logo Michael's Swan Song
Inspired by my favorite bird killer, Friendster.
September, 2003

Call: The channels of expression are getting more narrow all the time!
Response: There are many channels, forming a deep lace, muddling the acreage, and obscuring the resources. They are mostly very narrow, with jagged points and abrasive, impermeable insulation.
Chorus: There is no generosity or hospitality in the jeans of the channel architects.

There is something remarkable about Friendster, and I don't know exactly how to articulate it. Friendster is a web-based friendship networking tool. Anyone with web access may join the network by creating an on-line profile/identity for themselves. To find out more go to Friendster.com. Friendster is in dire need of some good criticism. May this little open missive help inform the imaginations of those undertaking that admirable task. God speed. Read on to hear a little bit about my experience.

Friendster helps me with my TV problem.
I am convalescing from the stupor of television and Friendster sets me into a new, more active, and less alienated stupor. (I think that if you aren't comparing television and Friendster you are not getting everything out of it that you can. But this is coming from a person whose youth revolved around television, and whose first committed political act was to beg the local authorities for the freedom to watch more television.) It is one of the latest, but not necessarily the most impactful, permutations of the revolutionary awakening to a particular network consciousness that marks this historical moment. It has been unfolding for decades.

Friendster is a powerful fantasy vortex.
Any good fantasy vortex (literature, cinema, television, video games, role-playing, etc...) will cause us to make out [with] our world differently, like, it transofrms our peception. It is in this way that fantasy and reality have everything to do with each other. I mean, it is in this way that we can understand fantasy is not divorced from reality and it does not reside in a polar relationship to reality. Instead, they are holding each other up (robbery, grand theft auto, etc..). They leave massive deposits in each other's checking accounts and they are each other's payday loan sharks. Then of course there is the the publisher's clearing house, the pull tabs, and the wet porno mags found in the neighbor's trash, the loot. Browsing my friends' profiles I feel like I am experiencing a complex, yet crude, and incomplete representation of the social networks that inform and affect my life. About my best friends I muse, "I'd be dead with out them." (I mean if a person doesn't make you consider death they prob'ly aren't a very interesting friend?)

Friendster is a procrastinating machine.
I suspect that the notion of procrastination, in that dreadful pejorative sense, was invented by the management class of the industrial revolution and occupies it's place in our culture primarily as a result of modern, institutional, education systems that are also the fall-out of the vicious assumptions of that class. So in that sense, procrastination is a kind of theft, or trespassing, and a certain amount of it is expected, even encouraged. But procrastination is not merely water cooler to lean on, a broom closet to make out in, or a bathroom stall to jack-off in. Your trespasses might reveal that procrastination is in fact a deep, deep cave, developing into a labyrinthine passage through the ancient slag pile of the post-industrial. The question is, does it open up onto anything else?

Can I get through to the other side?
I don't know. But if that other side does exist I don't think that Friendster--despite its most remarkable and valuable qualities--is the vessel that will carry me through. It can only carry me so far into the cave and then it falls apart. It is painfully apparent that Friendster is diligently and ruthlessly administered by some higher, more murderous authority than you or I. I wonder if that authority hasn't conscientiously built this safeguard into the muddle, a kind of planned obsolescence for our safety and security. To keep us out of all the trouble that lies deep in that labyrinth, where we'd face unknown danger, dehydrated as we are by massive caffeine intake, hang-overs, or various other drugs and medications. Friendster at least has the potential of bringing an aspect of collectivity and sharing to the hallowed halls of our lonely procratinations. I wonder if I am doomed to this occupation without end?

I've decided that the spinning wheel of Friendster cannot produce the thread I need. I need a more worthy vessel to take me where I'm trying to go. You will do whatever you want of course, but I am quitting.

G'bye beautiful Friendsters, mayhap we meet again someday.

If you are really my friend you can contact me via email here: mistywoof@earthlink.net