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Saturday 3 October 2015

10th Anniversary Classic Rant: Shut Down MY Computer For a Day? No, and Go Fuck Yourself

I've always thought these thematic "days" for some social activism or another tended to be more show than meaning; I'm not talking about stuff like Martin Luther King Day or even Earth Day (which are basically just glorified holidays; someone pretty smart once said that you know whatever message King had had been successfully subverted on the day the government declared a national holiday in his honour); no, I'm talking about days like "Turn off your TV" day, or "Buy Nothing Day". Days made up by mostly addle-minded lefties who are trying to make some kind of point even they don't understand about the "difference" even one day of changing our routines can make.

Except, as far as I see, the difference is zilch. I mean, ok, if there was an international "Don't Drive Your Car" day, it would make some kind of a difference, however minute, in diminishing emissions for that one day. But if you only get a few thousand, or even a few hundred thousand, people doing it; the overall effect is utterly negligible. And if you really got enough people doing it to make an impact, all you'd end up showing is the massive infrastructure problems we would have if people stopped driving their cars all at once.

But the fundamental point is that if you really give a fuck about our critical problems relating to oil, consumption, and the environment, then not driving your car for one day isn't going to make a difference. What would make a difference is giving up your car permanently; or making a permanent commitment to change your consumption habits. These one-day events are just a feelgood, like the "easter christian" who goes to church once a year to feel religious.

But beyond that, many of these thematic days are positively idiotic. "Buy Nothing Day"?! That's practically an act of willful sabotage on civilization. And what the fuck is it trying to prove? Nothing; its just meaningless anarchy thought up by a gang of dope-headed college kids who read too much Noam Chomsky.

"Turn off your TV day"? Fuck, why? What's the point of that. Why not a "Don't Watch Stupid TV Day"?

But today I heard the one to beat all: "Shut Down your Computer Day". Apparently some group of utter fuckheads are trying to organize a worldwide day where everyone supposedly turns off their computers. Why? I didn't bother to even fucking consider it. There is no possible argument that could convince me.
This is just the worst, most unadulterated form of Luddite wobblebrained idiocy imaginable. A willful appeal to barbarism. Computers, and especially the internet, have revolutionized human culture, and in an overwhelmingly good way. To rail against them is to rail against all that is best about the modern world. The Internet in particular is the freest, most universal, most egalitarian, most democratic form of medium ever devised.

At least with television, you have the "Boob tube" argument, that its an utterly passive medium controlled by a tiny conglomerate of corporations, that transmit "infotainment" to you which you are expected to absorb unquestioningly like a vegetable absorbs sunlight. This isn't really true either, but at least it paints an effective picture. 

But the internet? The Internet, and computers in general, are something you have to go out and DO. You have to participate. What you process depends entirely on your will to involve yourself. And you or anyone else has an equal chance to have a voice. No one can stop it, or control it, at least not yet (and hopefully ever). It allows us to show the best of human culture, and the worst of our basest instincts. It will probably come to be looked upon as the most significant, most revolutionary invention of the 20th century, that made the most change on our society and culture. The internet is also a collective, the more people who participate, the greater the amount of information and communication that can happen.

We should be trying to get more people to turn computers on, not trying to get people to turn theirs off.

So my message to the guano-gathering jellyminded idiots who thought up this "shut down your computer day" is this: Go Fuck Yourselves. I'll turn off my computer when I'm dead.


(Originally posted February 26, 2007)

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