Sunday, June 29, 2008

Of waterfalls and loneliness

A favorite habit of bloggers--or at least the ones I know--is examining one's Sitemeter statistics to see how people find your blog. It is an amusing, if sometimes depressing, undertaking. I am often saddened by the desperate 3am Googlers searching the terms "bedbugs" who end up here. I feel your pain, brothers and sisters! But don't worry--bedbugs don't always result in the total and utter catastrophe documented on many other blogs. Once my apartment was treated just once, I never saw another little bugger again.

For a while I had lots of European visitors, many searching for lyrics to a song called "Suburbia, Always." I do not believe I have ever heard this song, but the Euros seem to love it. Similarly, my European friends frequently search for lederhosen and dirndl pictures as well as photos of Leipzig.

What amuses me most, though, and something I've been thinking a lot about lately, due to this recent news story which documents the role of Google data in defining and contesting what "pornography" is, is just how dirty people are. In the Google data case, the defense--which is representing an internet pornography site owner--is trying to establish that community norms are much, um, broader than once thought. As the New York Times so blithely put it, "residents of Pensacola are more likely to use Google to search for terms like “orgy” than for “apple pie” or “watermelon.” Don't I know it! Well, I don't know about Pensacola so much, but I can say that:

1) People in Turkey love to search Google using terms like "ohne unterhosen" and "wunderbar porno." Disappointingly for them, they sometimes end up here, due to my poor choice of previous blog titles. They also search for porn using the name of poor Sibel Kekilli. C'mon Turkish dudes! She's a legitimate actress now!

2) Germans also love their porno, but seem to have more specialized tastes. I am mildly delighted that so many people in Germany searching terms like "scheiss porn" end up looking at my dopey pictures of alligators and birds instead.

Overall, I often get the sense that the world is a lonely place, with lots of people with unfulfilled desires. Of course, the world is not made up solely of Googlers, so I like to think (and suspect this may be what undermines the defense in the case described above) that they are not representative of the world at large. Maybe most people are totally sexually satisfied and are out frolicking in the sunshine rather than sitting at the computer screen with their hands stuck down their pants.

On that note, I was shocked to discover yesterday, after frolicking in the sunshine, that one of Olaf Eliasson's waterfalls is clearly visible from my block. After further investigation (which involved turning my head in the other direction), I discovered that two waterfalls are clearly visible from my block! Because I try not to be lazy, I decided to get a little closer. They are pretty. Thanks Olaf!

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