Popups Are Back

I was looking for the raw footage of Osama bin Laden released by the Pentagon. Not on the Pentagon site that I could find. Not on the CIA site, that the Pentagon implies that you ought to go to. Nope.

Brought to you by these fine sponsors …

It seems that this taxpayer-paid footage isn’t available to actual taxpayers. No. It was released to major media outlets, and if you want to watch it, you have to sit through their mandatory commercials.

All of which brings up something that I’ve been noticing over the past months: Popups are back.

We THOUGHT we’d managed to kill them with popup stoppers in the early Aughts. But no. The prevalence of flash-enabled websites has slowly increased the possibility of mandatory popups and video, bypassing defenses against the mandatory and obnoxious popups that web users found so obnoxious and, frankly, fascist in earlier times.

Salon was first, of course, with their mandatory flash-enabled popups that used to demand that you watch a commercial in order to access any free content.

Fine. They gotta make a buck. But that’s one of the reasons that I don’t go to Salon as often as I might.

But lately, you cannot access many newspaper sites without getting automatic blasts of video and obnoxious audio that causes you to frantically search the page to find out where the offending ad content is, so that you can at least mute it, if not pause it.

“I’m so rich I don’t air-condition my Bentleys.
I just keep a dozen, chilled, in my ginormous refrigerator. “

Increasingly, the  only way to do that is to delete the page tab or return to a previous search page.

All of which gives away the game: the current internet is ruled by the click, and if you want to make money, you gots ta get them clicks.

The easiest way to do that is to make sure that the ads are mandatory, so that you get your per-click fee, no matter what.

And, in the case of site after site, you cannot avoid the popup.

Worse, on YouTube, the new thing is for popups WITHIN the postage-stamp sized video that you have to manually remove (thus ensuring the per-click fee).

Which is obnoxious, intrusive and generates an unholy hatred and intentional avoidance on my part towards the advertiser involved.

But we come back to the fundamental error and idiocy of American business, who think that reading Musashi’s Book of Five Rings and Sun Tzu’s Art of War are the ne plus ultra of being a business “warrior.”

What? Are they in business to kill the customers?

Uh, yeah, from the evidence.

‘targeted’ advertising?

Sometime in the late XXth century we moved from the “value given” model of business, in which the customer bought your product for its quality and price, and intangibles, like customer loyalty and service, and opted instead for the Junkie/Dealer model of forced commerce. You do not buy a computer: you buy a Barbie® doll, which is merely a platform for you to buy, buy, buy. Upgrades, internet service, pr0grams, peripherals, more upgrades, etc.

But you do not buy a computer.

Now, in this model, the idea that “free” advertising-supported content becomes a mandatory sales pitch because you cannot disable flash, java and javascript as easily as you disabled the old popups of the Aughts, well, you are not, therefore,  a customer. You are a victim.

Which is why Verizon pays money for your mandatory viewing of their crappy commercials if you try to see the FREE, PUBLIC DOMAIN, TAXPAYER-FINANCED Osama bin Laden videos. I have not found a site, try as I might, in which I can watch the freely distributed videos that my tax dollars paid for without having to bow and scrape to telephone companies and beauty product manufacturers.

And it’s only getting worse.

Because consumers in a consumer society are not honored: They are cattle to be herded and sheep to be sheared. And, I guess, enemies to be sliced open and war waged against.

Wonder why the economy sucks so bad? This is merely a symptom of a delusional society of greed that has entirely lost its way.

Popups are back, with a vengeance.

Too bad you can’t shoot THEM over the left eye.

Dr. Guillot’s magic wealth equalization machine

Because I’d do it. Don’t you doubt it.


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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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