Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Turn On, Log In - and Drop Out?

I recently watched the short Academy Award-nominated film I met the Walrus, an animation based on a 14-year-old Jerry Levitan's audio-taped interview with John Lennon. Lennon was holding a bed-in at the time, and Levitan blagged his way all the way to the great man's bedside. It got me wondering what the sixties would have been like if the internet had been around then. Levitan's encounter with Lennon (videoed, surely) would've been on YouTube the same day.

OK, so the sexual revolution failed to address sexism and consumerism dressed itself up as radicalism, but imagine Andy Warhol's website (The Factory webcam), Jerry Rubin's doit.com (it exists, but it seems to be nothing to do with the late Rubin), YouTube videos of Paris in 1968... Timothy Leary... John Lennon in bed, or in a bag... Daniel Cohn-Bendit's website...

Perhaps the internet is as alive now as it would have been forty years ago – only what seemed sensational now no longer appears to be so. If people were “thinking outside the box” then, then perhaps, as a result, the box has just got bigger. Is that a good thing? Yes, on the whole: but boxes wall you in. Perhaps they just doubled the size of the exercise yard?

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