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 The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow.

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Oct 13, 2001
That's how I have felt since I came on the internet. To think, I'd never heard of linux, had only used a computer a few times, and knew little of the internet, before fatefully buying a computer on a whim and coming online about a year ago, at the age of 24.

More diaries by bc
Troubles with Impure Thoughts
Damned Lies!
The diaries Section has been hijacked
Meta Nonsense
Why I want a Wiccan Wife
At first I thought, "Hey, this internet thing is quite good, you can find out just about anything on google that's known to man", but before long I realised that it is a strange, bizarre world full of linux apologists and strange politics that bears absolutely no relationship with real life.

And many of the people seem at once naive and arrogant. The recent articles here, iat's thoughtful review on Mandrake and elenchos' call for legislative responsibility wrt these hackers, have outlined how foolish many people on the internet are, and the strange (I mean surreal!) worldviews they have. I always knew it was pretty bad, but I didn't realise it was this bad.

Mind you, I've never met anybody who has heard of Linux, the DMCA, 'kernels', or any of the shit that is thought so important online, in real life. Are they common IRL in America or something? Is this why the internet seems so strange, because it is full of Americans and is no different to real life America but very different to backward parts of Scotland?

Perhaps I am in the wrong part of the internet. Maybe I should go to yahoo groups or msn, maybe normal folk hang out there, but I doubt it. And the lunacy of the linux/computing crowd interests me anyway - it has an unnatural fascination, like a car crash or train wreck.

In other news, I have become obsessed by Blake again. Every now and then my little everyman pocket book of Blake poetry calls out to me, and I find myself binging.

Bleh, I'm going read the marriage of Heaven and Hell a bit, it rules


Hmm... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
by SpaceGhoti on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 05:03:49 AM PST
Is this why the internet seems so strange, because it is full of Americans and is no different to real life America but very different to backward parts of Scotland?

Well, when you consider that the Internet was developed as a joint project by the US military and US universities, dropped by the military as a bad deal and continued by the universities, you have an inkling of the foundation of the Internet.

Yes, it's largely an American creature. No, it isn't going to stay that way. US influence will probably dominate the Internet for a while longer, but not forever. Nothing resists change. It took over twenty years for the US public to key in to the fact that the Internet was there. It took another few years for big business to jump onto the bandwagon. Now the global community is another step closer to a reality, and we'll just have to see where we go from there.

Buck up. Scotland will eventually carve a tiny niche for itself in the Internet.

A troll's true colors.

You are SO stupid, man. (none / 0) (#2)
by tkatchev on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 05:29:04 AM PST
The Internet isn't American. The thing is, the Internet is a highly segregated environment, and people who visit one part of the Internet typically have absolutely no idea what goes on in other parts. For example, how many Russian-language sites have you visited in the last year? Probably zero. Likewise, Russian Internet users probably never visit English-language sites. Speaking from experience, Russian Internet has a completely different culture and a different set of issues. In fact, Russian Internet is even segregated physically from American Internet -- "foreign" traffic is typically several times more expensive than domestic, and sometimes even downright inaccessible! (Not like anybody cares anyways, since normal people don't read English-language sites.)

I'd just like to ask you to refrain from making comments on subjects you have no clue about.

Peace and much love...

Ah, I see. (none / 0) (#4)
by SpaceGhoti on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 06:19:57 AM PST
Clearly, I'd forgotten about your Certificate of Enlightenment. My most sincere apologies.

I'm afraid that my transparently ignorant and wayward comments were influenced by my twelve years on the Internet and five years working for companies that were either on the Internet or programming for it. Your comments about Russia are beyond reproach.

Having been corrected by your obviously superior insight, I hereby recant my heresy.

A troll's true colors.

Sigh... (none / 0) (#5)
by tkatchev on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 06:29:57 AM PST
Yes! That is exactly my point. You have twelve years of experience on the American Internet. You obviously have never used Russian Internet, because you failed to even link to the premier Russian search engine. (No, nobody here in Russia uses Google. Google is a strictly American search engine, though it does a good job with i18n.) Here's a tip: good starting point if you read Russian.

Your insinuations that somehow the American military and academic establishment had a part in the creation of the Russian Internet is laughable. May I remind you that Russian Internet exists since Soviet times. Indeed, there is even a .su domain -- "su" stands for "Soviet Union". (In which, incidentally, it costs $15000 per year to register a second-level domain name! No joke -- see for yourself.)

Peace and much love...

Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#3)
by bc on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 05:44:58 AM PST
But even then I suppose the English speaking part of the internet will always remain dominated by America, because the great majority of native english speakers are in the US. Foreign language websites may as well be completely inaccessible, unless someone develops some system that will invisibly and perfectly translate webpages between languages. If they did that would be amazing, all boundaries would fall (as long as you can access the internet in the first place, that is).

It is strange that countries like France are being very tardy in jumping on the internet bandwagon, but I understand it is because they already have minitel (primitive but widespread, you can do online shopping and BBSing and the like on it) and also they are suspicious of the 'Anglo Saxon' internet.

I doubt the Internet will become less american anytime soon, but yes, it probably will happen eventually. I think about 20% of scottish households are online just now, which is pretty good, but it isn't being siezed on in the same way it has elsewhere.

