Re: Diana Regina

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Posted by Zimmerman on September 03, 1997 at 11:21:20:

In Reply to: Re: Diana Regina posted by Jacques on September 03, 1997 at 11:05:38:

Either I've been so long abroad that I've lost my grasp
and/or command of the English language or I'm increasingly
being confronted by the general trend in the decline of

Perhaps this too is symptomatic of the collapse of the
Internet into mass culture presenting its own history and
concept that wedges itself from the impulse of knowledge
discovery (the initial impulse) to entertainment. From
information technology its "infotainment", really just another
word for idle leisure activity, for academics, a break with
thought as a meditation with the deeper significance of
Gilligan's exploits or "will the professor ever get to sleep
with the movie star"..

Push content, mapping "the Internet" (original wording) to
television sub-carrier signals (German Television has now
lauched this service, as perhaps, so they claim, the first
broadcaster), the reciever, too is not just symptom but the
transformation into a branch of mass media and, most
significantly, under the same economic controls. At the
IFA, international "radio" showcase, in Berlin (the largest
radio and television trade show in the world), this week,
nearly all the companies have been showing their integration of
"Internet" (original wording) with home entertainment systems.
Its not a question of "room for" but the transformation.

In this list it was said that Daniel Bell "predicted" the
development of the Internet 10 years ago. I would hope that
Dan did not make this assertion. As a reasonably talented
social scientist (be it that "he changed sides") the Internet
needed no prediction. Since the establishment of the Internet
from the ARPAnet in the early 80s one explicitly had fear of
precisely the current developments. The AUPs ("Acceptable Use
Policies") were long a point of debatte.. Once the AUPs got
lifted (one should really keep in mind that the AUPs on the
NSF backbone got lifted only a few years ago and its transfer
into the private sector, not the development of the Web, was
the motor for the current development) the rest was inevitable.

At the Frankfurt InfoBase '95 I attended for the German
Magazine "Business Computing" a conference on the Internet
organized from BTX (interactive teletext) publishers, yet
another from book publishers, and one from librarians.. All
carried the same message: "we need to bring order into the
Internet".. An messanic image of themselves as the saviour
of the net. The "Net" existed through their existance, without
"them" there was no net-- similar in some ways to that hacker
that claimed that computers did not communicate in the late
70s (computers only communicate when his computers talk).

As an ISP with an inter-regional network (one of our bussiness
units) the message is "cost effectiveness" and "advertising
budget", the language is "publishing". For access the language
is, generally, entertainment: "Surfing". It many ways there is
little difference between a tabloid publication and the service
we offer, except perhaps that while the European tabloids have
"tit pictures" on page 3, our customers have 1000s of "nudies"
representing the many additional pages.

The early impulse of "the boom" was like the image of "Global
Village Television" in the late 60s and early 70s with the
availability of the PortaPac, a liberation of ideas, a shift
of control. Despite the vision, a wide spread use of video did
not liberate (while one might argue the case of "Rodney King"
I don't see the relevance) but merely help strengthen the hand
of companies such as Time-Warner. Today is less diversity in the
control of television media than in the 60s and video has played
a significant role, alongside legislation, for the consolidation.

Turning back to the "Diana saga".. The press photographers have been
arrested and the DA is pressing for charges of man-slaughter. This
is a substantial attack on the freedom of the press under the guise
of "public anger". A free press or an Internet with the free exchange
of ideas is "a thorn in their side". A few bits of child pornography
and "public anger".. A hysteria that the "Internet is a boom for
child pornography". Throw in the attacks on political writing: The DA in
Munich and the Chinese share the same viewpoint. Mix in civil law:
The courts have already started to rule that private email constitues
"publication" and thus can be the subject of libel.

Public anger? A convenience to dismantle freedom?

Public Anger is convienient: Images of the "Kristalnacht" come to
mind, that too was orchestrated as a mass responce of "public anger". The
French supported slaughter in Rhuanda as "public anger".... Tamils being
struck down "in public anger"... The end of asylum (de-facto) in Germany due
to "public anger".. The reinstatement of the death penalty and the
rebirth of the chain gang in America due to "public anger"....

Who needs freedom when one has "Giligan's Island"?

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