a final SUIT column by Chris Jungle
Fifteen years ago this week, my brothers and I were sitting around in St. Petersburg, Florida. I had just graduated college and moved out to the swamp to start an Internet radio station. The Internet was just beginning, and we were going to be at the forefront. Or something like that.
The radio station idea went belly up just as soon as I got to town, so I spent the rest of my summer wallowing in the ghetto of St. Petersburg. That ghetto would riot and burn down a McDonald's about a month after I left. On the upside, I did go to the beach multiple times a week. Before I left back to the desert in September, we brothers three decided to write on-line columns.
I was big into free speech and being able to say whatever you wanted. The Internet seemed like a great medium for expressing ideas, so we came up with the Shut Up, I'm Talking columns. I was already writing columns under the pen name Chris Jungle for my brother's zine called Lies, so I kept the name and began writing one once a week. Remember, this was back in 1996.
I don't recall when the exact moment was when someone came up with the word 'blog,' but that's when the rest of the world had the same idea as my brothers and I. Suddenly everyone was expressing their views on-line. They would blog about this, that and the other. I never wanted to admit it (these are columns, dammit!), but we were doing the exact same thing. It didn't matter if we did it first. Even the name sounds ugly: blog. Bleh, blah, bog, blog. Ew. As the Internet grew, my interest in it waned. What started as a place to have free expression, free music (remember Napster?) and free porn slowly became a corporate monster. Social networks began. Friendster, then MySpace, and now Facebook. I never liked any of them. Because I was in a rock band, I thought I needed a MySpace page. When the band ended after four years, so did my social network.
Everyone grows old and tired in their own special way. My way is to not embrace the new technology. I don't have a cell phone (never did), I have one e-mail address, and my TV is about as fat and heavy as you can get. Pretty much the only thing I did on the Internet was this column, and that has gotten old as well.
During my bachelor days, it was easy to schedule Sunday mornings as column writing time. Pour a couple cups of coffee (with a touch of Irish Creme) and pound out 500-700 words on whatever. That worked for about ten to twelve years. Then I had kid. Then I got married. My time was not so easy to schedule. Even Sunday mornings.
There is also this disturbing element to our country these days: everyone has a fervent opinion on everything. It's as if everyone thinks they have a Shut Up, I'm Talking column. Except theirs has a lot more name calling and insults. This country is as divided as ever, and the sad truth in my eyes is that both sides are completely incompetent in completely different ways.
After 15 years of commenting on anything and everything, and trust me, it's not as easy as you think to come up with an entertaining column every week. Those who've read my columns would probably agree.
Nevertheless, it was a great run. Longer than I ever imagined we would go. I wish my brothers the best, and I will of course keep reading. It is, however, time to bow out of my Internet project. It wasn't a radio station, but Shut Up, I'm Talking kept three brothers connected when they could have gone without speaking to each other for years instead. That alone made it worth doing.
So long, folks. The time has finally come for me to shut up. I'm done talking.
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