Maybe when huge bandwidth becomes widely and cheaply available, and everyone realises they can download porn films for free, then the internet will take of in a big way, like home video recorders did thanks to porno fliks.

All the people that like the internet because they can get a wealth of information on their favourite subjects are online already in wealthier countries, but now the 'AOL' thing that happened a few years ago in america where lots of new people come flooding online at once is happening here under the aegis of freeserve and Claranet and the like (which is fine by me, I'm one of them).

People on the internet seem to go to great lengths to define themselves by what they are interested in, and join little cliques and clubs on that basis, far less so than IRL where it is much more a matter of circumstance of birth. Nationality isn't nearly as important online, though culture probably is, but because people split themselves off you can end up in a part of the internet where you never really come into contact with somebody different. I bet there are lots of places on the internet where, say, American rednecks gather or French Canadian lesbians, and never interact with anyone else so becoming tunnel visioned, just like the linux community seems to be quite tunnel visioned in many respects. So I'm not so convinced about the global community argument, because people still seem to seperate themselves off, and there is not central forum. It is perfectly possible to go on the internet and never have your beliefs or preconceptions challenged, I think.

♥, bc.

What are you saying?!? (4.75 / 4) (#6)
by zikzak on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 08:20:33 AM PST
Oh my god, the implications of this are just huge! You are saying, in effect, that we have been lied to. Your commentary suggests that past 15 or so years of internet hype is naught but a naked monarch. I find this difficult to swallow.

- - - - - - - - - -

Prior to the mid-80's the world of computers was solely the realm of propeller heads with no social skills. Eventually a handful of writers and their wannabe-author fans accidentally created a style of fiction that made being a propeller head seem kinda cool (at least in the mind of a fellow propeller head).

Out of this new culture grew a few magazines, some of which became rather popular. These magazines attracted a handful of aging hippies who were having trouble with the fact that they had utterly failed to make any lasting change in the world and desperately needed a new cause to champion. They also attracted other propeller heads who had up until this point been safely confined to an academic setting.

None of these people had any real experience or natural ability at functioning in normal society. Further, their very narrow education and life experience led them to adopt some of the worst hacks as inspiration in their quest for an excuse to justify their pathetic lives.

As the 90's began, successful, established companies realized that they were going to need a large number of worker drones in order to maintain their growing collection of computer-based tools. Those who were an established part of the real world knew that other normal people weren't going to fill these roles. The work was tedious and unrewarding, and no right thinking individual would ever willingly chose these new careers. Faced with this challenge, the large companies did what they always do: They handed the task over to the marketing department.

Marketing departments are very good at taking fringe cultures and elevating them to a higher status in society. The "alternative" media producers were either bought or subtly encouraged, and by the end of the last decade a new social order had been created. The types of people who were challenged by traditional society were perfectly suited to be the worker drones needed by big business, and they had now been convinced that their time in the world had arrived. Hook, line, sinker, and damn near half the fishing pole as well.

The internet is best viewed as a sort of habitat created and maintained for these people so that they don't accidentally wander out into the real world and cause problems. Occassionally an innocent person such as yourself will stumble into this environment and be momentarily deluded into thinking that something of value exists here. This is understandable, as the illusion of importance is quite admirably generated and propogated.

However, since you have previous experience with the outside world you will eventually come to see the place for what it is. Naturally you will be a bit disgusted to find that the internet is nothing more than a holding tank for the new blue collar masses - those who do all the unpleasant, behind the scenes work needed to keep our global economy running. It functions as both a training ground for the young and as an opiate for the old.

We're sorry you wandered in here by mistake. The exit is behind you, but please be sure to not let any of the animals escape on your way out.

That's a very interesting history (5.00 / 2) (#7)
by bc on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 09:21:27 AM PST
I thought that they all deluded themselves, you see. I was under the mistaken impression that most of the internet consisted of people ranting about huge corporate conspiracies, how the corporations control everything, how the corporations control the internet, the Vatican, the US Government, the people in their pitiful, huddled masses.

Sometimes it seems that you can't move an inch online without crashing into some demented buffoon ranting about a corporate conspiracy, but now, thanks to your informative response I see that even here I can't get away from such lunatic rantings :(

I know it is customary for someone to start talking about blue pills and red pills about now, and tell me I am shutting myself off from the truth, oh and something about rabbit holes too, but I really think I would be leaving about now, were it not for the sheer fascination of wondering what you strange folk will bring up next.

♥, bc. take the red pill... (none / 0) (#9)
by Duke Machesne on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 01:27:40 PM PST
Everybody knows that at the horrid bottom of the rabbit hole, one discovers the (seemingly obvious) truth: the corporations, governments, and even secret societies are just fronts for the true conspiracy. Those soul-snatching lizards (a.k.a. dragons) have been running the show since the dawn of time. The Anti-Christ has been with us for a very long time, and he means business.


once you've remembered, you'll never forget

Of course! (none / 0) (#10)
by zikzak on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 05:17:49 PM PST
Would you prefer hearing the truth - that human existance is nothing more than 99.9% banality?

My "first thought" response (none / 0) (#8)
by chloedancer on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 10:35:47 AM PST
in reading this was "Are the wild turkeys capable of recognizing a gryfalcon when they see one?" ;)

Blake is good; feeding your soul is crucial. You've inspired me to visit my favorite used bookstore today and I'm grateful.


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