Jesurgislac’s Journal

April 14, 2008

OMG. Clueless.

Filed under: Internet — jesurgislac @ 9:14 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

“I would never want to use a search engine aimed at middle-aged, suburban white guys like me; I want the world.” The segregated web, via Jim Henley, via Avedon.

Dear Jeff Jarvis,

You already have and undoubtedly use a search engine aimed at straight, white, middle-aged, suburban Americans: this one. Or this one. Or how about this one?

Much love,

Je Surgis Lac

Years and years ago Channel 4 announced they were doing a “gay news programme”. (Late at night, obviously – it ran for 8 weeks, 11pm-midnight. The practice of showing the queer stuff when little kids might still be awake is relatively recent.) A very straight friend (she quit being a friend a year afterwards, and this comment should have been an early clue, if her doing a postgrad degree in social work hadn’t sufficed) said, when I mentioned this,

“But what do you need a gay news programme for? It’s not as if there are any heterosexual news programmes!”

And she meant it. And she didn’t have the least idea why I thought it was funny: in fact, I knew better than to giggle over it in front of her, because it was quite obvious that she wouldn’t find it funny at all.

Well, you can say “OMG. Clueless” (and in fact, I did) but within a year, she had let me know that she expected me to feel grateful and appreciative of her kindness in listening to me talk about my first girlfriends without her ever saying anything negative about homosexuality: which I had (oddly enough) figured was a mutual function of friendship: after all, I had spent considerable time listening to her talk about her essays, her boyfriends, and her supervisor, without every saying anything negative about her studies, her heterosexuality, or social workers.

I wonder how many of Jeff Jarvis’s “best friends” are black?

But, by the by and by the way: Jeff Jarvis also writes

On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog or a cat, black or white, man or woman, young or old, unless you chose to say so and unless it’s relevant.

On the Internet, Jeff, and I speak from experience, unless you clearly identify yourself otherwise, everyone assumes you’re:

  • white
  • male
  • straight
  • and American.

It’s not that “nobody knows”: it’s that everyone assumes they know, and will continue to assume, unless and until you tell them otherwise. Not something I expect you’ve ever noticed, Jeff…


  1. So Jeff Jarvis doesn’t want to use such a search engine, but he does anyway because it’s the best we have for now?

    Comment by Ryan — April 25, 2008 @ 12:40 am | Reply

  2. Did anything in Jeff Jarvis’s post lead you to believe that was the case, Ryan?

    Comment by jesurgislac — April 25, 2008 @ 7:48 am | Reply

  3. Meh, I don’t know. Maybe you can explain how those sites are white American whatever so that slow people like me can understand your point.

    Comment by Ryan — April 30, 2008 @ 12:15 am | Reply

  4. Ryan, given that you apparently read the obituary I wrote for Arthur C. Clarke without understanding that this meant Clarke was dead, and even responded to my follow-up comment without expressing any comprehension that Clarke was dead, I don’t think I can write down to your level of understanding.

    Comment by jesurgislac — May 1, 2008 @ 9:46 am | Reply

  5. Sorry, I guess we are so different that we talk past each other. I’ll go away.

    Comment by Ryan — May 2, 2008 @ 3:11 am | Reply

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