Many dreamers had high hopes for the Web, yours truly among them. Finally, a direct way around corporate walls and filters, a means to personally express political thoughts to whomever has online access. Mainstream hysteria about bloggers reinforced this conceit. The fuckers wouldn't scream unless they were scared.
Yeah, well, hoo haw to all that.
Corporate mouthpieces still spew hostility while their outlets wither and die. But overall, their anger counts for very little. Like traditional news operations, the Web is privately owned, and therefore limited in reach and ultimate punch. As my friend Rob Payne recently put it:
"I wonder in this militarized police state we inhabit why big brother hasn’t taken control of the internet to render any independent voices silent. Most likely they just don’t see it as a threat yet as the most popular blogs are either rubber room right wing dingbats or delusional liberals who are so happy to have their man in the White House that you could sell them the Brooklyn Bridge five times in a row without raising suspicion. Even paying more attention than most is no guarantee that we can get things 'right' as it were. However, if the ruling elite ever see the internet as a direct threat to their rule, you can bet the internet’s days would be numbered, at least in the form we are now familiar with."
There's no need for the state to step online and quell dissent, whatever form it takes. We are so depoliticized and scattered to the commercial winds that any "direct threat" to corporate rule would require a change in present consciousness so dramatic, so revolutionary, that it cannot be defined by present thinking. This is why we're indefinitely locked into this fixed system: the basic requirements of real change have yet to be articulated, much less defined or deeply understood. There are flashes on the periphery, some rustling here and there, but nothing that would seriously alarm our owners. For them, the Web is another form of control.
This is not to say that the Web can't be bent in a more democratic direction. It's a tool like so much else. All that's required is desire, drive, courage, tactical intelligence, and patience. Endless, bottomless patience. For if real change becomes even remotely decipherable, reaction will be swift, merciless, crushing. We'd have to be able to take beating after beating, getting back on our feet and pressing on. Not easy, not fun, and for countless proles, most undesirable. Voting is simpler, fantasies more soothing -- to the extent one's pain can be adequately numbed by dreams.