Monday, February 15, 2016

The White Man's Burden is a Sack of AOL CDs...

So, does everybody remember the Nineties, when the North American continent was buried under strata of America Online diskettes* and CD ROMs?

Basically, AOL knew that getting more people on the internet meant more money for AOL, via monthly fees and ad revenues, and so it just spewed Free Monthly Trial discs across the landscape like ejecta from Vesuvius.

And this was just business as usual because they were passing out this product to 'Murricans.

But what happens when an American company offers free trial internet access to Indians?

“I see the project as both colonialist and deceptive,” Ethan Zuckerman, the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media, told me. “It tries to solve a problem it doesn’t understand, but it doesn’t need to understand the problem because it already knows the solution. The solution conveniently helps lock in Facebook as the dominant platform for the future at a moment when growth in developed markets is slowing.”
How dare you offer your beads and trinkets to Indians! You've probably smeared beef tallow on the zeros and ones and put the smallpox.exe virus in the installer!

That Mr. Zuckerman sees no irony in his blatantly paternalistic concern for the poor little 'eathens is one of the most hilarious things I've seen on the 'net in weeks.

*Diskettes: Okay, they were like big, flat, square USB drives, but inside the plastic shell was a little circular piece of plastic film, coated with particles of magnetized rust, that would spin and get read by the computer. Ask your parents.