I try to stay current on global news, but it can be hard to find the time and, let’s face it: it’s hard to maintain an interest in what’s affecting people an ocean or two away.
But less and less are we truly national creatures. Instead, as society globalizes, as speedy transit and faster telecommunications and the Internet bring us closer together — if not literally, then effectively, technologically and in a metaphysical sense — we become much more as one than our ancestors, even our parents, could previously imagine.
And perhaps there is no commonwealth more connected to America via shared culture, as well as shared history, than the United Kingdom. We share, after all, a “special relationship.” The world sees so much from America, and now seems as good a time as any for Americans to take a look back and see what our friends across the pond have to offer us, besides rock music.
And so I decided it was about time I finally looked up Kate Middleton’s naked paparazzi photos. I was soon to find that international study is indeed a challenge, and, in some ways, hampered by the very technology that loudly demands it.
My past forays into popular culture e-zines have been brief — mere probings, really. Links to these para-sites often litter the sidebars of the host websites I actually do read, and they’ve set their hooks in me from time to time. This is usually by tricking me into thinking it’s a site I’d enjoy. For example, the other day I clicked on a link promising photos of Furby equivalents to human celebrities. It was a classic list format, that much was clear. What I expected was a satirical, Cracked-esque low-art frolic, with neat little numbered items. In fact, I thought it was a Cracked article. The writer described each terrible celebrity with such a loving, sincere tone that my brain filled in all the blanks and took it as scathing sarcasm.
But I reached the end of the article and there was no turn; no leap. It just ended. And then the comments list was full of One Direction fans (which I now have to know are called “Directioners”) praising how cute the guy from One Direction is. I don’t remember his name, but he’s the one who purportedly is most like a Furby.
“Where am I?” I wanted to shout to myself, and so I did. The only audible answer was the sound of my own voice, echoing from the cherry wood doors at the opposite end of my study, ambling among the arches of the muraled ceiling, and returning again to thud coldly upon the white marble fireplace next to my desk, which is made of ivory (from recent elephants. Like Billy Bob Thornton, I am terrified by antiques). That answer was useless, because it was an echo, so I scrolled to the top of the page and found that I was on Buzzfeed.
My point is: the Internet can be very misleading, and my search for the Duchess of Cambridge’s boob pictures would be no more straightforward. This is due to the fractal nature of entertainment “news” websites. Allow me to explain.
Much like Buzzfeed, any entertainment site worth its salt, which I assume is kosher, given the industry, makes money by garnering the maximum number of clicks. The business model goes something like this:
- Get as many user clicks as possible.
- Make money.
It couldn’t possibly be simpler, and now you understand Internet marketing. So, how do they do it? There is a theory on the distribution of materials in the Universe called fractal cosmology. Very basically, it’s the idea that any point in observable space can be scaled infinitely in or out, and the observer will see more and more, at different scales. This video is an example of this fractal nature, going from micro to macro. It’s from Contact, and it’s more interesting than the part where you get to see the alien. If you have no idea what a fractal is, look it the fuck up yourself, I can’t spend too much time fleshing this out and I’m not 100% sure I’m even defining the first part right.
All entertainment news editors and journalists are familiar with fractal cosmology — they’re very smart people. Much smarter than me, otherwise how would they be getting paid to write and I’m not? Right? I think I’ll drink a whole bottle of wine tonight. So, like many visionary human minds before them, entertainment writers have drawn from what is already in nature to achieve their humanly goals. Entertainment articles are a system of perfectly organized word combinations, in which every other word is a hyperlink. Each of these hyperlinks, in turn, leads to another perfectly organized set of words, which in turn is linked to another article, which links to more and more, ad infinitum.
Never ones to dismiss tall ideas, entertainment “journalists” even exhibit design clearly inspired by wormhole theory, as some of these fractal-links lead the reader back to content they had already viewed — the website folds upon itself, joining two previously perceived distant pages at one point in time and space. The result is a beautiful, infinitely complex and self-reflexive fractal microverse, that is completely unnavigable and I couldn’t find Kate Middleton’s topless photos.