Recently I tried to post a story on Kuro5hin.
Someone told me I needed to go 'read Lewindon
at Harvard'. I assume this means some professor
named Lewindon at Harvard. If I were back
in my University Library, I could look this
up in about 5 seconds. But now, over
this 28.8 connection to a crappy ISP, I have
no way to look up this guy. If you add up all
the time I have to wait for goddamn banner ads
to download while hunting for information about
this guy and what his theories and ideas were,
it would probably add up to several minutes.
In the library, everything was on a T1 line.
In the library, I could have instantly looked up
every book he has ever written on FirstSearch,
an extremely expensive but extremely useful database
of just about every book that has ever been published
and put in the Library of Congress. This would
have told me his full name, some summaries
of his books, and maybe some other stuff. With
this information I would have had alot easier
time tracking him down and what he is all about.
Furthermore, if his theories were famous or
significant, it is quite likely that among the
2 million volumes within the library he would have
had 3 or 4 of his books sitting on the shelf, not
a 5 minute walk away. If the library did not have
the books I could have done 'interlibrary loan',
which would have automatically notified me via
e-mail in about 2 weeks that the book had come
in and that I could come pick it up.
If Mr Lewindon has written something in any
magazine or newspaper such as the New York Times
or Science or Newsweek or The Journal of
Evolution Theory, or The Journal for the Student
of Evolution, or Time, or anything, I would be
able to look it up in the various library
databases within about 5 minutes. I would
either be able to print out the articles
on the library printers for 5 cents a page,
or I would be able to find the magazine itself
on the library shelves/microfilm/microfiche,
which would take maybe 30 minutes. I would
be able to interlibrary-loan the articles which
would be faxed within a few days if they were
not immediately available to me.
By the way, all of this was 'no cost' or 'low cost' for students,
it was somehow included in the overall 'end of
semester' bills. Certainly much less than the
average american pays for the french fries and sugar-water
at the local McDonalds every day.
But at home, I have no idea who the guy is.
I have looked on google and found basically
absolutely nothing. If I searched for 5 more
minutes I might have more luck, but I seriously
seriously seriously doubt that any of his real
articles are on the internet. Why? Well, Copyright
fascsists of course, who want to let only rich
people have access to ideas so that they can sit
in their New York apartments drinking double moco
latte and spending their whole lives shoving
words around and making us 'country bumpkins'
grovel for it.
This town I am in has a public library, in fact
it has about 15 or 20 of them spread out
in different branches. They have lots of
books about home electrical repair, second rate
novels, time, and national geographic. But
they are nowhere close to a real university
library, where the true and important ideas
of the 'people who run the world' are layed
out for the public to see.
Out here, I have no way to analyze the ownership
relationships between companies, to dig up
10 year old articles on the beginning
of an organization or the history of an
individual, out here I have no access to the
books that make revolutions, I merely have
access to oodles of 'second hand material'
off of the internet.
In short, I would like to say that perhaps I would
be happier if I had never been to a public
university with a proper library of 2 million
volumes, with good databases and interlibrary loan.
I would never know that I was missing anything,
I would have no conception that the rich people
in large cities have access to actual research
facilities that the poor and the distant could only
dream of. I would have no knowledge of the
brutal and disgusting disparity between those
who think it is OK for them to decide everything
for the rest of us, who hoard the truth for
thesmelves, and the poor schleps who must live
with whatever goggle eyed elitist decisions
they come up with, while we sit around
blabbering with half baked ideas that we can
only research so far before we run up against
'copyright: you cannot view this' or
'this material is unavailable to you'.
I am quite disgusted to think that the greater
mass of people should somehow have 'less access'
to the ideas that shape the very fabric of
our lives, to the people and stories that run
the world, it is sorely undemocratic, it is
the most horrible crime committed by the
elite against the lower class. Slave owners
used to kill slaves for reading or
teaching others to read, surely they knew
the same thing that our corporate copyright
fascists know in modern times: information
is power, to control information is to control
everything. Naturally the belief that
the upper class must control the lower class
extends to the current reality: a vast
uninformed lower class whose access to information
is relegated to dippy jocks and prom queens
blabbering out whatever is on the teleprompter
on the nightly corporately controlled news,
the pathetic 'good old boy' local newspaper,
and several dozen hours of TV advertisements