The Brunching Shuttlecocks  * The Self-Made Critic

Paleolithic Web Pages

by L. Fitzgerald Sjöberg

The Spot
Back before the Spot, Web-wide world was divided as to whether we should use these new-fangled "background gif" and "table" features on our Web pages, or stick with minimal markup, which would allow even blind people to find out how much we like They Might Be Giants. Along came The Spot, which proved once and for all that by giving the big finger to the blind, you could attract sighted geeks by the bargeload. This was accomplished by having fictional women in bikinis write about their personal lives in large fonts with orange backgrounds. So you can see it was an important step in the evolution of the Web. D

The Dysfunctional Family Circus
The entire purpose of this column, actually, is to provide a link to this seminal (in the literal sense of being full of semen) Web page. The DFC was devoted to the proposition that The Family Circus is much funnier if you assume that someone is always having kinky sex off-panel, and who can argue with that? At any rate, the DFC got the Barrister Smackdown from Keane and Co., so check it out before it's all over. A

Mirsky's Worst of the Web
A sort of primordial weblog, this site once linked to three or four pages that were generally so bad it made your monitor curdle. So if you're wondering why all monitors these days come with anti-curdle defractors, that's why. You might wonder why you'd want to be directed to bad pages, but this was before Geocities made bad home pages a buyer's market. B-

This page, now lost forever as far as I can tell, was inexplicably popular back in the day. (Sept 23, 1995) It took pandering to newbies to an entirely new level, going so far as to explain how to move and click your mouse, as if people would have gotten to the page in the first place by random quantum arrangement of electrons. The popularity may have been explained in part by a glowing endorsement from Rodney Dangerfield. The Web was really hard up for celebrity endorsement back then. D+

The Garden of Eden
Eve Astrid Andersson was the original Hot Web Babe, based on the fact that she was female, had a Web page, and had memorized hundreds of digits of pi. Andersson's star has been eclipsed, sadly enough, by the hundreds of pay-per-peek Web sites with "cam" in the name, but know that there was once a time when a woman's attractiveness on the Web was measured not by how much skin she flashed at her QuickCam, but by how many numbers she could stuff into her brain at once. B

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