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He Was Not The Messiah, He Was a Very Troubled Boy

Not only was he not Divine, Michael Jackson was not the most talented, influential, brilliant, amazing, innovative, fantastic, amazing genius of all time. While an impressive singer, he was no great songwriter, composer, choreographer or a musician of anything but his own voice - and we can all sing and all have our own unique voice.
He wasn't Stevie Wonder, who is a real musician. He did not 'get the world dancing' or 'provide the soundtrack to the generation' - much of the British audience preferring to confront the harsh world of the 1980's through Two-tone and the whole independent music approach rather than surrender to the updated escapist Busby Berkeley antics of Jacko and his capital investment portfolio. It is an insult to the artists of the time that Jackson's narcissism should be celebrated above more honest, rewarding talent. To many at the time, Jackson was seriously uncool, even with the genius of Quincy Jones (and Rod Temperton) behind him, and Killer had nothing to say about the problems we faced or the world we lived in. Hence the infamous Jarvis Cocker arse-waving incedent. Why has he not been interviewed yet?

Neither were his shows anything new - enormous production values in popular entertainment go back to Nero, where Jackson would have felt at home. he did not invent the circus, sorry, but it's true.
Neither did he 'invent' the music video, as is being claimed. Apparently, MTV wouldn't exist without Michael Jackson. Which means that MTV in effect owes its existence to Joe Jackson's childcare methods. And in any case, The Beatles, for one, had come up with the pop video with Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields almost a decade before Jackson's record company rode the new medium of video to promote their new star. Given this promotional tool, it would have been bizarre if the three Quincy Jones albums had not sold vast amounts. It is tempting to wonder how Miles Davis would have used video to promote 'Bitches Brew' if it had been around at the time. The point being that Jackson had nothing to do with the development of the pop video. It was not his idea - as many celebrity numbskulls have been claiming over the weekend.
In fact, it isn't easy to find many musical or artistic ideas which are attributable to Jackson himself, as opposed to his writers, choreographers, producers, accountants, directors, doctors, life-coaches, plastic surgeons, or chimpanzees.
And after those 3 albums were over, how far did Michael Jackson progress artistically? The truth is that this child star hit puberty, and the company which owned him cashed in on the classic early period of youthful energy when artists are at their most open and exciting, then tossed him and his scary personal problems aside, into the care of the usual queue of 'doctors' willing to prescribe 'painkillers' to the celebrity 'patient'. He progressed no further than his teenage persona with its particularly infantile brand of camp-gothic, and yet the mass media hysterics like Pete Waterman are still laying on the hyperbole with a giant chrome trowel.
The first response of any member of the public which I heard was on the morning after the announcement of the death, in a cafe in Sydenham. .

