Re: distortion

mike shupp (ms44278@HUEY.CSUN.EDU)
Fri, 24 May 1996 22:34:19 -0700

On Tue, 21 May 1996, John Pastore wrote:

> Co-opted? Hardly. The State (?) or, at least, the far right has not
> been taking the defense, but only the offense, since, at least,
> Regan's visit to Jimmy Swaggart's ranch to party during Ford's
> acceptance speech. The monumental mythmaking of the far right is not
> only defending so-called orthodoxy, but is also inventing a new
> pathos. Having successfully convinced today's college students that
> it was Nixon and Kissinger who had not prolonged the Vietnam War for
> political leverage, but, in fact, ended the war, the neo-mythmaking
> has also gathered steam with the celebration of the so-called "Desert
> War" by "Storm Troopers" who were never there.

I have good news for you, John. The name "Robert Mcnamera" came
up in a class I was taking and after everone looked blank for twenty
seconds one daring soul asked, "He was a general wasn't he?"
What matter the accuracy or meaning of the myths our ruling
classes shove down our throats if no one is capable of remembering them?

> All such pales in
> comparison to the greatest myth of them all: "The Liberating New-Age
> of the Internet via the Information Highway".
> While private investors and scientists, permitted and driven by a
> political agenda, compete to create and control ever larger and more
> pervasive parallel mining machines, the rhetoric of the new myth has
> now passed even their imposition of their fundamentals of science as
> a new fundamentalism for science to include no more thinking (as
> there are now machines properly programmed and amendable for
> thinking). They are now also preparing the way for would-be users of
> the internet to buy a whole new generation of diskless work-stations
> connected to the internet, and storing their information, and even
> puny thinking, there --apparently within internet information banks,
> to make the mining of information -of power- that much easier. Why
> not, after all, when a CD disk the size of Beethoven's ninth
> mysteriously costs 1000% more when placed within a PC tower?

I'm not especially worried by the "mining of information"
aspect of the Internet-- likely because I'm a played out source.
And while diskless internet workstations may simplify the task of the
information gathers, I fairly certain that was not their rationale.

I think the real threat of the internet is that it is becoming
the opium of the intellectuals. Look at all the bright, once-upon-a-
time sensible people who are using all their free time to creat ever more
impressive WWW home pages. And Here we all sit, for example,
the 700 members of ANTHRO-L, the hundreds of us in Aegeanet, in ANE, in
sf-writers-group, in primatology, in popper and rec-writers-wodehouse and
sci-sspace-policy, and so on, in front of our terminals reading
our messages, answering our e-mail, persuing imaginary monsters through
MUDdy virtual lairs, browsing the contents pages in Science, looking for
net new software to download.... hour after hour, day after day.
Having fun, to be sure. But that's time that might have
been spent writing books, organizing farm workers or picketing abortion
clinics, or writing nasty letters to Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, or
trying to bring back the gold standard.
So the net is going to give us a more connected citizenry, a
more sophisticated and aware citizenry? Maybe. Is it going to give us
a more involved citizenry. On the evidence so far, No.

Mike Shupp
California State University, Northridge