Some things I will NOT look at on the Web

This news

Jennifer_LawrencecroppedGoogle has removed two links to a site hosting stolen nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence after requests by the actor’s lawyers.

The takedown requests were filed under the digital millennium copyright act (DMCA), with her lawyers Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp stating that the stolen photos impinged on Lawrence’s copyright….

… reminds me of this new category of Web content that I have gradually become aware of recently.

The Internet grants us access to almost anything that can be digitized. This is both a wonderful blessing and a terrible affliction. Once, I just had to avoid the dictionary to stay on task — if I looked up one word, I’d get sidetracked by fascination, as I’d inadvertently run into one interesting word that led to another that led to another.

Now, I never wonder about anything. No matter what I’m going at the time, if the thought begins to form, “I wonder…,” I stop and look it up — which in turn is likely to lead to link after link, because scratching that itch releases something in my brain, something related to what makes addicts act the way they do… hang on… dopamine. Dang, I could have sworn it was “endorphins,” but it turns out it’s dopamine. “Endorphins” would have given me an excuse to link to that clip in which Annette Bening says, in such a sexy way, that she digs “the endolphin rush.” Which, it turns out, is not that easy to find…

See what I mean?

But there are some things I won’t look at on the Web. There’s been a rash of them lately. They include:

  • The aforementioned nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence. I still agree with Ricky Gervais when he said celebrities should make it harder for hackers to get nude pics of them from their computers by not putting nude photos of themselves on their computers. But I have a responsibility in this, too, which is not to look when celebs fail to exercise that most basic form of good judgment.
  • The ISIL videos of the beheadings of Western journalists. I hear that they’re out there if you look, but I’m just not going to cooperate with the terrorists to the point of looking. I don’t need to get whipped up by viewing these atrocities; I’m fully committed to the “degrade and destroy ISIL” agenda without it.
  • The video of that football player beating up his girlfriend. Everybody has something that turns his stomach, and one that that does that to me is the very thought of a man hitting a woman. I have a very deeply conditioned response of revulsion at such a thing. I don’t ever want to see it. Just knowing it’s out there is bad enough.

What do you pointedly avoid online?


27 thoughts on “Some things I will NOT look at on the Web

  1. Karen Pearson

    In addition to those you name, I don’t go where trolls live. I find them offensive, and I do not think they contribute to any rational discussion.

  2. Andrew G

    Place I won’t look to on the web:

    Any newspaper or broadcast media comment section. They are all garbage.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, that’s what you get if you don’t moderate. And with a big-enough site, moderation just isn’t practical.

      My blog was kind of like that, back when I didn’t moderate. Although there were always some good, thoughtful comments in there as well. I started moderating when I realized that the trolls were running off the thoughtful people.

      I had never cared much what they said, within certain very wide bounds. But I did care that they were running off the kind of people I wanted to keep around…

  3. Bryan Caskey

    If a site starts having too many pop-up ads, or ads that make you wait to get to the content, I tend to go there less often. Usually it is newspaper websites who are the worst offenders.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    I hate to say this, but that picture I used of Jennifer Lawrence…

    Every time I scroll past it, I think “Barbie doll.” Which is really, really unfair and unkind. But what I mean is that she’s beautiful, but in a seamless, unreal kind of way. Her face is so unlined, and so lacking in idiosyncrasies of any sort. It’s like a Bo Derek kind of beauty (I never considered her a “10,” despite her starring in the movie, because of this quality, or lack of a quality).

    Perhaps this will be mended by time. But young women can be beautiful without having that unreality that I find off-putting. Scarlett Johanssen, for instance. Or Zooey Deschanel, circa “Almost Famous.” Or Emma Stone, perhaps the best example among that generation. Or speaking of Emmas, Romola Garai, who portrayed Austen’s Emma.

    They’ll probably be more attractive later, though. Like Julia Ormond, or Mary-Louise Parker…

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      She has rather hooded eyes. I think that is a photo from when she was very very young.
      This is no Barbie doll:

    2. Norm Ivey

      I saw some TV show years ago that took dozens of photos of what might some might call unattractive people, and using technology, averaged their faces together. The resulting images were extremely attractive people, had they been actual people. Ever since, I tend to think of attractive people as people with average faces–they lack idiosyncratic features.

      In addition to the types of sites you listed (and any site that depicts violence or death/injury as entertainment), I try to avoid sites that make me work too hard to access the content (ads or those “lists” that are actually slide shows). I tend to bypass sites that ask me for information, unless the site is something I sought out (as opposed to the sort of link-frog game Brad described above). I sometimes annoy the hell out of the rest of the family–I’ll hand my phone to my wife while I’m driving and make her look something up for me, or I’ll pause a show or movie to look up something. It sometimes takes me two hours to watch the News Hour because I’m constantly following up on things someone said.

      1. Norm Ivey

        Of course, I don’t make my wife look things up for me. I ask, and she, being the wondrous person she is, indulges me.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        I don’t pause the movie. I look it up while the movie continues. And then a moment later, I glance up and say, “What just happened?” MY wife finds this very irritating….

      3. Kathryn Fenner

        Symmetry and balanced features are “attractive” and would result from averaging enough faces–regression to the mean.

  5. Doug Ross

    I avoid — not just because of the hyperpartisan liberalism on display but because the format of the website is awful. It’s a jumbled mess of text with no structure.. I’m almost done with visiting as it has become a parody of itself in terms of it’s anti-Republican tone. Much like the Sheheen campaign, Salon spends more time publishing hit pieces on Republicans than promoting the liberal viewpoint.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Salon, and often Slate (actually, maybe it’s always Salon because I get the two mixed up), feels to me like it’s written by college sophomores who are running for second vice president of the Young Democrats. And who assume everyone who reads it is just like them. And they’re possibly right…

      1. Doug Ross

        Sadly, I bought stock in back when it first launch in the 90’s. It was much better back then (as was Slate when Michael Kinsey was in charge). Now I only go to Slate to read the Dear Prudence advice columns.

        Typical Salon headline these days are similar to:

        “Rand Paul – Secret Love Child of Ayn Rand and Koch Brothers!”
        “I’m White. I’m Sorry!”
        “It Was Monica Lewinsky’s Fault!”
        “Obamacare Website Doesn’t Crash Today!!”
        “George Bush or Adolph Hitler: Which Was The Meth Addict?”
        “Ten Ways To Use Quinoa And Feel Good About Yourself”
        “It’s Okay Even If You’re Not Gay! “

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, anyone having trouble posting comments?

    For some reason, in my iPad WordPress app on the comments page in the guts of the site (not on the site itself), every comment is showing up twice, as though people are having trouble posting the first time.

    It reminds me of The Soldier Who Saw Everything Twice in Catch-22.

    Anyway, I’m assuming it’s just a glitch in the app, unless y’all tell me otherwise…

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