customer 1:
'You have to be careful crossing that road, Pat, you don't want to end up like Jacko.
'Don't be awful.'
customer 2 (interjecting loudly):
'Well I never liked him, the nonce. That's all he was a fucking nonce. And yeah, allright, he was a showman, but I never liked him. You don't like someone, it doesn't matter how talented they are.'
All of which is the part of the genuine catastrophe which was Michael Jackson's life, as it was with Fatty Arbuckle, whose career was also ruined by accusations rather than evidence. And every other fragile soul demanding attention and a shortcut to financial security which bypasses any political thinking or action.
The grieving multitudes may not believe it but indifference bordering on cynicism is the reaction of many people, not the newspaper-selling brew of rose petals mulled in tears. However, the standard for callousness was not set by a south London wideboy with a big mouth, but (not surprisingly perhaps) by Michael Jackson's dear father, who used the opportunity of his first statement about his son's untimely death to plug his new record label. He didn't say how much of the profits he will be tything to the Jehovah's Witnesses. The Jehovah's Witnesses have not issued any statement on their policy towards child brutality and abuse. Joe Jackson obviously feels no responsibility for his son's fate, but sees it as just another promotional tool. Another idea Michael Jackson didn't have.
Michael Jackson is merely the latest in a long line of damaged human beings who have been the raw material of the entertainment business, especially since the advent of recording, which entailed vast amounts of capital investment in plant and personnel, and a corresponding amount of artistic compromise to cater to the accountancy department. And with artistic compromise comes a further denial of the already fragile sense of personal identity and worth, and such a mind is the natural environment for a self-destructive viscous circle. Which, if tangible on stage, can make for a very compelling performance, but not for a long or happy life in the performer.
Of course, now that artists don't have to rely on vast corporations to distribute their work, the age of the celebrity casualty is, in theory, over. As is the age of the STAR, a label which was merely a way of recovering an investment. There is no reason now why artists of all kinds, but especially performers, shouldn't be perfectly sensible, healthy people who happen to have a talent to entertain, and a story to tell. A career in music no longer demands the traditional showbusiness gamble of an ordinary life on the chance of stardom, fame and fortune. The individual can now do everything which the bankrolled corporations of the past could, and thereby escape the deadening demands of industrialised entertainment. The returns will not buy many Ferraris, but the genuine artist will not care about that.
The neurotic exhibitionists, with their self-obsessed drivellings, are welcome to the wealth and 'pain-killers' and bling. Art is not, no matter what Pete Waterman thinks, a matter of money and 'hugeness'. But the truth is that Waterman knows as much about art as Lady Diana - or Michael Jackson, if his lifetime achievement is viewed objectively, and not as an excuse for middle aged columnists to wallow in their own adolescence for a while. This morbid vice is a harmless enough in moderation, but very unhealthy as a permanent state, as with Michael Jackson, who was so traumatised by his own childhood, or lack of it, that he spent the rest of his life trying to reclaim it, for the amusement (and profit) of others.
Those who once used the entertainment industry as an escape from poverty can take comfort from the fact that their new powers of publishing and distribution will at least keep them fed, if they have any talent. And that if they do not have anything to say, they will not be forced to perform merely in order to repay a bank. And that from now on, their work need cater less for the commercial demands of corporations, and more for their own artistic and personal identity, and the concerns of their audience, however small.
The musical 'stars' of the C20th were the product of a time during which two major motivations for success were hunger and the need for affection. The list is very long of local boys and girls who made it to the top at disastrous personal cost. So the pleasure we get from watching and hearing them is partly that of observing suffering and deprivation through the filter of what we called 'talent'. This isn't that different from watching gladiators in the arena. Both depend on real suffering to exist. And the corporation contract, with its clause requiring creativity on demand, only served to destabilise already wobbly personalities, and guarantee a continued supply of inner turmoil. Now that artists don't need the corporations, maybe we can move to forms of performance and production which don't rely on the worst of motives to exist. And performers can do what they do best, not what they are told to do.
And now Jacko is a god, apparently. The God of Pop. And this time, a lot of people seem to mean it, the family and managers especially. Some of whom are licking their lips at the prospect of the Michael Jackson Memorial Tour, and the Michael Jackson Memorial albums, videos, T-Shirts and dancing singing dolls. The Japanese will naturally supply the range of Robo-Jackos as soon as they can perfect the robo-moonwalk.
The annual Michael Jackson Memorial Day will repeat the roadshow, with variations to cash in on whatever famine or disaster is happening at the time, giving the whole circus the mask of charity and avoiding vast amounts of tax in the process.
Like most show-business martyrs, Jackson is worth more dead than alive.


Now it's National

Until now, most states have been able to sit back and shrug their shoulders to the Iranian government and let the BBC and Gordon Brown take all the blame:

'We'd love to help, but what can we do? Those pesky global Twitterers and hackers. You think they don't cause us all sorts of trouble? We appreciate your problem, but we can't do what you do and shut down the internet, even if we could, or lock up all the troublemakers. We'd love to oblige but, sorry, you see our position."
But it could hardly rest there, and the logical response was always going to be

