Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Request and Suggestion

This has probably been said before, but I want to ask if people who blog wouldn't mind identifying links to newspaper stories where you have to register with some small note or symbol, like "registration required" or "RR." I hate clicking the link, waiting for the page to load, and then being asked to pour my life's story and my vital statistics into an omnivorous infotainment databank. I curse, then try to put in false info, then get bounced, and go back to the original URL without knowing why "Islamo-Bronze-Aged Cheeze-Whiz Ironically Flouts Papacy."

I do want to read the linked material. But I don't want to tell the New York Times how old I am and my zip code. I don't want to tell the Chicago Tribune my drivers' license number or bank balance. I certainly don't want to give the obviously-deranged people who run major media outlets my email address. Every manual on stalking says you shouldn't give out your name and email address to disturbed people, and if the New York Times's and Washington Post's coverage of Terri Schaivo isn't proof of severe mental imbalance, I'll eat my hat (after telling the San Jose Mercury News what my hat size is, of course). I don't want to help any arm of the Trilateral Commission compile a profile on me and my family so that blue-helmeted stormtroopers can rappel out of a silenced Blackhawk onto my front lawn. Sound a little paranoid to you? Well, maybe there's a tinge of paranoia somewhere in there, I'll admit, but there's another reason I don't want to register.

I'm just too unhelpful and ornery. Don't care if the New York Times can serve its readers better. Not interested in whether the Journal-Constitution can bring timely stories to its readers. Don't want the Bee-Advocate getting more familiar with the reading habits of its audience. Won't sign petitions, either. You need my signature and your cause's in a heap ‘o trouble already, and one more signature will probably bring the total to 15. Won't buy candy from those inner-city boys they bus out to my small town to drum up funds for some "educational trip" to Las Vegas, either.

My ancestors probably ran off revenuers, but now there aren't any revenuers to run off -- the IRS does it all with a few computer-generated letters and an Infinite Options Tree on its telephone system. I have to settle for settin' the hounds on direct marketers, and confrontin' Butterfinger-sellin' thugs on my front porch with a shotgun pointed down, but not too down, ifn' you know what I mean. I figure I'm already targeted by a thousand servers, and that they're fixin' to put a computer chip in my arm so they can tell how many cans of Skoal I buy and tax me on ‘em. Don't need no slick big-city reporter bein' able to look up my hat size, or give GPS coordinates to the Blackhawks circlin' my place.

So would y'all stop me before I redneck again? Put some little notice on your posts, something that tells me I shouldn't click the link unless I want to volunteer for the Malabar Front. That way I can just keep surfing in imaginary anonymity and have fewer Josey Wales moments. Much obliged.

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