where the writers are



The initials for the worldwide web have become so ubiquitous that the truly cool don't even say them prefatory to stating an internet address.  The truly cool understand.  But there are still some people, and not all of them elderly, who hold up their forearms in the shape of a cross to ward off "The Internet," said with the same horror as "The Devil." That's mostly because the Ignorant, the Happily Uninformed and the Truly Stupid think that the internet is a black hole of immorality and the supernatural.

Au contraire, mon frère. 

There are people out there, she said, warming to her subject, whose religion forbids their reading other than sacred tomes.  These people live in a happy bubble of peace, where nothing unpleasant intrudes (including, I hope for their sake, advertisements in buses, which I find at times rather disturbing).  I worked with a gentleman, we'll call him Mr. H., years ago who, although the sales manager for an international confectionery firm, told me he didn't read magazines, books, the newspaper or watch the TV news, but read only his religious tracts. 

I don't know.  What was he so afraid of?  How ever did he get by in the corporate world?  I mean, my goodness, if a person is so easily turned from his beliefs, he or she is pretty fragile, religiously speaking.   I did in fact think he was fragile.  He was very impressed with his secretary, who was terrified of thunder storms and hid under her desk whenever a storm loomed, a girlish and incomprehensible behaviour for someone who is supposed to be running an office.  However, when my manager was transferred to Toronto, Mr. H. was given the choice of me or his secretary to become the western sales administrator.  I had been compiling statistics and writing my manager's sales reports to the Toronto head office for a number of months and generally handling the office single-handedly when he was traveling.  Mr. H. said he was going to observe the two of us, but the knell of doom told me he was going to choose his secretary for the position.  I think perhaps he felt safer in the presence of the fearful, which I was not.

Perhaps he preferred dadblamed ignorance to information, both in himself and in his subordinates.  Just writing about it has brought a clarity to me which means that maybe, after 20 years, I can let it go.  Let me put my little head down on my desk for a moment.

The deliberately ignorant, such as Mr. H., are the kind of people most fearful of the internet.  Such people are afraid, for instance, that pornographic images might suddenly appear on their computer monitor while they are surfing the ‘net.  Horrors!  I've had it happen to me, and simply x-d out of the site.  Perhaps if you are already stupid and depraved you will not be able to resist checking out pornographic websites, in spite of your rash declarations of moral superiority.    To avoid the internet because of an irrational fear that something may jump out and bite - well, maybe if you feel like that perhaps you should stay away from it.  You wouldn't want to get nightmares.