'Not your problem? We'll make it your problem. We're not bad at the old cyber-terrorism, and our mates the Chinese are real experts. We'll get them to lend a hand, and then we'll see who's got problems.
We do envy you in the west your computerised health and energy systems. It would be a great shame if they should get all frozen up and useless one day...'
The hope was that the Iranian power struggle could be between an alliance of the Iranian people and the online global community against the antiquated Iranian elite clinging to power. And that primitive twentieth century national politics could be sidelined for almost the first time in history. It seems we are not quite at that phase yet, which is hardly surprising. The discredited Iranian elite has every motive to strike back in any way which will drag the battle back to a ground it is familiar with and an enemy it can touch and use as a scapegoat, or whose embassy it can beseige - or whose dipomats it can hold to ransom.. And by threatening to launch hacking expeditions against, say, the British health service database, the Iranian government would be seeking to gain the initiative and bolster its own image. A bit like Krushev putting nuclear missiles in Cuba. And like Krushev's USSR at the time, Iran is also far behind in this particular arms race. In spite of its Chinese big brother. Not only does it have to face up to the combined expertise of the western cyber-powers, but also the infuriatingly evasive geekocracy, who would be given complete licence to kill. An army of James Bonds sliding in through the airconditioning and crawling out of every manhole. The role every geek would love to play, and who would now get the chance. In effect they would be rallying to Kitchener's call:
Your Country Needs You!
But safe in the knowledge that they wouldn't risk getting killed, maimed or poisoned.
However, neither shoplifting nor insurance fraud are victimless crimes, and the same goes for war. How many Iranian hospitals would the freelance commandos of the Global Iranian People's Liberation Support Network (GIPLSN) be prepared to close if the Iranian government began executing leading dissenters? Would the GIPLSN take its instructions from the Iranian people, and if so, how? What consensus should it recognise, and from which source? Or are we seeing something more subtle at work? A form of collective, self policing morality, responding organically to the situation, and tending to deliver an appropriate response. A self-resolving chaos in which every butterfly's wings really do make a difference.
Viewed as a brain, the internet is in its infant, amoral stage. Its neural pathways are still untrained and feral. Given enough exercises in decision-making and storytelling and role-playing, like the Iranian revolution, and the internet could develop into a healthy, upstanding, happy adult, ready and willing to enjoy life and the company of others.
Censored into a cupboard, and fed a diet of kill-games and porn, and only allowed the barest scraps of information from the outside world, the child's morality doesn't advance much more than that of the average rat.
So unless the internet is due to be univented or totally quashed, the outlook is still hopeful. And the enemies of progress everywhere are still just trying to paint over the ageing process, only succeeding in making themselves look less human with every brushstroke.
And when oh when oh when will the BBC stop being the 'Mind-Control Centre' of the western conspiracy to broadcast inconveniently true images and stories to the world?
Not as long as it's a uniquely funded organisation, to judge from its privileged position (along with Voice of America) as almost the sole target of the Iranian propaganda machine.
How satisfying to see dear Old Auntie bouncing her brolly off the bonce of the mullahs in finest Margaret Rutherford fashion. They Do Not Like It Up 'Em.
The Iranian vilification of the BBC is worth the licence fee alone. Of course, the Daily Mail knew all along what the mullahs have just discovered. Perhaps they should get together to try to destroy it. Mediocre minds think alike, if at all.
The absence of any commercial news outlets from attack by the Iranian regime is not just embarassing, its shameful. And those who ever demanded a surrender to commercial versions of truth should also be ashamed of themselves. But if that ever happened, Mullahs would fly and the tabloid journalism would be a footnote in history.
As I try to publish this, Twitter tells me that GCHQ is recruiting hackers from the naughty classes in much the same way that the novels tell us James Bond was:

" ...the government had recruited a team of former hackers for its new Cyber Security Operations Centre, based at the government's secret listening post GCHQ, in Cheltenham, to help it fight back.They had not employed any "ultra, ultra criminals" but needed the expertise of former "naughty boys," he added."You need youngsters who are deep into this stuff... If they have been slightly naughty boys, very often they really enjoy stopping other naughty boys," he said."
What more could a geek want? Except that being under the wing of MI6 means adopting their morality and serving their power base. In effect, telling lies. So as always, the real struggle is not between nebulous notions of Right and Wrong, but good old truth and lies, which may never be absolutes, but which are far more definable.

