September 30, 2023 | Rome, Italy


By |2018-03-21T18:33:33+01:00August 2nd, 2008|Area 51|
Yes has the first word, and the last.

erusing my Favorite Big City Newspaper Online — call it FABCO — I find my new favorite hyperlink word. It’s “Yes.”

I instantly perk up. What a prospect! I’m suddenly hyper (ee-PER in French). I’m stoked (hyperlink to coal). It’s huge. I’m huge. It all happens so fast.

Only to unhappen.

Clicking on said “Yes” — it’s the coquettish coda of a quote by an actress — I’m not directed to the essence of assent (hyperlink to fragrance, to hair flicks), but instead to two movies, a British one called “Yes,” and a French one called “Oui.”

My imagined world of everlasting yeses is deflated (hyperlink to “whatever“). My yes-cravings are dashed (hyperlink to “get over it.”).

My “yes” was on a teasing solo ride (hyperlink to heartache, to Han, to Christian rock bands, to Napoleon).

Oui,” which could be pronounced as “Hooey” (hyperlink to Hee Haw) or “We” (hyperlink to Oui) was a movie directed by Alexandre Jardin (hyperlink to gardens) in 1996 (hyperlink to Oval Office cigars) and is about greed and selfishness (hyperlink to soccer stars, to postmodernism).

So much for whim.

When I have nothing else to worry about — or when my heart (hyperlink to cardiac risk, to cholesterol) can’t take it any more — I worry that hyperlink (hyperlink to hyperlink) arousal (hyperlink to pheromones, to hunk, to Maxim, to distracts culture from the mental organization (hyperlink to so totally 1900s) necessary to ensure its own survival (hyperlink to huh?, to Darwin, to “Paradise Lost”).

For fun, I imagine a sentence that says, say, “I said so,” in which each word is hyperlinked.

“I” would hypothetically hyperlink you, the reader, to me, an eye for an I, but it won’t (which is another word entirely).

“Said” might hyperlink, say, to Port Said, vintage 1940, boulevards of auburn fedoras, or to a retired Saracen hustler in Qatar, or, more phonetically, to the Latin “sed,” which means “but,” not “butt,” but we won’t go there (that’s yet another word).

“So” could so hyperlink to half-a-Ho, as in So-Ho, or to the non-lewd repetitions of a seamstress (hyperlink to stitch), or deposit you in the land of weird uber-pride, as in “I’m so totally a Ho.” (We won’t go there, either). At the very least, I think, hyperlinks should so reap what they so sew.

In So-Can, which is South of Canada, comes the United States.

The hyperlink’s creator state has lately gone tizzy (hyperlink to kindergarten, to escort services) while musing on the Internet and literacy, or illiteracy and the Web, stressing over what might happen if the bottomless marvel of Internet facilitation ended up being more degenerative (hyperlink to Stegosaurus) than marvelous (hyperlink to Audrey Hepburn). What if all-inclusive, breakneck Web-skimming yielded infinite cleverness but infinitely less aptitude? What then?

Essayist Nicholas Carr (hyperlink to Lexus) answered in The Atlantic (hyperlink to oceans, to whales, to Hot Tuna): “What the Net seems to be doing is chipping (hyperlink to chip, monk, or ‘Monk’) away my capacity (hyperlink to cathode, sperm count, city) for concentration (hyperlink to orange juice, to camps… oops) and contemplation (hyperlink to faith, to suicide).”

But absent from Carr’s article, which is titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid,” are… hyperlinks. An editorial snafu (hyperlink to archaic), no doubt. Hence this abridged (hyperlink to London) paragraph, adjusted to cooler literacy:

“Over the past few years,” Carr writes, “I’ve had an uncomfortable (hyperlink to performance anxiety) sense that someone (hyperlink to alien), or something (hyperlink to alien), has been tinkering (hyperlink to U.S. government) with my brain (hyperlink to washing), remapping the neural circuitry (hyperlink to intellectuals), reprogramming (hyperlink to software upgrade) the memory (hyperlink to neural). My mind isn’t going — so far as I can tell — but it’s changing (hyperlink to mood disorders). I’m not thinking (hyperlink to sex) the way I used to think (hyperlink to sex). I can feel it (hyperlink to arousal) most strongly when I’m reading (hyperlink to “really”?).”

Carr and Lexus aside, consider as well this laissez faire (hyperlink to pâte, to Merlot) remark — also in FABCO — by the mother of a high school boy who insists her son overcame dyslexia thanks to the Web.

“Based on where technology is going (hyperlinked once!) and the world is going (hyperlinked twice!), he’s going to be able to leverage it (sold!).”

Can you hyperlink leverage? Or sold?

Too late.

My new favorite hyperlink has the first word, and the last.

About the Author:

Christopher P. Winner is a veteran American journalist and essayist who was born in Paris in 1953 and has lived in Europe for more than 30 years.