Shelley Bridgeman 's Opinion

Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman: Fluctuating web fascinations

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People who've grabbed my online attention this year include (L-R) Charlie Sheen, Catherine, Duchess of Windsor and expat Kiwi Cameron Leslie. Photos / Creative Commons image by Angela George, AFP, Supplied
People who've grabbed my online attention this year include (L-R) Charlie Sheen, Catherine, Duchess of Windsor and expat Kiwi Cameron Leslie. Photos / Creative Commons image by Angela George, AFP, Supplied

High-low has long been a catch-cry of the fashion industry. It's a term used to describe mixing designer clothes with garments from chain stores: think Karen Walker trousers paired with, say, a Glassons tee-shirt.

High-low is descriptor that also comes to mind when thinking about how I use the internet these days. There's a discernible pattern that varies depending upon when exactly I'm online.

I typically start the day in the fine, upstanding manner of a good citizen; I'll peruse serious news sites in order to catch up with national events and anything major that happened overnight in the northern hemisphere.

Unfortunately, it's pretty much downhill from there. I check out a few local blogging sites to see who or what is causing an online kerfuffle and I might watch comedy by someone like Chelsea Handler or Dai Henwood.

By 10pm my web surfing tastes are about as lowbrow as it's possible to be. There are no more searches even pretending to be related to current events, newsmakers or issues of the day; rather I'm hell-bent on trawling the lower reaches of the internet for all the mindless dross on offer.

I might look at family photographs in which the baby's or child's head has been swapped for that of the mum or dad - creepy yet alluring. The woman singing The Mom Song - basically a constant stream of things we tell our children - to the tune of the William Tell Overture was a long-time favourite and at one stage I really enjoyed watching clips of George W. Bush spontaneously creating new words. (Bush-isms may be old, but they have enduring appeal. I had to force myself to stop saying "misunderestimate" when I started forgetting it wasn't really a word.)

A few months ago I couldn't get enough of Charlie Sheen and his very visible meltdown. I watched every clip I could find: the rambling interviews, the news anchors discussing the rambling interviews and all the parodies of the rambling interviews set to music. It was like witnessing a train crash in ultra slow motion.

And sure I felt a bit guilty. Finding entertainment in watching someone's mental health so publicly and spectacularly deteriorate clearly wasn't a worthy pastime.

My recent YouTube history reveals a catholic - read: haphazard and undiscerning - mix of subjects.

Along with 44,000 others, I watched Classic Hits' spoof of Cameron Leslie's infamous "Naturally I finished my set" quote during the Campbell Live interview.

I was one of 446,000 who watched Amy Winehouse play with baby mice and over 14-million of us saw Ronnie Corbett's My Blackberry is not working! skit.

Kate Middleton is the current focus of my late night curiosity. But it's not the breathless, airbrushed, how-fab-she-is version peddled by the mainstream media. There are some alternative websites out there that do anything but fawn over the freshly minted Duchess of Cambridge.

Some of them are kind of funny. At katemiddletonforthewin.tumblr.com they put delightfully apt captions - such as "What do you mean your wedding isn't a national holiday?", "Oh dear, I seem to have forgotten where the carriage is parked again" and "You did not just say 'out of champagne' to me" - on photographs of Kate to match her facial expression and body language.

Others websites are far more direct about her perceived sense of entitlement.

There's a thread at royalgossip.forumprofi.de - where they refer to her as Waity and chat about her cat-got-the-cream smile - called 'William and Kate looking annoyed, disgusted and unhappy with one another' in which people minutely dissect video footage for signs of friction between the newly-weds.

Late at night such mean-spirited sites are inexplicably enticing. But come the morning, no doubt I'll be calmly sipping my cup of tea and reading the latest political news as if that's all I ever do.

Shelley Bridgeman

Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman is a truck-driving, supermarket-going, horse-riding mother-of-one who is still married to her first husband. As a Herald online blogger, she specialises in First World Problems and delves fearlessly into the minutiae of daily life. Twice a week, she shares her perspective on a pressing current issue and invites readers to add their ten cents’ worth to the debate.

Read more by Shelley Bridgeman

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