No Vote - No Work

"SPREAD THE WORD IN IRAN,STOP paying your bills (water, gas, electricty), STOP paying taxes. It worked in '79.RT Please #iranelection"
Says one Iranian Twitterer. And if there was ever a perfect time to organise mass civil disobedience, it is now. The list of pranks which the Iranian people could play on their government, and which could be disemminated online, is almost inexhaustible.
But the uiltimate weapon is still, as always, withdrawal of labour. No Vote. No Work. Can't Vote - Won't Work.
The opposition have already begin the process of reclaiming Islam from the sect which has defined it for twenty years, and possibly begun remodelling it to suit a modern world. If they can do that to a religion, they should manage the relatively humdrum task of remodelling a country. Especially one which for twenty years has been the puppet of the same faith now being shouted from the rooftops every night in defiance of the Mullahs . And there's not a thing the Revolutionary Guard or the secret police can do about it.


140 Characters In Search of A Revolution

[Play muted for best effect]
The cringeing cowards are out in force. It seems that Twitter is being used as a tool by the dastardly CIA. And according to a recent Harvard study, most social website users don't play with their toys much after Christmas Day, and therefore Twitter is nothing but the plaything of the idle western consumer, and not to be taken seriously. Or it is just a rumourmill, seething with as many lies as the Daily Star or Newsweek, or FoxNews and easily dismissed by print diehards.
It's all in the choice of the word 'rumour' instead of 'lead'. Twitter is, initially, providing leads. Old fashioned confirmation always provides stories. And what about the images and videos, how many of those are just 'rumours'?
Whatever bored consumers use it or don't use it for, it has been proved to be a valuable tool for people organising against suppressive or fraudulant regimes. Yesterday and today requests have been made for ideas. What kinds of collective actions could be taken to paralyse the state machine? What is the best remedy for tear gas and pepper spray? What are the safest ways of posting images and video? What kind of retaliation can be expected in this very Persian game of political chess. How can the Basij be identified and even targeted..?
The other argument is that the internet as a tool of change simply doesn't work because it can be turned off at will. This is patently not true, as the masses of footage emerging over the last week has shown, and it is an insult to the craft of the Iranian commentators, who know their business just as well as any Wapping hack knows how to bloat his expenses. And it also ignores the fact that for several days, the conventional media have been turned off entirely and have to rely on the civilians at trheir laptops. The shooting of Neda Agha Soltan on Saturday was news which was reported on Twitter several hours before it appeared on the BBC. Without Twitter, it may never have emerged at all.
Like many other aspects of the internet, personal publication does represent a massive shift of power, as proved by the Iranian regime's actions against it - actions made largely futile by the counter-actions of the global hacker community, garnered partly via Twitter and Facebook.
The sneering has to stop at some point. It seems that the left has to re-learn its own lesson, that the production, distribution and exchange of a commodity is inherently empowering. So when that commodity is information in an Information Age, is it any wonder that tyrannies begin to tremble?

The following Twitter users don't count, it seems.. or the use itself.
crisisintehran TODAY 4pm - Haft Tir Sq - Meydan 7 Tir - Tehran - in memory of our martyrs - Karoubi said hes coming(on his facebook)

stevemahfouz Please be very careful about what information you share on Twitter. The Iranian government monitors Twitter closely #iranelection #gr88

silentherotx #IranElection To deal with tear gas soak a bandana or paper towel in lemon juice or cider vinegar can breath a few minutes, also buy goggles

