Flash critics shortsighted?

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“While doing some research for this talk I came upon an article titled “Flash is Evil” and thought it to be comically short sighted…so I went back in time and collected a few similarly short sighted quotes that I could use as the map for this introduction.”

I’m sorry but I fail to see how Flash is new at all. I remember the Amiga demo scene from the early 90s. At that time we loved sizzling visual effects, in fact I still have fond memories of Scoopex‘s Mental Hangover. 10 years later, I have yet to see anything done with Flash even remotely as visually engaging. Hillman Curtis doesn’t address any of Flash’s many shortcomings (already well documented all over the place) yet he wants to ridicule its detractors through farfetched comparisons.

First, comparison is one of the most sloppiest thinking processes one can find. It can help people grasp concepts but I don’t see how it can be used to demonstrate anything. The scientific process of comparison: water is liquid, people wash with water, hot lead is liquid, hence it can be used by people to take a shower.

Second, web-enabled communication is a two-way medium. Where are the Flash sites that let people interact with one another? Flash blogs or discussion groups anyone? (08/04/01 update: yeah, I forgot to mention there’s one example of a Flash blog, wow). Flash is used about 100% of the time to push content. Very fine (so are movies and paintings), but what has it to do with the telephone?

Third, it’s common usage on the web (the stuff that supports real hypertext) to link to people you criticize. (Speaking of Dack, I reach first base in my boobash prediction game.)
I’d like to see the arguments that came during that speech, hoping there was more substance than in the intro. Real artists usually don’t need to do so much name dropping to justify their art form (Picasso and Mozart invoked in defense of Flash… is there an emoticon to mean “eyes rolling and a smirk”?)

Flash is an old CD-ROM authoring tool repurposed for the net. There’s a place for making pretty animations and tours/demos with it that hardly anybody would argue. But no one demonstrated that this tool can do anything else. And we’ve been hearing the avant garde underground bullshit for years. The web is less an “audience” than a meeting place, so all that supposedly cutting edge design fails to recognize the real breakthrough. Millions of people can now meet and exchange their views, and Flash has nothing to do with that picture. Not that we don’t want it to, but it excludes itself from the two-way web by design.
Real last minute live experience: my browser crashed so badly thanks to Agency.com Flash that I had to reboot. But I’m drifting.

Enough bashing guys that bash guys that bash Flash! I’ll get bashed.

05/03/01: CNet, more cutting edge than ever: Criticism of Flash grows with its popularity.


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