I was attempting to comment recently on a blog posted on The Secular Jurist and was unable to log into WordPress. I spent about a half hour trying to make a one word comment and was continually prevented from doing so. Yes, my iPad is old, but that shouldn’t matter. Plus, it isn’t nearly as old as many devices I’ve owned in the past.
In 2015, I moved out of a house and was unable to afford a place where I could bring my belongings. I spent a while traveling like a nomad, something which would most likely terrify many people in these days of expected comfort, instant connection to the internet and mindless over-consumption of virtually everything on the planet. We’ve developed an entire “instant gratification” culture in modern society, a weakness which has made us much easier to control.
I had rented a storage unit months prior to moving out and stuffed it with my belongings – music equipment, books, old magazines, CDs, mementos (including pictures that you can actually touch!), DVDs and other assorted items. (I even kept my old baseball glove – a Rawlings outfielder’s model that I’ve had for about 25 years). One of the items I got rid of was a television that was 29 years old – and worked.
Yes, I’m serious. Twenty nine years old. It had the date it was manufactured on the back: 1986 – and it was still in good operating condition. I put it on the curb (with a sign stating that it was in working condition) for someone to take along with other items I thought people would like. (Almost everything was taken within hours and everything except the 29 year old TV that worked was gone by the following day).
My guitar is 36 years old. One of my guitar amplifiers is 28 years old. One is 23 years old, another is 21. Between 1973 and 2015 I owned four televisions and was never without one that worked (though I have spent years without watching television) – and one was second hand. That’s 42 years, for the mathematically challenged.
No, I’m not a computer designer or manufacturer. No, I don’t understand computer “language” or codes of any kind. True, I know very little about the manufacturing process of electronic devices. But I do not believe that these devices cannot be built to last more than a few years. I refuse to believe that in this era of space travel, manipulation of genetic material, drone deliveries (of purchased items and death) and detailed surveillance of most of the planet that we don’t have the ability to build electronic devices that don’t break down every time a company decides to sell a new “bell” or “whistle” to its eager, purchase-obsessed customers.
Back on the home front, I decided to make another attempt at logging into WordPress. This time I was asked to give Google my e-mail address and password to be allowed to sign in to WordPress. Apparently, I’m not the brightest person around. I’d like someone to explain why I suddenly need permission from Google to sign in to WordPress.
I thought Google might have acquired WordPress. I researched Google’s corporate acquisitions and found 215. Yes, 215 companies have been acquired on some level by Google since 2001, but I didn’t see WordPress among them.
I thought it might be temporary. I’ve been temporarily prevented from posting on Twitter about ten times. I figured this could be similar. The next day I was still not allowed to log in. A few days later, no change.
Instead of lazily giving in and doing the expected, I’ve decided to try a different path. I’ve curtailed my internet activity significantly. I rarely check e-mail or read blogs, most of the time I spend online is listening to music on Youtube. I’d reduce that if I had an option, but since I don’t own a CD player or electronic device that holds music my choices are limited. And I love music.
I chose to go online occasionally in a library, but being thousands of miles from home at this time I needed to search for one in this area (and was kept busy lately taking care of a sick quadriplegic woman in dire need of help). So, here I am in a library in Oakland, birthplace of the Black Panthers. (Why has COINTELPRO been on my mind lately?) I read a post on Dandelion Salad about the new ads on WordPress. This difficulty logging in began the same day.
Obviously, unless this situation changes, I will be posting, commenting and “liking” other people’s posts less often on WordPress. (I apologize for the apparent lack of interest or support). However, I’m not angry. To the contrary, I see this as an opportunity to decrease the time I spend on the internet, a welcome change. I was becoming complacent so this is actually a good thing for me, in one way.
Having written that, I despise the fact that this is still a form of censorship. Planned obsolescence creates a caste system in the area of information gathering and dissemination. And, as with virtually everything in a Corporatocracy, the more access to resources one has, the better your access to information and having your opinion heard. This has, of course, a direct impact on the concept of democracy in action. Our democracy here in the United States is more of a public relations version. It looks good on paper, but we’re getting rid of paper – in more ways than one. (No more paper ballots to ensure elections are not selections and no tangible proof in your hands in business dealings. Internet-based agreements can theoretically be changed by those with exceptional computer skills. Some day we might not have paper currency. I dread the day when everything might need to be done online.
I have many books to read and can still write on my “ancient” iPad. And when the iPad craps out I’ll write the way I did for decades – with pen or pencil on paper. I kind of miss that, anyway.
So, here I am, arming myself with ink and paper for the battle of the airwaves currently underway. Will enough members of Congress back the U.S. Constitution or continue the corporate consolidation of power over information?
Will enough “sheeple” care enough about freedom, justice and democracy to force THEIR representatives to stand up for people or will they bow down in apathetic obedience to their corporate masters?
Well, time’s almost up on the library computer. I’ll be watching. Will you?