rotates QUICKLY. The Slate article everyone hates is quickly surpassed by the Rovell tweet nobody can stand, which is subsequently outdone by a clip of someone on Fox & Friends arguing that tacos make you gay.
PB: Look, you can't prove that one way or the other. But yes, once you're thoroughly DONE with something, the next thing rolls right across your screen and you begin the cycle anew. But I don't want to focus on the negative here, because there's also great plentifulness of good things on the internet. Let me ask you something: When was the last time you got drunk and bought something stupid off Amazon? I can go first, it was last summer and I bought a set of laddergolf balls. I'm also due for another idiotic purchase, so I'll take a suggestion if you have one.
RN: Please purchase this autographed photo of Jon Secada.
I know you're not Ira, but Jon probably wants you to have good luck, too.