Monday 11 May 2009

Guardian special: The internet will destroy us all

Email provides no benefits, only 'impotence, disease [and] frustration' according to one embittered ex newspaper editor driven to distraction by the disturbingly fast moving world of anything that uses electricity.

As for the world wide web, far from providing the singularly most powerful medium known to man for creating, digesting and disseminating information, all it does is provide an orgy of 'porn and paedophilia', 'giant helpings of fear and disgust on demand', 'terrorism' and 'the end of civilised life as we know it', no less.

To anyone thinking the web is the most incredible research tool we have, a conduit for distant friends and family to connect and share experiences otherwise out of reach, or a landscape in which a multitude of often brilliant voices that might otherwise exist unheard can make themselves known to a potential audience of millions, well, they're wrong.

Indeed, 'we aren't better for grisly YouTube grimaces from Downing Street, or Obama twittering away when he could be thinking', we are hobbled by our slavery to the internet. Brown's YouTube video and Obama's now tweetless Twitter account prove it, representing the net in its entirety as they do.

One need only look at the scandals embroiling New Labour over the last two months for an irrefutable example of just how dangerous email and the web are to human morality: 'Before there was email, there was no Damian McBride hawking his poison from screen to screen', and, to be certain, Brown's spin doctor would never have been able to spread his bile without electronic letters. It is not he who is to blame, but the medium through which he plies his slander and deception.

Of course, the internet is a threat to humanity not only because of its ability to simplify, enable and accerlerate communication to the degree that life becomes nothing more than 'a deluge of puerile twitters and bilious blogs' and 'Susan Boyle videos by the zillion', but also because of the gigantic contribution it makes to global warming. It has been estimated that 17 polar bears die for every RSS feed subscribed to, and let's not even mention the well documented connection between penguin starvation and MSN Messenger conversations.

Yes, 'let's acknowledge, in the words of one highly experienced pro­cessor designer, that there is indeed "a possibility of computer equipment power consumption spiralling out of control [that] could have serious consequences for the overall affordability of computing, not to mention the overall health of the planet."' Forget about cutting corporate emissions, ignore industrial deforestation, don't give a second thought to renewable energy sources, for so long as we have Google, we are surely doomed.

'This is the way the world really ends: not with a bang, but with surges of nausea amid mounting heat, rising seas and carbon despair', all brought about by that scourge of modern newspapers living, the internet.

We have become hollow men, love, hope, ecstacy, the entire panoply of human experience replaced by lolcats, Flash animations and mindless monologues delivered in 140 characters of digital misery.

'Can mankind somehow be saved? Well, we could always switch the damned computer off.'


  1. Christ, that's sub-Mail shite, isn't it? What the hell are the Graun doing putting such crap up on CiF?

  2. Wasn't this guy the editor of the frikkin' Guardian?

    Surely that is a job which requires a modicum of intelligence?

    Is it possible he is dialing up the "crusty old duffer" factor for our amusement?

    Will I be able to finish this comment without leaving the interrogative?

    The really distressing thing about the article is the complete lack of appreciation for subtlety and nuance. Maybe he has discovered that he can just phone 'em in these days.

    Poor show indeed.