Saturday, March 2, 2024



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Former NATION editor Roxanne Gibbs was the first to notice how much fun I derive from writing this fortnightly column. When some rabid dog lovers mauled me three years ago, Roxanne emailed: “Carl, I see you’re having fun.”
I continue to enjoy it. My last effort, Death Of Privacy, was no exception.
Anita Delph wrote: “After reading your article I felt compelled to send you a short comment. I have come to the conclusion that your inability to adapt to a rapidly changing technological world has relegated you almost to the point of extinction or relevance (sic).
“You are rapidly becoming a dinosaur if you are not already there. While you can only see the negative side to social media, there is a more positive side that far out ways (sic) the negatives.”
These days, the first response from folks who disagree is to insult you.
I replied: “On the one hand you called me a 19th century dinosaur (you were off-mark by a few centuries – they became extinct over 68 million years ago, I’m told), then you asked: ‘What does age have to do with it? 72 is the new 62’. No, my dear, 72 is 72. You’ll find that out when you get there.”
Then, she flippantly explained away my upset at the gruesome pictures recorded as a Barbadian lay dying at the roadside: “Just because we live in a democracy doesn’t mean that injustices cannot and don’t take place here. Instead of having to wait on reporters/editors to tell us the news as they see it, the news is distributed instantly, no matter how offensive it may be to you or me.”
Exactly my point: the new technology is making us cold and uncaring, bereft of sympathy and empathy.
In response to “. . . the masses will continue to embrace technologies such as Twitter and Facebook and determine for themselves what is relevant and what should be discarded”, I warned her to be careful whom and what she embraces. While she embraces the new technologies, the new technologies are embracing her.
They know where you live, where you go, what you wear, what you eat – because you tell them. Soon, “Big Brother” will know your every thought. And what do they do with all this information about you? They sell it!
Then Ms Delph mentioned the “citizen journalist”. My response: “There is no such person. The journalist has to be trained in the same way as the doctor, the lawyer, the teacher or the architect.
“Next thing, you’ll be introducing me to the ‘citizen cardiologist’ – to cut open your chest, not mine! or the ‘citizen engineer’ – to build your skyscraper! Not everybody holding up a cellphone is a journalist. You’re more likely to be a voyeur.”
She then offered some help with the naked woman someone placed on my computer.
“Learn how to use the software and remove the offensive material yourself. It is not rocket science and certainly doesn’t require a technician, but don’t discard the technology and remove it from your computer simply because of your ignorance on how to use and control it. Then again, it may be better if I send you an old typewriter as you may be more comfortable with that level of technology.”
I was glad to receive that offer and asked her to deliver the typewriter before it ends up as scrap in Japan to be recycled into her next iPad.
Her final bit of advice to me “and others who continue to live in the 19th century and would like to take us all back there with you”, was to adapt and evolve or “you will go the way of the dinosaurs – extinct and irrelevant”.
I told Ms Delph that I would willingly become extinct and irrelevant before I slavishly “follow” her and the other 900 million who fatten the bank accounts of the Zuckerbergs, Pages and Brins of the 21st century.
• Carl Moore was the first Editor of THE NATION and is a social commentator.


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