Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Flyover Times has shocked me! The day after I complained about their inability to write the F-word (filibuster) they used it in an op-ed! Twice! I'd love to think it was me but that would truly be delusional. They also ran a piece on the importance of net-neutrality.

Net-neutrality is a subject that either gets you a "wha?" look or a yawn. Unless you are part of the net-roots. Then it's a question of life or death, at least for bloggers. The concept of equal access to the net is the life blood of the diversity of the Internet. This may on first blush look like a matter that is important only to the few that blog or read blogs, but I contend that it goes much deeper.

It the 1770's political fever was stirred up by a dedicated group of citizens who wrote tracts and had them printed up at small print shops by like minded printers. Not that many years before this would have been unthinkable because printing was too expensive and the presses were tightly controlled in other countries. These tracts would be passed out on village greens and taverns (think Drinking Liberally). They would work their way to small villages by travellers. Often one writer's pamphlet would draw a response from another. These transfer of thoughts were instrumental in fomenting the revolution. The British authorities did little to stop this because they believed there was no way this was a danger to their rule.

Jump forward to the 21st Century and we find that the press is almost entirely in the hands of Big Money and there is no real access there. Certainly I or anyone else could go to the print shop and run up a thousand broadsheets and hand them out, but where is the Village Green that allows you to contact thousands? That Village Green is now the Internet. For the price of a cheap computer and an Internet connection or even access to a Public Library, today's Broadsheet writer can reach millions. This brings us back to net-neutrality. If the money interests have their way, the cheap printing presses will be taken away from the masses. Now I don't suggest that the net-roots should be fomenting revolution, but certainly this is a valid route to change the way that large groups of people think about things. Not through propaganda but through discourse (even with the Trolls about). It is critical that as a group we talk to the "Wha?ers and the yawners to let them know that is about their world too.

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