When I think about web-safe colors, another form of “safety” that mediated my earliest experiences with the internet comes to mind.

Our family ended up being relatively late adopters just because they didn’t know how best to steel themselves against (or protect me from) potential temptations mixed in with the internet’s benefits. Others in their community looked to my parents for moral guidance and, being prominent church members, my parents strove to set good examples.

Their solution was CleanWeb, a Christian internet filtering service that, as far as I can tell, has been defunct over a decade. When browsing toward objectionable content it would redirect users to another page prominently displaying the service’s logo: blue initials “CW” in jagged, mock-expressive letterforms probably better suited to Xtreme sports.

On one hand, it was frustrating: CleanWeb over-zealously blocked many unexpected (and entirely unobjectionable) websites. In its own way it was also a fun challenge: finding the right esoteric search terms to skirt CleanWeb’s metrics taught me colorful words in other languages (like “caliente”) and gave me an early taste for some of the more bizarre fetish photography proliferating online.

I didn’t always “win” at this cat and mouse game between my budding libido and CleanWeb, but in looking back I certainly came out on top often enough. 😉

Joshua Caleb Weibley is an artist, occasional curator and sometime writer based in Brooklyn. He may be contacted via http://www.thebestrevenge.info.