Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Is Mine the Superior Intellect?
OK, it's been a slow month topic-wise, celebrity deaths notwithstanding. Sometimes, I have to find a nice ripe bee in my bonnet to motivate me to put metaphorical pen to paper. Today happens to be one of those days.
As an SEO writer, I spend more time Googling than your average Internet user. In the field of SEO (Search Engine Optimization for those not in the know), you have to always be one step ahead of the average Internet user, and as many steps as humanly possible ahead of the brainiacs at Google, whose mission in life is to make the lives of SEO geeks a living hell. Naturally, some SEO geeks are better at playing the game than others.
I've been pretty sore over the past couple of weeks about a job I did for a now former client of mine. The client and I had a profound disagreement over what constituted proper practice in the project I was asked to undertake. He thought he knew best, and I thought I knew better. Alas, we met at swords point and fought to the death. In a world where you can block people from your online life, I now consider him a resident of the black hole that is "blocked-ness". Thankfully, we never met in person, so there is no need to avoid certain geographic locations that might result in uncomfortable encounters.
I don't normally trash-talk my clients, but what lead me to indulge in a bit of bitching and moaning was the "Google Doodle" I was confronted with earlier. Today is the 155th anniversary of the birth of Henrich Rudolf Hertz, the German physicist whose electromagnetic wave research eventually paved the way for radio, television and radar. It seems almost trite to me that Google chose to honour an individual whose work is now literally being undone by the medium most of us now use instead of radio and television. Of course, I learned all about Herr Hertz back in my days as a Broadcast Management and Technology student, and his work is still relevant to many people. But, I can't help but think the folks at Google tend to flaunt what they probably feel is their superior intellect over all us Internet users, and SEO geeks in particular. Twenty years ago, an oscilloscope was an important piece of equipment; today, a lightning fast microprocessor and high-speed Internet connection are the tools of the trade. Or, do they have more in common with the "tools of ignorance", so coined by 1920s Washington Senators catcher, Herold "Muddy" Ruel? Sometimes, I have to wonder.
Of course, you can't write about "superior intellect" without paying homage to the Khan character from Star Trek. The original 1967 episode of the series was "Space Seed", and was later turned into the 1982 film, Star Trek II, The Wrath of Khan. The story of genetically and intellectually superior human beings is one some of us tend to fixate on, myself included, since in my line of work, there is always going to be someone, or something trying to outsmart me. When you earn your living by attempting to please an electronic entity, it's easy to be blindsided by its intelligence.
R.I.P. Gary Carter: Last week, the baseball world lost Gary Carter, the iconic catcher for the New York Mets, whose never-say-die attitude lead the team to victory over the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 World Series. Carter succumbed to inoperable brain cancer on February 16, at the age of 57. Fans of the Mets and the Montreal Expos remember Carter as "Kid", the man who donned the "tools of ignorance" with a smile on his face, and the fiercest competitive nature of any man who ever played the game. The team in baseball heaven just got a whole lot better.