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Pickle Me This

April 9, 2007

The perils of mimeograph

I am sure that I too once began essays with sweeping statements like “All societies since the dawn of time have had to struggle for identity, much in the same way that Canada struggles to define itself in Barometre Rising“. Therefore I will not roll my eyes too high. I will, however, take a quick break from marking to direct your attention toward two great pieces on personal expression and the internet.

Brilliant Globe and Mail columnist Ivor Tossell on the illusion of on-line privacy. The just-as-brilliant Heather Mallick takes the point further here. She writes of comments (moderated or otherwise) tacked onto articles in The Guardian (and the Globe has them too), asking: “Why should everyone have a voice? They don’t in daily life. There are some people you wouldn’t sit next to on the bus. Online, clever and perhaps sensitive letter writers with an actual point to make are driven away by the ignorance and sheer hatred displayed by the other posters.”

She’s right, for example check out the comments on Ivor’s article, like that charmer who says “rotten things online” just “to get everything thinking”. Thanks pal. Or the one who uses the term “techno weenie”. Oh my. If you judged our international IQ by the amount of rage expressed in these idiotic comments, I think that we could all be geniuses.

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