I’ve hated the Buzzfeeding of the Internet since before there was a Buzzfeed. I remember working for Cracked.com in the early days when they had first relaunched, and every time I did something for them, they came back to me and said it had to be expanded into the form of a list. This was many years ago. And I argued with them. And guess what—they were right. Lists work. People love them. LOVE them. In this A.D.D. world of infinite content, people want little tidbits of entertainment, fast and simple. And that’s what they get from Buzzfeed, Cracked, Huffpo, etc… Not to say there aren’t some well-thought out pieces of truly entertaining content on these sites. It’s just… well, it depresses me that this sort of psychological trickery is so effective. It makes it seems like humans are robots—easily hacked.
Oh but anyway, this week’s Dustinland comic is inspired by all of that. I could do it forever, honestly. It was hard to stop at 11. Maybe I’ll do a sequel if this one blows up and I get a zillion hits. Whatevs. Internets. I mean, because Internets.
This week’s Dustinland is usually not a big problem for me since I rarely indulge in a guilty reading pleasure. I really do mostly enjoy non-fiction (but only about cool stuff like people falling off Everest or dudes dying while drilling tunnels or how rough life was back in 1902 on the Bowery) or classics or other “good” books that you read about on Best of the Year lists. But sometimes I get bored and just want to relax into a fantasy world that does not in anyway remind me of my own life, and that’s when I go for some sci-fi. Good sci-fi is really hard to find though. I haven’t read much at all, and just stepping foot in the sci-fi section at Barnes & Noble makes me want to puke. Everything looks like crap a 14-year-old in 1972 would love. So unless you have a really dorky friend who can give you good recommendations, you’re stuck browsing Amazon for lists. And then, once you finally do find a good sci-fi fantasy nerd book, you get what this week’s comic is about: a horrible cover that poorly represents the masterpiece you hold in front of you. Sure, you can tell everyone else about how the book is a classic, a metaphor for the Vietnam war, the book that inspired Stephen King to become a writer… but it doesn’t matter, because you’re holding a paperback with an exploding spaceship on it. The same goes for every genre out there — just replace the exploding spaceship with submarines, slamming gavels, or quivering bosoms.