Friday, August 04, 2006


There's a dangerous new initiative, born in the black bowels of the infamous "Internet," that threatens the integrity of our well-oiled universe. This bad seed, of which the dangerous radical Stephen Colbert is a declared proponent, is "Wikiality." Watch the video. Try not to panic.

After all, our society is the culmination of modern technology, a paradise of well-designed intelligence and media integration tailored to keeping us intellectually comfortable. We get our news from the enlightened hegemon, filtered through the six major media outlets, and we're not even saddled with the responsibility of choosing between points of view. If we really want information in so-called "specialized areas of culture" (though I can't imagine anybody is attached to this option), we can always go to the easily-accessible academic journals awaiting us on every magazine rack. We're finally past the dark ages of haphazard experimentation with media, or with the social structures that support it.

And then came Wikipedia, threatening to overturn everything we've worked for. Wikipedia made available more information than the average "Internet user" could ever want, inducing the vertigo, the veritable phantasmagoria, of being able to figure things out... a malignant, addictive condition I like to call "information dizziness."

Now, if Wikipedia had just copied, word for word, the information presented in the Encyclopedia Brittanica, with sufficient editorial input from the Big Six and the U.S. Government, then it would have done a great service to the information age. But Wikipedia's open editorial policy allows the Internet-using public, a social body FAR too large to effectively generate content, to contribute to information that they never had to worry about before. The result was mass chaos on a scale comparable to the LA riots: millions of people, downloading gigabytes of information, and always having to think about where it might be coming from. Suddenly thousands were resorting to devices like "induction," "deduction," "critical reading," and "fact-checking," instincts we thought Mass Media had finally deprecated.

And now, iconoclasts like Colbert advocate a new structure of thought, a tumerous development springing from the cancerous cells of Wikipedia. This social structure would guarantee that every person is cursed with their own autonomy, and people are left paranoid in the dark, scrutinizing every accepted idea to verify its integrity. Farewell comfortable womb of certainty, hello cold universe of critical thought. Colbert calls this new system "Wikiality."

Does Colbert understand the full ramifications of his dangerous rhetoric? A world where the truisms at the very base of society are in dispute? Where each person is responsibile for his or her OWN outlook, and where citizens are forced to doubt the decisions and emotional reactions benevolently dictated to them? A place where people have to think, question, and evaluate practically EVERYTHING they're told by the information apparatus?

You may go gentle into that good night, but as for me... they will not take me alive.

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