Rest Assured, The Beatles Did It First

Gather ’round kids, Grandpa’s gonna tell you a story.

Long before the Internet, we used to have to settle arguments the ol’ fashioned way: out-bullshit your opponent. There was no final word. You either gathered enough people to support your argument, or raised your voice until your friend submitted and cried. Either way, the lines between fact and crap were blurred at best.

For instance, I remember when I was in college, a friend of mine was convinced that Alfonso from Silver Spoons was Mario Lopez, aka Slater from Saved by the Bell. Wh-wh-wh-what? They’re not even the same ethnicity! Clearly, my argument against said statement was right, but I couldn’t support it (yes, I went to college before the web was widely accessible). So, it wasn’t until several months later, when I was at home for the summer, that I had a Saturday morning eureka moment, having caught an episode of Saved by the Bell, cross-referencing an old copy of Teen Beat magazine (not my subscription, I assure you). However, trying to rub a victory in one’s face several months later hardly satiates the ego. In the end, I was left with nothing more than my own personal satisfaction. What a bunch of hooey….

Flash ahead — ahem — 10 years, and I was at the Pitchfork Music Festival with my friends, discussing Slint and their final album, Spiderland. Here’s the conversation/argument, as I recollect it:

Friend: Man, Spiderland was such a great album.

Me: Totally (said with a Valley-Girl-esque accent)

Friend: And a great album cover too…so original….

Me: Actually, it’s a tribute/rip-off of an old Beatles photo.

Friend: Which one?

Me: I’m not sure if it was an album cover or not, but it’s pretty well know.

Friend: Whateva. I call bullshit.

Me: No, seriously. I know that they’re in a pool, but that’s all I can remember. Hang on a sec… (pulls out web-enabled phone).

[One minute later]

Me: Here, see….. [shows Beatles photo to friend]

Slint and Beatles Album covers

Ignore for a minute, if you will, that I’m an argumentative, OCD a-hole that’s got to settle an dispute like this on the spot. Instead, think about how rapidly our world has changed in the past 10 – 15 years. All of the world’s information, though some non-essential, is at our fingertips, literally.

Perhaps it’s just the old man in me, one that lived back before we had voicemail (before tape-based answering machines even), that’s astounded by how easy it is to reference anything; how easy it is to be a know-it-all; how the sum of these technologies are changing how we interact with friends and strangers.

Let it be said that I, for one, am all for Progress. Let it continue to achieve new heights, and offer us better and faster ways to destroy friendships over petty disagreements.

The Beatles did it first. So there.

Posted on July 23, 2007 at 12:05 pm.