It never ceases to amaze me; the stupidity of people. As Charles Mackay wrote long ago in his book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds men go mad in herds but only come to their senses one by one.
It seems there are some people who just really do not understand the Internet, and in their rush (or greed) to get rich quickly ignore all the commonsense and warnings of those who like Darren Rowse have achieved some measure of wealth from blogging. How? Darren explains often that his problogger.net website is not his mail money maker, rather his Digital Photography school website is. He provides a real product for real people.
And so to the point of this article, and the nature of the Internet that seems to have been forgotten in the glimmer of fools gold. As Doug McCaughan sagely observes, people use the web for Information, Utility and Entertainment, in that order.
So where are the fools? I think there are two types.
In an act of cowardly violence, the charismatic former Prime Minister of Pakistand was violently assassinated on Thursday. Bhutto was apparently shot and then a bomb blast ripped through the crowd of her supportrers leaving people dead and wounded. The New York Times has a photo montage worth of Bhutto before her death and the aftermath of the explosion watching. It left me with a sense of horror at the absolute ruthlenssness, and lack of humanity, of the souls who planned, coordinated and executed such a cowardardly act. I can only assume that a suicide bobmber can tationalise this action because he doens.t have to live with the consequences of his actions. No normal, sane person could rip bodies apart deliberately and not have nightmares.
There is a huge public discussion on internet pornography. Whether we realise it or not, porn is a very large (read profitable) part of the internet. Censorship is being considered and lots of organisations are calling for governments to variously protect children, filter porn, provide regulation etc.
Worthwhile organisations like the Australian Family Association have posted articles calling for an urgent mandatory filtering of pornography at a national ISP level and make statements like this Every Australian has a fundamental right to access the internet free from pornography and extreme violence.
While I completely agree with the intention behind these statements, they fall short in a number of areas.
The first area where these ideas fall down is the actual concept of censorship and responsibility.
I was reading an article on Real Live Preacher the other day. http://www.reallivepreacher.com/node/1394
Gordon poses the questions of what is morality as it relates to fantasy. When we are playing a game, acting a fantasy or story, reading a novel, watching a movie, is there a line between good and evil actions? Is child sex in a cartoon OK? The English propose to make it illegal. Why not then extend this to rape, murder, stealing, drug use, etc in movies, stories, books, etc. Alternatively, if it is OK to have some of these illegal activities portrayed in fictional situations, why not all of them? On what basis do we determine that some are good and some are bad?