Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Do Cyber Grouches Have a Future?

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Do Cyber Grouches Have a Future?

Article excerpt

Does your blood run cold, friend, when you read about the glories of "cyberspace"? Do you have to repress a shriek of protest every time you hear or read or think about "the information highway"?

If so, it means you are an old stick-in-the-mud and are doomed to end up in the dustbin of history unless you surrender immediately and come along quietly into the age of electronics amok.

As a devout reactionary, I naturally despise what these zealous engineers propose to do to us, but cruel experience reminds me it is foolish to oppose them when they are in the heat of reinventing the world.

My distaste for this latest creative onset begins with petty, unworthy, whining objections. Why, for instance, must they refer to what is being advertised as a magical, irresistible electronic playground as "cyberspace"?

People capable of afflicting anybody, anything or anyplace with a name like "cyberspace" surely cannot have the spiritual and esthetic delicacy essential to creation of a magical, irresistible playground, can they?

All right, call it a captious quibble, but if you were given a choice of places to spend a month, which name would you select _ Tuscany or Cyberspace?

As for "the information highway," sometimes called "the information superhighway," the underlying assumption strikes me as fatally defective. The modern world is not dying for want of more information. Quite the opposite; its plight is too much information. It is being battered senseless, then buried under avalanches of information.

Day and night it is assaulted by a ceaseless flow of information. Often so much information arrives so swiftly that no one can digest it, make sense of it or judge whether it's information worth having.

The national love of gadgetry is involved here. The prospect of hundreds and hundreds of TV channels emptying into our minds, of movies pumping into our eyeballs through the telephone while incoming messages are depleting our fax-paper supply and our computer is talking to the bank and paying the gas bill _

It is a horror reminiscent of the Mickey Mouse sequence in "Fantasia," in which the magically activated water buckets cannot be restrained in their determination to drown the world. …

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