April 26, 2005

It's True, It's Actual, Everything is Satisfactual

Star Wars came out in 1977. Let me just start with that fact. It came out in 1977, which is easily verifiable with a quick clickie click and a double-check of resources. Okay, fine, its longer name is "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope," and the original title was "Adventures of the Starkiller: Episode 1 - The Star Wars."

Details aside, a fact of our rapidly changing modern lives is that after a certain point in the evolution of the "information age," some kinds of everyday ephemeral arguments should just cease to be. But they don't.

Case in point: during college, I had an internship at a local BBS-turned-ISP. I did some PR-type things and spent time with my 90% male, 95% geeky colleagues, discussing everything from HTML editors to cross-platform compatability to movies and snack cakes.

One day at a nearby restaurant, my boss (the business manager), a couple of techs, the master sysop, and the business owner and I had some fries and chitchat. At one point, the business owner, a nice but nebbish and somewhat spacey guy, begins to reminisce about Star Wars. The question arose as to the year it came out. Most of us knew it was 1977. Most of us said it was 1977. The owner, who I shall call Silly, went off on this whole "No, it was 1978, and I remember because that's the summer we spent at the lake, and we went to the theatre several weekends in a row to see the movie again and again, and..."

Furtive glances were exchanged across the table. Silly, being the boss, couldn't be mocked and smacked down as easily as a tech, and out of some sense of misplaced respect, we didn't press the point, but we all sat there thinking: "Dude. You own an INTERNET COMPANY. The internet is a source of information. Specific information. About things like movies. And release dates. You have no excuse for ever being wrong about anything ever again."

And yet, with instant information just a click away, we are still vulnerable to operating on outdated and incorrect data. Arguments in bars and restaurants about what a tinhat is, the atomic weight of beryllium, and whether song shifts in Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" synch up perfectly with the scene changes in the "Wizard of Oz" go on needlessly. And if they occur online, that's nothing but absurd.

Upgrade, people, upgrade.

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