A.C. Nielsen's PenisOkay, I'll come out and admit it: I'm the one who runs the TeeVee Website. I'm the guy who takes all the musings of the various Vidiots and transforms them into HTML. I'm the one who made that image of the flickering TV that makes your head hurt. I'm the one who makes sure the Web server is working.
That also means I'm the one who can log into our Web server and watch as the page requests for TeeVee roll in. As a result, I get the privilege of seeing firsthand how this Website gets most of its visitors.
The answer is the final entry that appears on a screen when a page is requested, something called the HTTP Referrer. See, when you click on a hyperlink in your Web browser, it contacts the server on the end of that link and sends it a bunch of information -- your computer's IP address, what platform you're using, what browser, and most importantly for my purposes, the page you were just visiting, the one which contained the link to my site.
Most of the time (not all -- there are some of you, God love you, who actually seem to have bookmarked
So the other day I was sitting, watching the log scroll by, for about three minutes. And I was entranced. This is what I saw:
The constant stream of visitors we get solely on the basis of search engine trolling for nudie celeb photos has gotten me thinking about just what actually happens on the Internet. See, my job is the Internet. I write a monthly column about the Internet for a half-million circulation computer magazine, cover the Internet beat for that magazine, and also design and edit its Website. When you factor in all the time I spend on extracurricular projects like TeeVee and InterText), it turns out that almost all the time I don't spend watching TV I spend on the Internet.
And it turns out that the only thing actually happening on the Internet is searches for naked photos of Pamela Anderson, Tori Spelling, Teri Hatcher, and any mythical sexual beast which is summoned upon chanting "cleavage crack titfuck." Tori Spelling's ass is what's paying my bills. Pamela Anderson Lee is at the top of my resumé. My career, not to put too fine a point on it, is titfuck.
My theory is borne when I look at the server logs to find out what the most popular files on the Website are. Every single one of them either contains the name Tori Spelling, Pamela Anderson, or Teri Hatcher, or a word like "suck," "fuck," "crack," or "cleavage." (Before this little screed, we had restrained from actually using the word "titfuck.")
In a time when the purveyors of "push" technology are trying to get us all to believe that the Internet is the next TV, this points out one way that the Net still ain't TV. On TV, the top-rated shows are well-crafted dramas and gut-busting comedies, all of which are acceptable for the whole family to watch, with the exception of the one with Urkel.
The Seinfeld of the Internet is Teri Hatcher's chest. The ER, Pamela Anderson's. And the Friends of the Net is Tori's Spelling's, uh, whatever body part the people deluded into thinking that the horrifying surgically-enhanced spawn of Mr. Charlie's Angels is actually attractive have singled out.
The TV has no search box. All the average TV viewer can do is use the clicker to move among his 50-channel universe in hopes of seeing the hint of a nipple through Teri Hatcher's dress on Lois and Clark, catch a snatch of Pamela Anderson cleavage on a Home Improvement rerun or a classic episode of the syndicated crap-fest Baywatch. All Joe Search Engine can do with his copy of TV Guide is circle when the next 90210 is on and set the VCR.
We could always hope against hope that, despite all the lousy junk on TV, people really want to see good stuff. That ER and Seinfeld have risen to the top because they're good.
The search box proves otherwise. It proves that we watch ER and Seinfeld only because there's not yet a Fox series called America's Scariest Nude Celebrity Breast Videos. (But give them time.)
So when we attack the stupidity of television, the TV business, and the TV viewing public, don't call us pessimists. We know what we're talking about. We're soaking in it. And we've got the statistics to prove it.
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