Enough moralising, already

In the Guardian, Jonathan Freedland says

The revolutionary public space that online debate represents is in danger of becoming stale and claustrophobic

It’s a longish piece that is a bit like one of my terrible college essays, on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand, but the overall message comes out, sort of, at the end:

Right now, the internet is too often like a stuffy meeting room on a bad night. It needs to change if it’s to live up to its democratic potential.

Oh for crying out loud.

This seems a ludicrous generalisation that bears no relationship at all to the extraordinary diversity of material available to me online.

But this kind of vapid generalisation provides the step for others to clamber onto the moral high horse, and say that “something must be done”. To which I say (not to Freedland but to the code-of-conduct bores generally), bollocks. If you want to indulge in control freakery, go cover up some piano legs with doilies.

If you want to change the way you manage your own tiny piece of the wonderfully vast net, go right ahead. If you want to host a party for all the other neurotic control freaks who share your dismal view I can’t stop you. You know what? After a while, even your polite civility-fest will break down into disorder, thank God.

It’s like watching the feeblest presentations to the Dragons Den. I hate that show, but on this occasion, I’ll pinch their catchphrase and offer it to the code-of-conduct brigade: I’m out.

2 thoughts on “Enough moralising, already

  1. Lloyd Davis

    Ha Ha Ha – I love it when you say “Oh for crying out loud” and even more when you say “bollocks” I can just hear them coming out of your mouth. The words that is… not the bollocks. oh bugger let me start again.

    I felt a bit like this at the Telegraph on Thursday and I do think it’s a characteristic of that tiny tiny tiny (well relatively of course) bit of the web that is the online transplantation of the Westminster Village with its lobby fodder and spotty policy wonks who truly believe they are the centre of the universe.

    The thinking seems to go “I’ve read a couple of weblogs recently clearly written by a moron. Since I am always right about everything I cannot possibly be committing a fundamental logical fallacy here and every other weblog must be written by a moron. What on earth are we going to do about this ghastly internet thing.”

    I’m so exasperated and exhausted by hearing this same fallacy over and over that I can’t be arsed to point it out to them. I do *try* to live and let live occasionally 🙂 However, I’m thinking of having some new moo cards done that just have a link to something like this: https://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3816795

    Nice to hear from Dr Rant

  2. Jon Husband

    Goofy statements, really.

    And I expect that we will keep hearing variations for years to come, as more and more people are confronted with the fundamental changes that have been and are being wrought.

    There was a University of Calgary professor that recently published a book along similar lines, based on studying nine (9) blogs 😉

    I’m rather surprised that he found a publisher, actually.


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