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Anorak | Robert Samuelson’s Internet repeal

Robert Samuelson’s Internet repeal

by | 4th, July 2013

Robert Samuelson TO quote the philosopher Mick Jagger, “What a drag it is getting old. Or watching others do the same; the voyage from virility to senility hurts to behold.

Consider the  Washington Post , long considered a VIP (Very Important Paper), one of America’s most prestigious. And WaPo veteran Robert Samuelson is a Very Important Pundit who became an online laughingstock this week after publishing a Very Serious Column suggesting life would be safer and better if only humanity would abandon this newfangled dad-blasted “Internet” thingy.

“If I could, I would repeal the Internet. It is the technological marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it. I grant its astonishing capabilities: the instant access to vast amounts of information, the pleasures of YouTube and iTunes, the convenience of GPS and much more.”

(Captain Obvious knows that GPS has frak-all to do with the Internet. Robert Samuelson and the fact-checkers at the  Washington Post  do not.)

With such a buildup, you might expect Samuelson to indulge in the standard get-off-my-lawn rant about reckless Millennials squandering their youth on YouBook and FaceTube and TwitSpace. But no. Samuelson’s beef is that we use the Internet for so many things, terrorists could disrupt it and hurt us.

“It brings with it a terrifying danger: cyberwar [….] So much depends on the Internet that its vulnerability to sabotage invites doomsday visions of the breakdown of order and trust.”

Remember: this is the same newspaper once known for exposing “presidential involvement in the Watergate scandal” and “Pentagon papers reveal ugly truths about Vietnam War”.

Of course, by Samuelson’s logic, we should repeal electricity because people are too dependent on it: without it we can’t heat or illuminate our homes, cook proper meals or even buy gasoline. (True anecdote : I once spent six miserable winter days heating my apartment with tealight candles after a blizzard killed the power to half my state. The adventurous romanticism of “roughing it” during a power outage lasted seven hours and nine minutes; everything after that purely sucked. And that was only Mother Nature being her usual capricious child-abusing self; imagine how much worse it would’ve been, had terrorists deliberately attacked the power grid!)

Is it possible Samuelson’s simply trolling everybody, and we all fell for it? Project Disco.org chose to interpret it that way, stubbornly comparing Samuelson to Jonathan Swift and calling the column First rate satire on the grounds that such stupidity cannot possibly

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Posted: 4th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, Technology Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink