I received one of these “Awesome Card” emails today from Mom. Click it if you’d like, but trust me, it’s horrible. A fishy (Christian motif I presume, in my ignorance of such things) Flash “Sol et Lumiere” type of animation in which a humorless still life of fish, shells, and sea weed assembles itself, to rousing music, into the American eagle… I’m reminded of Roland Barthes on the semiotics of patriotism. But regardless of what’s intended with this kind of Flitsch, it’s significance is not evident in the “art” of the thing alone. Rather, it’s in the thing’s promulgation. And when I get these kinds of things from my Mom I wonder if I’ve just looked in on a vast subculture of suburbian Church organists and Tupperware sealers whose late night anxiety attacks are meted out, frame by frame, in the soothing and sprititually palliative creation of religious subversion, sent to friends the next morning as if doing so might count as penance… Are these some modern form of religious “indulgence?” What is their purpose? Is it in the making of them? Or is it in sending them about?
It’s funny, though. Being in this business, it’s easy to assume that the bleeding edge of the Net is at Flickr, or Tribe, or 43Things… I shiver at the thought that the bulk of social networking might actually look more like a couple guys in suits, hands clasping the Good Book, meticulously plunging index finger into doorbell upon doorbell upon doorbell….