Anyone who's ever had the misfortune to attend or work at an academic institution that uses the horrible classroom software Blackboard knows that it is a worse-than-useless exercise in technological sadism that is responsible for more pain and suffering than practically any other technology in educational history. But it takes the eloquence of Dave Noon's epic, Lovecraftian rant to truly express the loathing that Blackboard inspires in its users: "After generations of dry-throated croaking and lung-starched wheezing, their tongues swollen with thirst and punctured with abscesses that never heal, these distant people will bring forth a new language to survey the boundaries of their pain."
At first, their speech will flow together in single, blasphemous strands of adjectival protest; they will speak without subjects, no proper names or pronouns to jolt them into the kind of self-recognition that could only serve as a spur to mass, urgent suicide. In time, their words will be hacked into tinier fragments of salivated fury, as their lips and tongues and few-remaining-teeth jostle ruthlessly to disgorge themselves into the foul space that separates one antagonist from another. With arm-sized splinters of trees that were fortunate enough to perish centuries before, they will jab massive holes into their upper palates to accommodate the new sounds needed to register their misfortune and threaten each other with gross physical harm. Inbred mutants with hideous nasocranial deformities will gain selective advantage in the linguistic struggle for existence. They will use this new language to enslave one another, to plot out gristly sprees that might be called murder if there were anything near to law restraining them, like a weak sphincter, from unleashing their worst. There will be decades of forced labor, violent spasms of resistance and recrimination carried out with grossly disproportionate injury to bystanders who are, alas, never as innocent as they seem.
On the outskirts of this new language, lurking on its crimsoned frontier, will lie words that will themselves have been cast into exile – foul offgassings within a lexicon that itself stands as a towering monument to the boundlessly obscene, words that will curve backward and devour themselves, each one an afflicted universe in the process of total collapse, words that exist for microseconds before streaking, unremembered and unmourned, into the void.
Christ, I hate Blackboard [Dave Noon/Lawyers Guns Money]
(via Hacker News)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.