TGskills NAMES AND NUMBERS OF BASIJ AND OTHER ITELAGENCE AGENTS #iranelection #iran #persiankiwi #mousavi1388 #twitpersia

etc etc etc. All useful to those concerned, and when the spooks do manage to work their wicked wiles, no doubt we'll find out about it. Until then, they have their hands full trying to stem the flood of unsuitable information leaving Iran. And it is a battle they are losing because of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Picasa, and other weapons which the Medieval minds of he mullahs still don't understand. Those using the internet to tell their story are way ahead of the defeatists.
Iran is the most sophisticated blogging community in the world, and the second biggest. They are the ideal people to test the new politics of personal publishing. And they have the sympathy of the freelance global hackers, who quite fancy the idea of making trouble for dictatorships from their bedrooms and garden sheds.
The argument against Twitter is the same one which discredits the Gutenberg press for culminating in Rupert Murdoch. In fact, what Twitter does is it give too much power to those awful ordinary people with their seditious, rabble-rousing pamphlets. Good.
Iran represents a definiing moment in the clash between medievalism and modernity, and modernity will win because the medieval mind does not understand the technology being used against it.
It is in the dilemma of needing the internet to survive in the modern global economy, while trying to deny it from the most sophisticated online community in the world. It will lose because it is not only trying to suppress its own people, but the aspirations of a global community.



MP.'s Expenses in Full.

R.Hon. member for Bogmouth on Sylt.

Recieved with thanks the honourable member for with a melon.
All claims presented to the committee between and subject to Freedom of Act.
As Follows.
Plus further monthly increments of
credited to offshore companies in
Principal residence plus brother in law.
Following sale of
Other addresses
in the event of the death of the goat.

Evil Gordon Brown to Blame Says Supreme Leader

'The most evil of them is the British government'.
... What did we do? Or is the Supreme Leader now a leader writer for the Daily Mail? It's hard to tell. Does this give Gordon Brown another shot of global street cred?
The reality is that any credit the british government gets from this bizarre attack by an obvious rambling loony, comes courtesy of the BBC, which is the real target for relaying the information provided by the Iranian people - via Twitter and the other internet tools which are still obviously beyond the comprehension of the mullahs - not being mentioned in today's address from the Supreme Leader's Fortress of Righteous Justice. Either he knows enough not to mention a battle which he lost when trying to rally his troops, or he simply does not understand that the real war is also also all but lost. That access to global communications changed everything as radically as did the discovery of agriculture or the printing press or algebra, and that by threatening a bloodbath, he is only delaying the inevitable as horribly as possible.
So Gordon Brown and David Milliband take the blame for the BBC acting as delivery boy for the Iranian people. Whoever said politics was fair?
Khameini's used this opportunity to declare that the government is approved by god, and that therefore those who have no faith in the government have no religious faith. They therefore must 'take the consequences', meaning brutal repression, especially at the hands of government loyalist vigilantes, who were directly put on alert by this speech.
The gloves are definitely off, and the bravery of the opposition is exceptional. But given the attitide of the Twitter posts leaving Iran, it seems violence is now far more likely after today's address from the holy men than before, which is historically typical.
Live To Fight Another Way
For the opposition to hold their demonstration tomorrow and openly defy Khameini is to risk a bloodbath. The comparisons with Tianmen Square are obvious. But in this game of image and face, the streets are not the real battleground. It would deliver a far more powerful message if the expected confrontation were not to happen, just as the silent march a few days ago was more impressive than than occupying the streets and burning a few cars. It would represent a far more sophisticated display of concerted action if the crowd were merely to stay home and hang a green flag from their windows, thereby overcoming international reporting restrictions at a stroke. The means of organising it would also represent the new politics of communication, rubbing the noses of the government in its greatest blindspot. Mobbing is surely a much more effective form of action than the mass bloodshed which could well follow a confrontation tomorrow.
Turning on all the electrical appliances on full for an hour would play havoc with Iran's national grid, possibly. Mass journeys at the 'wrong' times of day, causing congestion and leaderless chaos.
The ways in which concerted mass actions can be used to disrupt the state without bloodshed, or leaders to be put on trial, are only limited by the imagination of the people.


