SECTION THREE

The Blacklisted Journalist Picture The Blacklisted Journalistsm

COLUMN TWENTY-ONE, MAY 1, 1997
(Copyright 1997 Al Aronowitz)

(WHETHER HE LIKES IT OR NOT)

 

I have only to read one of Frank Beacham's essays to know that I have found a spiritual brother in my journalism-in-exile. By putting his writings on the Internet, Frank is doing the same thing I'm doing: addressing the future. In other words, talking to posterity. I write my pieces as if I'm addressing a friend of mine in cyberspace a thousand years from now. But in Frank, I feel I've found a friend of mine in cyberspace RIGHT NOW! Writing in cyberspace is not the same as chiseling it in stone, but I think stone erodes more easily. I try to write stuff that's going to last and I think Frank does, too. Therefore, it is with great pride and pleasure that I sneak myself the honor of featuring Frank Beacham's page as a pre-eminent link to my own. That's because, in reading his  Drowning in "Info" Hype , I immediately felt his mind to be linked to my own. In that one essay, Frank Beacham saw things exactly the way I see 'em. Reading that one essay, I immediately felt my brain connected to his brain.

It took me a long while to get around to reading Frank's page. I'm a one-man operation and, although Frank first contacted me months ago to congratulate me on my column, I just didn't have the time for a thorough inspection of his website. I still don't. I'm so busy writing and editing my own website that there's not much opportunity left for me to do  any  kind of reading. But, as I've already said, it took me only one of his essays to persuade me that Frank's one of my men. Frank's expertise is in philosophizing about technology, the questioning of which he considers his mission. In  Drowning in "Info" Hype , he says:

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  • As the bombardment of hype continues about the information superhighway, it might be well to remember that technology driven simply by technology never succeeds. To re-phrase a line from a recent presidential campaign: It's the programming, stupid
  • The Internet is a technological device that gives me the opportunity to be part of its programming and the Internet also gives me the thrill of being able to unite with Frank (whether he likes it or not) in contributing what Frank calls  content  to the Internet. We guarantee you that we'll be a lot more fun to read than a Microsoft manual. I'm delighted to have discovered Frank's page. And I'm delighted to tie my page to his, (again, whether he likes it or not!) He's got reams and reams of essays to read. First you choose from a list of seven topics. You click on  Essays and Technology Criticism  like I did and then I scrolled down past such titles as  Fear of Flying  and  A Wireless, Soulless Future?  and  Bombing Our Freedom  and  Dark Alleys of the Intenet  and  Nixon and the Clipper Chip . Each title is attached to a little summary of what the essay is all about. For instance,  Nixon and the Clipper Chip :

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  • For once let us learn from history. The legacy of Richard Nixon should offer every compelling reason necessary to oppose the government's endorsement of an ominous, privacy-robbing encryption scheme called Clipper Chip. If Nixon's "plumbers" could have harnessed the power of Clipper Chip back in the early '70s, why the old man might still be ruling us from the grave to this very day.
  • Each title and capsulated summary reaches out to pull you in. I finally stop at  Drowning in "Info" Hype.

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  • I suspect the compelling entertainment in the future won't be coming from the major players we read of each day in the newspapers. I'll bet on the garage tinkerers and artists who are turning the concepts of "interactivity" and "video-on-demand" on their heads.
  • How could I resist? I read the whole essay!

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  • In considering who will really lead us into the next generation of electronic media, I'm reminded of the words of the jazz musician and composer Benny Golson: "Creative people are committed to risk. The creative person always walks two steps into the darkness. Everybody can see what's in the light. They can imitate it, they can underscore it, they modify it, they can reshape it. But the real heroes delve in darkness of the unknown."
  • Yes, I wanted to read every single other essay Frank'd written, too. But I couldn't. I'll get around to it at another time. At the moment, I was in too much of a rush. I had to hurry back to my keyboard to write these very words. Here he is, Frank Beacham, the new partner I've linked to me (whether he likes it or not): http://www.beacham.com .  ##

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    The Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ 07208-0964
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    THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST IS A SERVICE MARK OF AL ARONOWITZ