Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Devil’s Advocate – On the Anti-internet rally

CCI28082012_0000 (2409 x 3436)

Inquisition… Enlightenment… Reform… Communism… Zionism… Technology – Find the odd one out

In the race to the bottom that the anti-internet campaign has become it appears that no form of words is too stupid, no expression too trite, no metaphor too far fetched and no analogy too extreme for the fearmongers and thought police organising these events.

Strange then that despite the apparent strength of their convictions and the steadfastness of their resolve the organisers will not spread the message beyond Hebrew and Yiddish speakers. Unlike strawberry, grape and fish infestations in which the English language is squished for the sake of saving a Jewish soul from the hazards of creepy crawlies, saving us from the catastrophe unleashed by the internet is confined to Hebrew and Yiddish speakers.

So as a public service we will provide a blow-by-blow translation of the clarion call for a mass stampede to Leyton Orient’s home ground as leafleted daily in tabloid typeface, brash graphics and garish colours. Oh, the wonders of technology. And so that the sacrifice of entire forests is not in vain we here will ensure that the message to rescue Judaism from oblivion reaches its widest audience.

Today we start with a debate between the Devil and his counterpart on the war being waged against God's Chosen on the battlefield of the world wide web. As every Miltonian scholar well knows the Devil gets the best lines and it is no different when trying to ensnare us poor vulnerable souls in the trap set by Tim Berners-Lee.

So without further ado here goes the first skirmish in the fight of the blinding light of fundamentalism and raging fire of ignorance against the candle of reason and the flame of knowledge.



Yetzer Hora

Yetzer Tov

I established an INQUISITION to apostatise ever more Jews

But Jews martyred themselves and went into exile leaving behind their wealth, possessions and belongings!

I developed the HASKALA (enlightenment) to create "enlightened Jews"

The sages of Israel with the holy power of the Torah and Hasidism successfully defeated it.

I created the REFORM to reform Judaism

The Gedoilim of the generation railed that 'Novelty is forbidden by the Torah' and Jews remained steadfast to tradition.

I organised COMMUNISM to divert the Jewish people

With immense devotion Jews maintained synagogues, schools and mikvo’oth until thank God it was destroyed.

I brought ZIONISM to destroy Jewish continuity

The people of Israel obeyed the call of 'Who is to God, let him come unto me' and there survived a Judaism devout  to God and his Torah.

Now I have produced TECHNOLOGY that is ripping God's people to shreds and this time I will UPROOT EVERYTHING

You just wait, hold tight, my battle for the rescue of the future has only just begun. As always with God's help we will succeed with a mighty victory.

For this purpose thousands of Jews, no evil eye, will assemble at 'The Assembly of the Jewish People’ in Leyton Stadium

Instead of engaging in a futile debate on the nonsensical analogies let’s just for a moment take them at their own word. Let us assume that the common denominator of the comparators is indeed that they were all aimed at destroying Judaism and that technology is the Inquisition of 2012. Yet one cannot help but notice that while the historical movements exerted pressure from the outside, whether by coercion or persuasion, in the case of the internet it is something we have and continue to embrace of our own free will.

No one forces you to connect to broadband, there is not auto-da-fe to make you sign up to a smartphone, the NKVD won’t make you open an email account and nor is there anything to prevent us logging off en masse if we were minded to do so. The problem for them is that we don’t want to. The same people who will attend the rally because they share some of the concerns or because they feel compelled to show their face will also log on once they get home to check news reports and web gossip of the event, assuming they weren’t monitoring the bans in real time on their very proscribed phones.

And that is the difference. We want the internet to communicate with the wider world, to broaden our horizons in hitherto unimaginable ways, to expose the corruption and downright idiocy of our leaders, to engage in the openness and accessibility denied to us by our education and way of life, to widen our circle of acquaintances, to debate freely issues we care about, to taste forbidden fruits available elsewhere and, increasingly, to decide we quite like what we see and move over altogether.

This is what we gain by technology and this is what they fear. If the 9 circles of hell exist in every amoled screen then we descend each more willingly than the last. So let them rail, let them threaten, let them ban. It is they who are acting like our persecutors of times bygone and our threat today comes not from without but from within. The web, however, is here to stay and the sooner it brings an end to the madness we have engulfed ourselves in the sooner we may see the end to rallies like this one.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A Stamford Hill retrospective – Volvo City

This is a TV documentary on Stamford Hill from some time during late 80s/early 90s.

The days before the Previa was invented (or did it take us time to make the discovery?), when mobile phones were the size of bricks, when Pinter was still ‘Abraham’ and a mere Deputy Headmaster and when the cops didn’t have to engage in PC claptrap. There are some real gems there especially from our dear old friend and a nice reminder of what sheitels looked like in those bygone days.

Some things however never change. According to the police officer in the programme ‘this particular community are on the edge of forever but their forever is back, behind them… It’s almost as if the future is irrelevant apart from the messianic legend.’

If you think he’s overstating his case look out for next week’s jamboree at Ally Pally when they’re going to rail against the internet and technology. Time to chuck out your microwave ovens, folks.