Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tony Abbott, the intertubes, a bit of wire nobody wants, Gough Whitlam and Luddites huzzah

Exciting news from the world of the intertubes. From tomorrow morning at 9 am, you too can exchange views and opinions by live blogging with one of the world's leading futurists, ten times as exciting as Thomas Friedman, a a hundred times more aware than Steve Jobs of infinite future possibilities, and a million times more aware than Bill Gates of the problems surrounding the hardware in the Xbox 360.

Yep, it's Tony Abbott MHR, the federal member for Warringah, Shadow Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, known to his friends and foes alike as the mad monk for his slavish devotion to Catholicism and his conviction that condoms are useless for sex (though wearing one might have got him out of an embarrassing panic in an earlier life).

Of course if you're still a dial-up loser, or stuck in the bush somewhere, get lost. We don't need your sort trying to join in the blogging. We'se into speed, we'se here and now, you'se there and lame.

So what's Tony got to offer us hi wyrd elytes as scintillating insights into the future of a totally wired, totally hep cat Australia?

On top of $10 billion in pre-Christmas handouts and $42 billion, mostly for school halls and pink batts, the Rudd Government is now going to spend $43 billion to make your computer work faster.

Ah, not quite exactly that Tony. Actually it's going to make the speed of transmission of content, data, whatever to your computer via the intertubes faster, but if you hook up the old Mac you keep under your bed, like me, it won't actually make the classic beast work any faster. The doddery old thing will just keep doddering along, wondering what all this new fangled nonsense is all about, and thinking a fat 512K of RAM is good enough for anyone.

But if Chairman Rudd cares to offer us all a brand new top of the line PC or Mac, it wouldn't hurt in our race to keep up with India.

But that doesn't really get to the point, does it. We're looking for some snide, smarmy, dismissive piece of bitchiness which will forever troll the potential of the intertubes as a technology for business, for exchange of information, for a whole new world and new ways of organizing and doing things:

It would be nice to download songs more quickly but is that really worth higher taxes and higher interest rates for years into the future?

Well played sir. First class sneer, with triple level of stupidity, or is that difficulty? The intertubes is just for downloading songs. Why it isn't even for streaming pornography in 3D, as Senator Conroy fears.

So what should we spend our dosh on, our hard won bikkies? Why of course instead of wasting billions on telecommunications infrastructure that people don't want - most people don't like music unless it's Gregorian chant - why not spend it on a heap more roads and freeways and motorways, so we can drive around and around in circles.

Then let's run through the usual FUD that the pundits have been whipping up into a fever the last few days, including this wonderful piece of optimistic loonacy:

... experience shows that the private sector can be relied upon to deliver telecommunications services that people really are willing to pay for.

Yes, it's worked so well in the past decade. The privatised Telstra has done a tremendous job getting us wired. At such a modest monthly rate. And we're so happy at slow speeds, and paying diddly squat for the experience,which also explains why nobody's enthusiastically embraced the notion of a speedy intertubes on the go using 3G networks instead. (Anyway, these desk bound PC's are just dinosaurs). 

But I don't think you've muddied the water sufficiently yet. How about we not mention Telstra, but get down to the nitty gritty:

Why should the private sector invest in this scheme when they wouldn’t back the government’s previous dud scheme?

Exactly, because the monstrosity your government created, called the privatized Telstra has done such a tremendous job, and for purely platonic and philanthropic reasons, in joining in, and singing a happy song more cheerfully than the seven dwarfs. Sure we're slipping down the charts as a wired nation, but who cares. It's only music, and another hit will come along some time or other, and then we'll be back in the top forty. We might even make it into Eurovision.

But it's still not enough, is it? How about getting in one last jab, something original? Well okay it needn't be original, how about something from Gerard Henderson, something that takes us back Halloween-style to the days of the boogeyman:

The last Labor prime minister who thought that government had all the answers and embarked on a massive spending spree to prove it was Gough Whitlam. He was, in fact, the last prime minister untainted by “neo-liberalism”. Kevin Rudd will never have Gough Whitlam’s style but he’s building a similar economic legacy.

First rate. Nobody will ever be able to accuse you of the 'vision thing' and all that kind of superficial, supercilious nonsense. Just harking back to Gough Whitlam (why not Franklin D. Roosevelt causing the depression I wonder), and roads and dams and tar and cement and concrete, and none of that nonsense about the clever country, or the smart state, or the innovation nation (come back Johnny, all is forgiven), and especially not a word about a wire we don't obviously need. 

So why the hell are you wasting our time blogging on the intertubes you loon? Why don't you just get lost, in very slow motion, I think maybe at about 36 kbps, and hoon off out of the ether. Why not just drive on the freeway to a town hall and have a good old fashioned chin wag with the other fifty bods who can be fagged to go to all the trouble? 

We don't want any of this futurist stuff on the intertubes, we're very happy with the way things are, we don't see any need for change, and we can see that the future will work perfectly well, just like it did in the past. Nothing changes, nothing needs to change, and any talk of change is just to hide the truth that things change only so they can stay the same.

Now please let me go get out the 78 rpm player (never did understand why we had to replace them with those dreadful LPs, which are now back in favor after people realized CD's were so cold, and mp3s were just too lossy), turn on the old CRT telly and watch a little black and white in mono so I can get the full entertainment hit (WTF is all this chit chat about plasmas and 9.1 multi-speaker sound, we never needed that in the old days). As for that allegedly vast store of information allegedly available at speeds that could be faster on the intertubes, bugger that, I'm happy with the two thousand books available for free in my local library.

I guess we get the politicians we deserve, along with an opposition determined on mindless opposition, as opposed to making things work better and faster and cleverer.

Well they say that on the intertubes, nobody knows you're a dog. I just wish I didn't know Tony Abbott was a blogger, using the very technology he so painfully and stupidly decries and plans to inhibit, and somehow thinking that the internet has somehow now reached its apotheosis, with nothing more to be done about a wire people don't want. 

Is politician just a nice way of saying useless hypocrite? Or hopeless luddite? In the case of Abbott, I'd settle for a man who's become an old fart way before his time.

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