pAGE 2 OF 3 -- Can you bellive this crap? someone did.

This is where Walter comes in to break the cyclical mold of generations which grow up to become their parents. He is quick to mention in his writing that he is of the first generation to use computers more than watch television. Ten years ago, at age ten, they helped hook up the family's first home computer. They taught their older siblings to use it for college, and their parents to track investments on CompuServe. And, fifteen years ago at age five, they helped their elders program the VCR. Today, even though they will never earn what their elders earned, they feel as if they serve as workstation support drones for anyone born before 1964.

Grandfather's reprehensible behavior shows that all generations are equal, morally. More symbolism is seen in the interesting fact that in the Information Age, downsized fifty- and sixtysomethings often compete with X-ers, if not for the same jobs, at the same salary levels.

Parental fears of foul language on the Internet is spoofed by the symbolism of Walter's excessive poor spelling. The fear of pornography is mocked by a complete absence of graphics entirely. The fear of anti-social material on the Internet, such as bomb-making instructions, and on-line hate groups is lampooned by the pervasive, saturated use of low humor.

Even the latest technologies themselves are parodied, as the Walter Miller Home Page is built in the lowest end of World Wide Web publishing tools. The very fact that something exists called a "Home Page" illustrates this least-respected form of self-expression. These narcissistic vehicles so filled with personal yet unimportant information--and then published for the world to access as a local phone call--are treated as true comedy in Walter Miller's work--considering the utter lack of value of the information that is launched out there on the superhighway.

The grandfather's svengali-like control over Walter illustrate the edge the older generations have on the younger, and the resentment it has bred. The grandfather's spartan yet opulent lifestyle symbolizes the opportunity the older generations have had. Grandfather's frustrations, impatience and urges are those more burdened upon younger generations. Yet mostly, the old man enjoys life, and enjoys it to the fullest.

The overwhelming, bombastic use of toilet humor pushes the boundaries of excess: it is just too much. Reminiscent of the German Expressionist Art movement of 1905 to 1913, it is a very dark picture, not of sunken-eyed proletarian urbanites in unreal colors, but instead of unimaginable literary descriptions of unmentionable human functions. Even those who find all censorship abhorrent do indeed self-censor these episodes out of their own lives to all but those closest to them. But Walter broadcasts it all for the world to read.

Therefore it is easy to see that the exaggerated low humor is a lampooning of censorship itself--perhaps the biggest issue of the Internet of the late 1990s. The libidinous episodes of the grandfather spoof the concept even more. The old character's vigor despite his age and condition further exemplify all that the older generations have, and all that they are cheating the younger ones out of. Walter's Grandfather enjoys the opposite sex, while Walter, so much younger and in the prime of life cannot--and even if he did, would have AIDS to worry about.

A major persistent question arises to continually nag the reader: Is Walter Miller for real? Obviously not. This brilliant work is the work of a mad, yet passionate genius--who is alarmingly accurate about popular culture, trends, and inter-generational sociology. Yet Walter even spoofs the fact that he may or may not be "real." At one point he actually keeps a tally of which percentages of the reading populace, based on his mail, (which may, or may not even be true itself), believe that his story is true. Even the authenticity of Walter Miller's message, and indeed, his very existence are open to self-ridicule.

Additional meaning is seen in the pandemic poor spelling. It is emblematic of the failure of the schools, and the need to access self-education on the Internet, a realm that belongs to the younger, not older generations.

Grandfather's peculiar collectibles--and their ridiculous volume--point to excess in consumption and a denigration of the environment. Walter lives in a landfill--a junkyard in what was once the virgin American West, the place of dreams and the land people proved themselves on.


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