Previously in Web Citations:
The Law and Spirit of the Letter
The digital age may (or may not) spell the death of print, but it has breathed new life into the art of type.
In some quarters, the spirit of Haight-Ashbury is still kicking. Should we care?
Outside the Islamic world, the Net can serve as eyes and ears to the faithful.
What Side Are You On?
Order and chaos, right and wrong, good and evil. True believers know what the U.S. v. Microsoft case is really about.
Head for the Hills
Are you prepared for Y2K and impending global chaos? Find help on the Web (while you still can).
Unified Mouse Theory
Welcome to the wonderful world of Disney.
Beta-testing the Bible
Not just another digital-age prophecy.
Break on Through
Portal, n. 1. A door, gate, or entrance; esp: a grand or imposing one.
For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.
Something for Everyone|
February 3, 1999
This past week people all over the world were able to watch live (albeit halting) Webcasts of two major news events: the Pope's visit to St. Louis and the impeachment hearings in the Senate. Meanwhile, many more people were logging onto lower-profile Web sites that offer live video -- sites on which the content is amazing, trivial, inexplicable, pornographic, or some combination of the above. Two conspicuous trends (aside from pornography) emerge from a quick and necessarily unscientific survey of such sites, which include everything from a live Chapel Cam (courtesy of the monastic order of the Monks of Adoration) to streaming video of a frequently jammed bridge over to Cape Cod.
2: Live From the Animal Kingdom! The live-action Web market offers the opportunity to do animal -- along with people -- watching. The Humane Society of Miami always has a video camera on one of the (invariably adorable) dogs it hopes will be adopted, with a sign in the background that says, "Take Me Home!" The tactic seems to work. About twice a day you'll encounter a new dog and will learn, for instance, that "April has gone home." Most animal
What does all this mean? Not much -- and that's the point. Events like the Pope's visit and the impeachment trial can be likened to TV network blockbusters, while the rest of the live Web scene resembles nothing so much as the programming on a gigantic community-access cable station -- with all the pointless yet somehow fascinating entertainments that that would entail. If the Web demonstrates the truth of the maxim that there's something for everyone, it also proves that there's someone for everything.
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Katie Bacon is the senior editor of Atlantic Unbound.
Copyright © 1999 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.