Monday, September 01, 2008

Mysteries of the internet

The internet is full of the oddest things. Okay, so that's not an original insight. Hear me out though.

Quite a while ago, I had a conversation with my father about someone (I don't think it was my father, necessarily) who was of the opinion that Tennessee Ernie Ford was the greatest male vocalist of living memory. Now, this seemed a bit odd to my ears. I'd heard a recording, when I was very little, of him singing 16 Tons, and I didn't find it enthralling. However, I was thinking about it today and found a copy of the song on YouTube. I don't know that I'm going to fall into the same opinion without any quibbles, but I can certainly see where this unknown reverer of Mr Ford was coming from. He's pretty fantastic.

This got me thinking about the odd juxtapositions of the internet. YouTube has things like this adjacent (in some sense) to the most moronic videos of people driving their trucks into telephone poles, flaunting their, ahem, physical attributes, etc.

And that's not all. We all have some inkling of the depths to which the seamier sides of the internet descend; one can get awfully odd results on what seem to be the most innocuous of internet searches. But it is also possible to read the greatest works of literature civilisation has produced, see reproductions of the greatest art, communicate with people around the globe and (on occasion) have reasoned debates about topics of great moment or very narrow interest on the very same internet.

Again, nothing that any of you haven't thought about before; it was just brought home to me listening to the mellifluous voice of Mr Ford.