Message boards ensure the survival of obscure subcultures and midget porn.
By Kris Takahashi
The internet has been a birthplace for a variety of new cultures, from chat roomers and file sharers to midget pornography rings. One such net community, the message board, has given free forum for people to discuss, argue, and bitch slap each other from the comfort of their own homes. However, when it comes to underground scene, the importance of these boards goes beyond random party girls and nerdy extremists looking to score. The underground culture has not only survived, but thrived as a result of net threads.
Normally, internet hoods are a lot like a crowded club after five drinks: everybody has an opinion, and all the chicks are hot. Kind of as if everyone was blind. By the way, do blind guys imagine that every chick they talk to is hot? Then again, does a blind guy know what a hot chick looks like?
Message boards, on the other hand, are less of a meeting between horny perverts and more like a modern day convention. The priority is promoting the music, and on every board you'll find diehard fans whose nerd equivalent is the guy wearing a Klingon suit at Star Trek gatherings. People who frequent the sites can then find out about all kinds of DJ's, bands, and parties that might have crept under the radar.
Of course, just as your average Trekkie argues between Kirk and Picard(Geez I know way too much about that show - god I'm a loser), message boards are open to constant debate and the kind of one-upmanship you only see at after school fights. Here is one such exchange:
DJ Groove: (you should pick up) Firewire - Cosmic Gate
Disco Stu: ummm...that song is from 2001...isn't that good IMO, unless it took 3 years for a decent remix to come out.
DJ Groove: Mental atmosphere! (apparently some kind of insult - yeah, I don't get it either)
Disco Stu: (comes back with a picture of the album cover) Firewire by Cosmic Gate, released: July 23 2001. Please inform me when I'm supposed to stop making you look like a fool.
Michael Reese: (who is this guy?) Cosmic Gate is guido cheese with stupid one liner samples thrown in........no need to argue over it.....
Seriously, isn't it great watching people fight? I haven't seen this much tension since Kelly dumped Zach for that older college guy on "Saved by the Bell". And what's Zach doing on NYPD Blue? Every time I see him, I'm just waiting for Slater to come out, slap him on the back and say, "That's some crime scene we got there, hey Preppy?" Can't the networks fire Dennis Franz and make this happen?
In any case, there's something to be said about message board banter. DJ Groove trying to display his prowess, Disco Stu shutting him down, and Reese playing the role of the loser trying to make peace. It's like watching random boxers on ESPN2, you don't care who wins as long as somebody gets their brains bashed in.
Not Your Typical Chat Room
The average forum can range from a few posts to the thousands, depending on the topic. However, that's only counting users who actually post their comments. Each thread can actually have hundreds more users who merely view the posts for information, and therefore in actuality some sites are reaching tens of thousands of people daily. What makes the culture so popular is that the topics aren't limited to music, that's merely what brought the people together in the first place. While the major discussions involve parties and music, forums can debate anything from the politics to genital herpes. This creates a domino effect: The more people are hitting up message boards for whatever reasons, the more people are exposed to the music. Do I sound like a scientist? I bet there's an equation for this. Let's see...
X = Topics + People(Pie)
That's not a real equation, you say? Someone get me the guy from "A Beautiful Mind". No, not John Nash, I'm talking about actor and extreme poet Russell Crowe. I don't want someone to fix my math, I want someone to beat people up for doubting it.
For most genres, board cultures aren't a vital component of keeping the music alive. If the internet were gone tomorrow, you would still have MTV and local radio stations pumping out the usual hits over and over again until our ears bleed. However, for the underground scene, word of mouth has always been the backbone. Which is why it's important for that medium to reach the widest audience possible. Before the net, promotion of indie music would be as if MTV broadcast locally in New York. With message boarding, the audience has become national, and spawned an entirely new culture. A culture that, one can argue, rivals even the largest of midget pornography rings.