Let’s call The Internet what it is: a no-holds-barred orgy where there are no safe words. In a world where traditional media is policed by the FCC and those poisonous substances sold at GNC are “overseen” by the FDA, the Internet is Compton in the early 90’s. And there isn’t even a Paul Blart patrolling the Interwebs on Segway with a flashlight in one hand and phone to call the real cops in the other. It’s a Wild West, frontier town with a seedy underbelly and a pretty grimy surface consisting of roughly 90% pornography and 10% cat videos.
Silk Road, Napster and other .coms have met their demise at the hands of IRL lawyers. Sorry, not sorry, LegalZoom. But this type of policing is knee-jerk (think: stop and frisk) and has more to do with powerful humans being wronged in the real world than anyone trying to protect the sanctity of our human race. The latest victim of this DDT through a folding table is Gawker Media who released Hulk Hogans sex tape and got sued to the tune of $140 million for doing so.
But what’s legal and what’s not on the Internet? Where does “that’s cool” end and “not so much” start? When does the metaphorical “buying her drinks until you look good” become full on Bill Cosby roofying? The Fat Jew has had about as many novel ideas as Dane Cook has had in the past 2 years. Nobody owns anything on the Internet any more despite how hard stock photo companies try to hold on to the rights of “4 well dressed former Men’s Wearhouse models staring intently at a computer screen with furrowed brow”. Even if they did, who would police it?
And anyone with a pulse and a Geocities account can have a website, which seems good in theory until you stumble upon the ISIS career site during your job search and end up in GITMO. No fly list jokes aside, how can ISIS occupy the same place that allows you to give 5 cents a day to those starving children in a country you’re not sure exists? You can be anyone you want and there is no George Carlin list of 7 words you can’t say on the Web. Comment boards are cesspools of degradation, mail order bride ads and cyber bullying with zero consequences for the overweight trolls living in their mother’s basements. And if you don’t feel like being your shitty self, you can always be someone else just by making a new screen name or Twitter handle. The things you can’t unsee with a simple Google search are pretty apparent to anyone who’s ever walked into a coffee shop with free wifi and taken a glance at a the creepy looking gentlemen’s computer. You can post almost anything you want (sorry, Edward Snowden) without consequences and live under the false pretense that Ashley Madison is part of the moral high ground.
Oh, and dick pics.
With Gawker filing for bankruptcy we see yet another victory for those with the Johnny Cochran of Internet lawyers. But will this set a precedent for what is kosher to be posted “in the cloud” that is the interwebs going forward? Will the Internet ever change or will it always just be like the 70’s at Studio 54? I hope for my unborn children that this isn’t the case.
We feel you MJ.