public service and fembots in the Twilight Zone

Maria (Fritz Lang, "Metropolis": 1927); easily confused with the cyberlady of the same name in "The Sound of Music"

 There’s a heck of a lot of online activity going on out there in the interwebs, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Lots of good useful stuff. Free information, accessible to all most. Wikipedia. YouTube. BBC News. Lolcats.

Unfortunately, there’s also lots of crap. First-world problems. Daily minutiae meticulously journaled in tedious detail (yes, OK, who knows, might be useful to historians in the next millennium). Self-seeking self-obsessed self-publicizing. Ego-maniacs. Showing off. Businesses running PR masquerading as blogs. Magazines that are mostly-to-entirely pubvertising disguised as “articles”; and magazines posing as blogs. All that Web 3.0 SALES SALES SALES and fake-“friending” nonsense.

But then there’s the occasional gem to remind you that the internet can be a good place, where people tell other people stuff not just for a LOL or for the LULZ but in case it helps them. Sharing and caring. They don’t need to do this. They could, oh I don’t know, go and eat an(other) ice-cream on a nice bench in a nice park under a nice shady tree instead. Or watch some porn. Or just share things (porn or otherwise) with immediate friends and colleagues. Some go a step further, and put themselves Out There when they really don’t need to, so as to have a completely unnecessary experience—one that might be painful or risky—sometimes at least in part so that it can be reported back to others. This won’t necessarily cross the mind at the time of making that decision and acting; intention/ality is so often retroactive, an act of retrospection, of reading one’s past self: auto-reception. But I digress. Back from lit crit and theorizing to interwebbery and practicality:

Webs 4.0 and 5.0 are alive and well; good old Web 1.0 too. The philanthropic humanist GOOD net.

Two cases.

One: not netty, but just human goodness, and shared here online: there were at least two great moments of goodness, involving the public, in Any Questions? today on BBC Radio 4; this will be on “listen again” tomorrow (Saturday) at 13:10 GMT, and then available to actually listen to again at your leisure online. Usually for about a week. Though the Beeb has been getting somewhat better at archiving stuff.

Two: this, on MUA’s Skin Care Board. Thanks to Josh: for making people laugh and thus increasing the sum of human happiness; for the educational, informative public-service broadcast; and for services to surrealist literature:

Metropolis again

An exchange I had less than an hour ago with a salesperson at a Shiseido counter
7/19/2013 10:07AM
[John Lewis, Kingston upon Thames]

Me: “I heard a few days ago that your European sunscreens were reformulated recently. Is that the case?”

SA: “Yes we sell sunscreens”.

Me: “I know that. Have they been reformulated recently?”

SA: “We have formulas for the face and body”.

Me: “Have they been reformulated, as in, have the ingredients changed recently?”

SA: “I told you we sell sunscreens for the face and body”.

Me (and starting to lose my patience by now): “Have the ingredients been changed?”

SA: “Our sunscreens for face and body are anti-aging”.

Me: “Do you understand what I’m asking you? Do you understand English?”.

SA: “Yes, I understand perfectly. You want a sunscreen for your face and body. You want it anti-aging. I am telling you our sunscreens are all anti-aging. They are for women and men, even though men don’t really need sunscreen”.

Me: “I will just look at the boxes”.

SA: “Can I help you with anything else?”.

Me: “No. I will look.”.

SA: “You must pay at the counter or I will call security”.

I then walked over to the floor manager of the department store and gave him the above. He wrote it all down on an iPad, then went over the the assistant with me and she confirmed it was all correct! The manager emailed the transcript to me.

I could not believe it! Her spoken English seemed okay, but she clearly had major problems!

That was the weirdest exchange I have ever experienced!

fembot (The Six Million Dollar Man, 1976)

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