More Images From Yesterday's Protests


Orwell Demolition Tools (‘There Are No New Ideas’)

Why so many trees have to die defending progress from the defeatism and misogyny of reactionaries is a mystery. One volume of Orwell essays, and they are exposed again as the Paper Tigers they are.

TRIBUNE.February 25, 1944
Looking through Chesterton's Introduction to Hard Times in the Everyman Edition (incidentally, Chesterton's Introductions to Dickens are about the best thing he ever wrote) , I note the typically sweeping statement:
‘There are no new ideas.’
Chesterton is here claiming that the ideas which animated the French Revolution were not new ones but simply a revival of doctrines which had flourished earlier and then had been abandoned. But the claim that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ is one of the stock arguments of intelligent reactionaries. Catholic apologists, in particular, use it almost automatically. Everything that you can say or think has been said or thought before. Every political theory from Liberalism to Trotskyism can be shown to be a development of some heresy in the early Church. Every system of philosophy springs ultimately from the Greeks. Every scientific theory (if we are to believe the popular Catholic press) was anticipated by Roger Bacon and others in the thirteenth century. Some Hindu thinkers go even further and claim that not merely the scientific theories, but the products of applied science as well, aeroplanes, radio and the whole bag of tricks, were known to the ancient Hindus, who afterward dropped them as being unworthy of their attention.

It is not very difficult to see that this idea is rooted in the fear of progress. If there is nothing new under the sun, if the past in some shape or another always returns, then the future when it comes will be something familiar. At any rate what will never come — since it has never come before — is that hated, dreaded thing, a world of free and equal human beings. Particularly comforting to reactionary thinkers is the idea of a cyclical universe, in which the same chain of events happens over and over again. In such a universe every seeming advance towards democracy simply means that the coming age of tyranny and privilege is a little bit nearer. This belief, obviously superstitious though it is, is widely held nowadays, and is common among Fascists and near-Fascists.

In fact, there are new ideas. The idea that an advanced civilization need not rest on slavery is a relatively new idea, for instance; it is a good deal younger than the Christian religion. But even if Chesterton's dictum were true, it would only be true in the sense that a statue is contained in every block of stone. Ideas may not change, but emphasis shifts constantly. It could be claimed, for example, that the most important part of Marx's theory is contained in the saying:
‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’
But before Marx developed it, what force had that saying had? Who had paid any attention to it? Who had inferred from it — what it certainly implies — that laws, religions and moral codes are all a superstructure built over existing property relations? It was Christ, according to the Gospel, who uttered the text, but it was Marx who brought it to life. And ever since he did so the motives of politicians, priests, judges, moralists and millionaires have been under the deepest suspicion — which, of course, is why they hate him so much.

When will those who despise and fear progress learn to live without it, and return to their roundhouses bearskins and rickets? That's what I'd like to know.


Ethnic Cleansing Ulster Style

Old habits die hard, it seems. There will be NO Surrender! to Roma.. And now many of them have been hounded out by classic Ulster redneck thuggery in the finest traditions of the province. It was interesting to hear the Belfast police trying to reassure the public by saying that 'paramilitaries were not involved' in terrifying dozens of Rumanian families from their homes, if not out of the country. As if it were a matter of some pride that this hatred did not need agitators but sprang naturally from the local culture.
The organised Ulster Loyalist groupings (who are still armed to the teeth four years after IRA decommissioning) have a sad history of links with the nazi nutter-sects across Europe and America. Now we are told that this poisonous ideology does not need organisation in Belfast, but is completely natural. And if it is 'natural' in Belfast, then it must be equally natural to scapegoat Rumanians in every other capital city of the European Union. Racism and thuggery are natural human qualities, not manageable, preventable consequences of economic desperation and ignorance. So there's nothing we can ever do about racism, it is here forever because we are inherently Evil.
The police should be more careful what they say they are grateful for, especially on TV.

