Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Real Bornless One


Most politicians, even those who think of themselves as liberal, are being revealed as the conservative thinkers that they have really always been.
I use 'conservative' in the sense of resistance to change and a limited ability to see the whole picture.

Look at what has made headlines in South Africa this week: an overwhelmingly conservative, nay, positively tribal, response to a piece of satirical art (oh gods, it's got its own Wiki page now).

The ranting masses who called for White annihilation because of this painting can perhaps not be expected to understand the meaning of political satire. Yes, I sound patronising. Nor can they be expected, apparently, to understand that calling for the painting to be taken down from a couple of websites is never going to erase the image from the public view. At last count, there were over 3.5 million copies of The Spear scattered across cyberspace. That the ANC even tried to threaten Twitter,  once again, shows the depth of their lack of comprehension.

Speaking as one who has worked for almost 11 years for a company based in Johannesburg which has servers in more than a couple of different countries around the globe and which conducts business across the world at all hours of the Earth's diurnal period, I know how difficult it is for national lawmakers to initiate even a tenuous grip on this idea called the internet. They try, but fall far short of their intentions, mostly.

My ISP has endeared itself to me forever by operating partly within a spectrum of bandwidths which the South Africa government sought to retain for its own purposes.
And on and on.

So when I read this morning that the FCC (h/t Star Foster)in the US is considering "granting rights" to internet based video hosters I just shook my head, clucked my tongue, and uttered a Nanny Ogg standby.
Deary, deary me....

Land based governments were late to the internet party. This whole idea of a citizen-controlled web of communications, commerce and conference had been taking shape for a few decades before the would-be princes of the realm realised that they could be letting it slip through their fingers, and I think it is now too late for them. There is this hydra-headed entity under the control of no one physical principality. And this is as it should be.

Governments around the globe are perhaps slowly waking up to the fact that they have very little actual influence, never mind control, over the space we call cyber and are scrambling to grab on to what they can. Too late fellas, too late. And, just perhaps, we the human folk of this planet can come to the recognition that the non-human folk have always had - that governments, powers and principalities, can have no ownership of the land itself, either, nor the myriad beings which make up the holy host of Life.