The Internet Reaches beyond Washington
Article ID: 2199
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 7,089
Times Read: 10,999
Posted: September 29th. 1998
Times Viewed: 10,999
O.K., I confess to watching some of the championship political all-star fights being promoted as news programs these days. Sometimes I even pick a side and hoot some expletive-filled encouragement at the television screen. The rest of the time, I just sit in my living room and shake my head in disbelief.
I am not talking about the entire political free-for-all that has taken over American politics or even who did what with who and where and if they lied about it. (Don't write me letters about Clinton or Starr. This isn't about which side-if any- is right. This "wrant " is about the media coverage of the situation.)
What amazed me about the coverage over that "Clinton thing" was the condescending head-patting that the average reader, average viewer and average American netizen had been subjected to from mainstream media anchors and politicians.
When those oh-so-special Washington news journalists -who think that simply living within the sacred "beltway" automatically boosts their IQ a few hundred degrees- pointed out how well they understood what was "really" going on and how we, poor things stuck in the burbs, and thus supposedly incapable of any sort of cognitive "figgering", just didn't get it, they never even showed the slightest hint of an embarrassed blush.
Don't get me wrong. I am not amazed that they did it. I am amazed that they think that we didn't notice.
When the majority of American citizens seemed insufficiently outraged with Billy's White House behavior right from the start, it had to be, they reasoned, because we didn't have the insider information that these charmed folks were privy to. It was not just about sex. Wait until the Starr report comes out, they said. Then you would see why this is all so terrible. And we'll even put it on the Internet for you...
The Starr Report came out on the Internet. Netizens saw, read, deleted. No one was going to be storming the Bastille today, after all. The Starr Report -no matter which side of the political battle you were on-was pretty much just about sex.
Well, they huffed, if you, Silent Majority, still don't fully understand the horror of it yet, just you wait until the video of the president's deposition is shown. It is NOT all about sex. There is some real damaging stuff in there. We know. (smirk) We have our sources. And we'll put it on all the television stations AND on the Internet for you...
The video was shown on television and the Internet. Netizens watched, squirmed a bit, shrugged. They weren't particularly horrified until they finally found out their kids could circumvent the filtering software faster than they had learned to tie their shoes in the first grade. It was still pretty much about sex...defining the sex... and really not wanting to talk about the sex anymore.
You netizens are being particularly uncooperative, the "experts" pouted. You should all be acknowledging that the Washington elite was right all along. (exasperated sigh) What will it take? More graphics? Mood lighting? Subliminal message sound bytes?
While the Washington clan is buzzing the beltway talking on their cell phones and prying all the salacious details out of every intern's best friend, netizens are reading the Jerusalem Post, The Afghanistan News Service or The St. Petersburg Times. Goddess knows, that's the only way we will hear about anything in the world outside of Dupont Circle.
Netizens talk with other folks about cats and ethics and AIDS and privacy. We have access to everyone from Art Bell (Not sure why.) to Jon Katz (Let's hear it for "the man"!).
We can join the frog viability survey team or help SETI search the stars for life forms who hopefully will not be so much like us that they shoot the video footage first--and ask us if this is really how we want to be featured in the Galactic Continuum Yearbook later.
There is no subject big or small, lofty or base, shocking or insipid that we have not encountered somewhere on the Internet.
Netizens have heard it all and- if some moral secret agent hasn't downloaded in a censorware package-we probably have seen it all as well.
The polls may not be entirely right or entirely wrong. But the Washington elite, despite all their incestuous press parties and satellite feeds, still have no idea why the majority of people are not allowing them to do all the thinking.
How could they? They are busy swapping snippy commentaries and cutting each other off in mid-sentence. (I bet they even add up their scores during the commercial breaks: "Damn! Greta's got me by two!")
These smarties aren't so brilliant after all. They sure as hell aren't investigative reporters or they certainly would have figured out one important clue by now: Netizens, in particular, are used to being in control.
What netizens expect is interaction, dialogue, communication and a fair exchange of ideas and opinions. We have become used it. Netizens will never go back to being a spoon-fed audience for a mainstream media demi-god. We'll do our own research and form our own opinions. Thanks for the fast food ads though.
We know that there is quality stuff on the net and we know that we may have to spend some time to find it. Even when using the fastest modem/cable connection and most intelligent search engine, the system is often faulty. Many Internet savvy folks eventually learn to create little tricks and shortcuts to get what they are looking for and where they want to go. We improvise, re-configure the data and make it work. Those with ties to Microsoft get rich.
Netizens are initiators, inventors and pulse takers. Every day, we look at a lot of data, follow a lot of leads, come up against a lot of dead ends and go on to try a lot of other alternatives. We know how to store, file and work with complicated ideas and fragmented concepts. We are adept at bringing various threads of information together and weaving them into a coherent and well ordered whole.
We can also filter out more crap than the drain trap at the Georgetown office of the "Hair Clubs for Men". (And we don't even SEE the banner ads anymore, O.K.?)
The Washington elite continues to ignore the rising irritation of an Internet savvy public that is sick and tired of being lectured, polled, screened, censored, berated, segmented and then dismissed as being ignorant and uninformed.
We understand perfectly: They just don't get it!
Walk in Light and Love,
September 30th, 1998
The Witches' Voice
Location: Tampa, Florida
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