Twitterized Mullahs

How they all laughed at Twitter. Well, they're not laughing now. It will be interesting to see with just how much relish the sniggering classes eat their words. The Supreme Leaders of Iran can tell them just how wrong they were to write off an instant, open-ended means of communication. The nature of the current anniversary coverage of Tiananmen Square might be very different if the people had access then to similar ways of co-ordinating action and of broadcasting their own story to the world. Since the advent of the cameraphone, the question has been 'Who Spies on the Spies'? and the answer is US. As both the London G20 demonstrations and the recent expenses scandal showed, public surveillance of authority is now almost as much of a civic duty as paying taxes or driving on the correct side of the road or ensuring that a child does not stand too near to an open fire.

The Iranian ruling elite is in the dilemma of depending for its economic and military power on the same technology which will undermine it. So they can't un-invent the internet (in order to suppress organised dissent) because this is the modern world, and they need their email addresses and online banking systems and commodity exchanges as much as every other regime. Unless, of course, they choose total Talibanisation, and a return to the C13th, which the Iranian people simply do not want. Not for Osama and All His Goats. And what's good enough for the people of Iran is good enough for people living under any other dictatorship, China included.

Whatever the result of the election MIGHT have been, or how indistinguishable the policies of the two main parties, and however hamstrung Iranian democracy might be by Medievalism, the fact is that the djinn of freedom has been let of the bottle by the actions of the tyrants themselves. A few weeks ago, most Iranians might well have been prepared to give Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the benefit of the doubt, but since the shootings and internet shutdowns, and arrests and open disrespect of the increasingly aspirational educated masses, the theocratic regime has partly replaced the West and its sanctions as a demon. The betrayal of the government and the mullahs has driven the wedge of outraged personal self-esteem into the face of theocracy. Apart from anything else, surely modern technology and religious fundamentalism are incompatible. The Quran may not proscribe computers and iPods by name, but it is nevertheless undermined in people's minds by such innovations, just as the invention of agriculture freed us from Animism and the printing press destroyed the monopoly of Papal power.
So the political choices now are very different from the ones the Iranian people once thought were on offer two weeks ago. The internet has helped reveal the unthinkable in Iran.
In Orwell's 1984, the 'proles' are pessimistically generally ruled out as agents of change, 'Goldstein's Book' within the book also dismisses any hope in the masses with one proviso:
"They (the proletarians) could only become dangerous if the advance of industrial technique made it necessary to educate them more highly..."
The internet is the ultimate educational technology, which expands to fill the use and curiousity available, and is now invaluable to the efficient management of the modern state. And any attempts to limit it to the elite are futile. Even the best efforts of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cyber-agents could not stop the flood of information from the people this week, and furthermore, the global hackocracy rallied to the defence of the Iranian people and mounted attacks of their own against state departments.
It would seem that global ignorance is less of an excuse for tyranny then ever.

Cyber War Guide for Iran Elections


Choice for Idiots

At its forthcoming conference, the B.M.A. is to debate the motion that children who have not been vaccinated against measles should not be allowed to attend schools and risk the lives of other children. No jab, no school.
This has naturally provoked the rearguard of the anti-MMR lobby, but also raised the predictable outcry that this sanction would limit something called 'parental choice'.
The moral choice facing the parent is depicted as being one of individual freedom versus subservience to the 'greater good' - to which all vaccinated children are offered as a statistical sacrifice. This is an entirely fake distinction. A polarisation contructed to paralyse collective instincts and blind us to the fact that they generally act in the interest of the individual, not some abstract impersonal entity called the state.
The actual choice facing parents is whether to send their children unprotected into an environment in which it could contract a possibly deady disease. Statistically, an unvaccinated child is far more likely to be permanently harmed by a measles epidemic than by the MMR vaccine. And the more children who go unvaccinated, the more likely such an epidemic becomes. So for the responsible intelligent parent, there is no choice. It is not a choice between the good of The State and the good of the child, but only of the good of the child. An objectively selfish decision, as most co-operative decisions tend to be.
'Choice', as in so many misuses of the word, is purely for idiots. And as idiots, their statistical children would possibly not benefit from any schooling they would be forced to miss.