This is something I wrote back in 1996. I think it still applies.
Irritainment is that which you cannot use, yet cannot ignore.
You are drowning in it at this very second.
Irritainment is the paragon thief of time. It lays over all media in a thin, gaudy film of useless adjectives, pointless diversions, fruitless color and flash.
It is utter distraction, badly disguised as enhancement — the sort of toothless brain-rot found in TV news banter, Shockwave animations, CNN factoids, and stupid experiments such as the one above.
Truth, beauty and sense wither in irritainment’s hideous glow.
Yet irritainment is not the new flavor of the new millennium. It’s been with us from the moment Burma-Shave posted signs along Route 66, coagulating in soft-drink jingles and bus billboards, moronic Bazooka Joe Bubblegum comics and Web banner ads.
Irritainment breeds and festers in the nation’s toy factories, ad agencies, interactive design studios.
Irritainment is Pokémon, tattoos both permanent and temporary, Tickle-Me Elmo, cool free toys at McDonald’s.
You cannot close your eyes, your ears, your mind to it unless you step back from your keyboard, fling it out the window and retreat to a candle-lit tarpaper shack in the woods.
And even there, irritainment will come back to taunt you as imagined ghosts flickering between the shadows on your tarpaper walls.
So why … fight … it?
After all, the Web itself is irritainment incarnate. You’re swimming in it right now. Are you not irritained?