Wednesday, February 22, 2006

All The Rage

This David Ignatius column makes me so mad that I can't see straight:

A second explanation of the connectedness paradox comes from Charles M. McLean, who runs a trend-analysis company called Denver Research Group Inc....

McLean argues that the Internet is a "rage enabler." By providing instant, persistent, real-time stimuli, the new technology takes anger to a higher level. "Rage needs to be fed or stimulated continually to build or maintain it," he explains. The Internet provides that instantaneous, persistent poke in the eye. What's more, it provides an environment in which enraged people can gather at cause-centered Web sites and make themselves even angrier. The technology, McLean notes, "eliminates the opportunity for filtering or rage-dissipating communications to intrude." I think McLean is right. And you don't have to travel to Cairo to see how the Internet fuels rage and poisons reasoned debate. Just take a tour of the American blogosphere.

The connected world is inescapable, like the global economy itself. But if we can begin to understand how it undermines political stability -- how it can separate elites from masses, and how it can enhance rage rather than reason -- then perhaps we will have a better chance of restabilizing a very disorderly world.

Oh, for the good old days -- pre-1990s -- a time when our sectarian wars and riots and lynchings and genocides were civilized affairs, based on pure, sweet reason. Oh, paradise lost!

I'd like to apologize personally to David Ignatius and Tom Friedman and Francis Fukuyama and Thomas P.M. Barnett and, most of all, to Charles M. McLean, who runs a trend-analysis company called Denver Research Group Inc., for coarsening the discourse. It was wrong of me to think that my opinions might be worth consideration even though I knew I didn't have a book contract. Clearly, it was my rage that blinded me to the fact that I was poisoning reasoned debate and undermining political stability and separating elites from masses.

And I was such a nice fellow before October 2002; really, I was.

Let the healing begin.

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