Caleb John Clark's Portfolio

The 90s Are The 60s
A featured essay for the 24 hrs. of democracy Web essay chain, along with Bill Gates, Rose Stasuk, Philippe Kahn, and Phillip Suh.

Caleb John Clark, 1996.

The government has just stuffed a handkerchief in our slack jawed and drooling mouth. It was easy, we’ve been blotto for months from shots of love fest liquor and hits of ain’t this great acid.

We’re the hippies of the nineties, man! Technology is our drug, money our sex. Our “free love” is “global communication”. Like the hippies, we’ve got the right message, but the public sees us as a group of totally irresponsible freaks ranting and raving.

If we want the government to get out. We have to get in.

The Telecom bill passed with the obscenity clauses tacked on because, in the eyes of the people of who make up America the Internet is not lead by responsible people. The white sacs in Washington felt this and responded. We’ve been high off of building the Net and not responding to anything but hot tech. drugs.

The Telecom Bill is our wake up call. It’s time to sober up and deal with the unpleasant fact that our precious toy is now a monster rampaging in a capitalistic society, surrounded by a bizarre and alien world that does not understand what our beloved Net is. If we don’t educate them, and train it to behave, they will kill it.

People bitch about magazines being less censored then the Net is. Sounds great if said with enough gusto, but what a useless argument! The magazine industry can claim due diligence in protecting kids. Shrink wrapping, retailers visually checking for age, porn laws, etc. Our defense is our drug, technology, but it’s a weak defense because we can show no noticeable attempts to organize any self control as a group.

There’s a lot of very powerful people out there with a lot of very real concerns and it’s time we listened instead of belittling them for not “understanding where we come from”, for not dropping acid so they can experience and then know what we know, man.

Let’s address the concerns of the people that are about to be force fed this New Media. Lets stop insulting them by calling their concerns silly and the facts over hyped. Concerns born of misinformation are still very real concerns.

We all know that a group of 12 year old boys living on the surface of mars will figure out how to find pictures of naked woman. This is not the point. The point is that we have not addressed their parent’s concerns while we simultaneously we preach that we will fill the schools with Net access. So the government has just addressed these concerns for us and they do not care if it is the right way of addressing them, they just knew it was time.

You do not protect your right to free speech in a new media by ignoring the very people who will support it. You protect your right by being responsible with that right. And we have to do it in a way that the public understands and the press reports on.

It’s time to figure out a way to enforce a standard of tags within file names that can signal a browser about content before the file displays. Lets push for optional lockouts in hardware and software so adults can control access.

It is not an infringement of free speech for a teacher or parent to bar an 12 year old from seeing pictures of bestiality, nor is the first amendment crushed if that same picture has to have “R” in it’s file name.

Once this kind of control is established, once we have done what we can in the futile battle against the 12 year olds, we can fight for our rights of free speech for adults with power and conviction. Once we have laid a solid foundation of responsibility we can then accept nothing less then free speech.

Brothers and sisters of the revolution, the commune has fallen apart. It was a blast, we got a lot of foundation work done, a lot of press, they will remember our message for a long time to come. It couldn’t of happened any other way.

The barn raising that resulted in the Net as we know it has changed into a full time construction job. Now it’s time to walk down that dirt road into town, step up to the welfare office, decline further checks and become a positive part of the world that surrounds us. As the old hippies will tell you, it really can be a lot of fun!

The end.

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