Click on any phrase to play the video at that point.Close
I wrote this poem after hearing a pretty well known actress tell a very well known interviewer on television, "I'm really getting into the Internet lately. I just wish it were more organized." So ... (Laughter) If I controlled the Internet, you could auction your broken heart on eBay. Take the money; go to Amazon; buy a phonebook for a country you've never been to -- call folks at random until you find someone who flirts really well in a foreign language.
If I were in charge of the Internet, you could Mapquest your lover's mood swings. Hang left at cranky, right at preoccupied, U-turn on silent treatment, all the way back to tongue kissing and good lovin'. You could navigate and understand every emotional intersection. Some days, I'm as shallow as a baking pan, but I still stretch miles in all directions. If I owned the Internet, Napster, Monster and Friendster.com would be one big website. That way you could listen to cool music while you pretend to look for a job and you're really just chattin' with your pals.
Listen, you'll see being dead is dandy. Now you go back to raising kids and waging peace and craving candy." If I designed the Internet, childhood.com would be a loop of a boy in an orchard, with a ski pole for a sword, trashcan lid for a shield, shouting, "I am the emperor of oranges. I am the emperor of oranges. I am the emperor of oranges." Now follow me, OK?
Grandma.com would be a recipe for biscuits and spit-bath instructions. One, two, three. That links with hotdiggitydog.com. That is my grandfather. They take you to gruff-ex-cop-on-his-fourth-marriage.dad. He forms an attachment to kind-of-ditzy-but-still-sends-ginger-snaps-for-Christmas.mom, who downloads the boy in the orchard, the emperor of oranges, who grows up to be me -- the guy who usually goes too far. So if I were emperor of the Internet, I guess I'd still be mortal, huh? But at that point, I would probably already have the lowest possible mortgage and the most enlarged possible penis (Laughter) -- so I would outlaw spam on my first day in office. I wouldn't need it. I'd be like some kind of Internet genius, and me, I'd like to upgrade to deity and maybe just like that -- pop! -- I'd go wireless.
Huh? Maybe Google would hire this. I could zip through your servers and firewalls like a virus until the World Wide Web is as wise, as wild and as organized as I think a modern-day miracle/oracle can get, but, ooh-eee, you want to bet just how whack and un-PC your Mac or PC is going to be when I'm rocking hot-shit-hot-shot-god.net? I guess it's just like life. It is not a question of if you can -- it's: do ya? We can interfere with the interface. We can make "You've got Hallelujah" the national anthem of cyberspace every lucky time we log on. You don't say a prayer. You don't write a psalm. You don't chant an "om." You send one blessed email to whomever you're thinking of at dah-da-la-dat-da-dah-da-la-dat.com. Thank you, TED.
You can share this video by copying this HTML to your clipboard and pasting into your blog or web page.
need to get the latest Flash player.
Got an idea, question, or debate inspired by this talk? Start a TED Conversation.
How many poets could cram eBay, Friendster and Monster.com into 3-minute poem worthy of a standing ovation? Enjoy Rives' unique talent.
Performance artist and storyteller Rives has been called "the first 2.0 poet," using images, video and technology to bring his words to life. Full bio »