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Web Makes Brit Soil Trou

How is that for a five-word motto for the UK? Mind you, it does not have the zing of Dipso fatso bingo ASBO Tesco.

Miaopinie the British have sunk so low in the world that nowadays their only viable exports are luxury goods, entertainments, entertainers and anyone else of ability. The United States and Canada have sucked Britain dry like an orange, leaving the shell of an ignorant, backward mediocrity.

Now, as if to prove my assertion, one of the Britons left behind wrote an opinion piece in a Sunday edition of the London Times, claiming that the World Wide Web was created by a band of evil cultists out of California for the purpose of killing that which is right and good in the world.

Apart from the obvious folly of blaming the tool for the evil uses of that tool — apart from the historical fact that the Web was invented by a Briton (well, at least the author got that right) who based its idea on an ancient British tome called Enquire Within About Everything — the author of this screed insists that the Web is a vile American infection out to disease us all.

I found the article in a Techdirt entry, which does a good enough job at dissecting it. Instead, I will quote the last three paragraphs that summarize the tone and content of the article.

And, finally, the everything-free, massively deflationary effects of the web may be over. Rupert Murdoch, head of The Sunday Times's parent company, has said he is thinking of charging for online versions of his papers. The hard fact that somebody, somehow, has to pay for all this is breaking into web heaven.

The cult is the problem. I know that this article — it always happens — will be sneered at all over the web by people who cannot think for themselves because they are blindly faithful to the idea that the web is the future, all of it. I will be called a Luddite.

It is the cultists who threaten the web. They are the ones encouraging dreams of a utopia of the self. They fail to see that the web is just one more product of the biology, culture and history that make us what we are. In the real world, it is wonderful, certainly, but it is also porn, online brothels, privacy invasions, hucksterism, mindless babble and the vacant gaze that always accompanies the mindless pursuit of the new. The web is human and fallen; it is bestial as much as it is angelic. There are no new worlds. There is only this one.

No, I do not call you a Luddite. I call you what you are: A Murdochist, a stooge paid by the Big Fat Aussie to dip your pen in the venom of ignorance and backwardness, and then use it as a dagger to stab at the heart of the Internet.

And there you have it: The anti-Web article is in fact a piece of murdochist cruft from the most reactionary of newspapers. I am surprised that The Register has not found it, because there is no mention of it in its articles around that date. Usually it would pounce on this kind of squeal like a cat on a mouse. That makes me wonder who or what pulled its teeth.

I have said this repeatedly in the past, and I will say once more. It is the general public that has turned the Internet (of which the Web is only a part) into a whorehouse, a libel and slander rag, a fencing ring, and a sewer bearing the sledge coming from the public's collective ass. It is the general public that, starting in the early 1990's, has taken the Internet and sh◊t on it. The author of the article does not have the spine to say it, because he would be fired if he did. His Aussie paymaster does not have the spine to come out and say it, either, for fear of a backlash by that same general public. So, rather than expose the true source of the corruption of the Internet, the author pulls this cult out of his posterior orifice and sets it up as a figure of sugar-honey-iced-tea.

And the British wonder why nobody takes them seriously anymore.

No names for this fantasy cult of evil were named in the article, but I myself assume from the mention of "[W]eb 2.0" that the "evil cultists" are the folks at O'Reilly Media, the ones who cooked up the phrase Web 2.0 for marketing purposes.

Enquire Within was the quintessential how-to book of the Victorian era, amazingly still in print. C.S. Lewis did not think much of it, regarding its ready-made knowledge as the bound form of a thought-killing cliché

Written by Andy West on 22 May 2009. Updated 6 April 2010.