Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Rich Man's Rant About Internet as Xerox Machine 25% Correct

If you read just one piece of hysterical overheated lunacy today, although I certainly hope you read many of them, definitely make it third-generation rich man and Harper's magazine funder John R. MacArthur's rant about the Internet.

The dot com bust didn't end my Internet travails. It wasn't so long ago—maybe eight years—that I found myself trapped in a corridor at Harper's, surrounded by a small mob of what I can't help but refer to as "young people." These youthful members of my editorial staff—one of them now the co-editor of Mother Jones Magazine—were imploring me, demanding even, that I meet the Internet revolution head on by posting free what they also described as "content" on our brand new Harper's Web site so that it might be consumed by a huge reading public supposedly dying to read our longish essays, reporting and short stories. The Internet, I told them, wasn't much more than a gigantic Xerox machine (albeit with inhuman "memory"), and thus posed the same old threat to copyright and to the livelihoods of writers and publishers alike.

The problem here being that he's 75% unbelievably wrong—the ramblings on how terrible it was that SOPA was defeated!—but then also sometimes right.

12 Comments / Post A Comment

Duke of URL (#226,109)

Good God I hope the Internet isn't like Xerox. Those fucktards still haven't figured out how to prevent paper jams after all these years.

yabtronix (#13,760)

Rich Man's Rant About Internet As Xerox Machine Largely Lifted From Earlier Rant About Internet as Xerox Machine http://www.harpers.org/archive/2010/12/hbc-90007861

mope (#7,268)

Try reading the full original article in a Grandpa Simpson voice in your head. Gives a better impression overall of where MacArthur is coming from.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Zero thanks to Xerox PARC.

Leon (#6,596)

I could read this stupid article or I could go torrent some movies.

riggssm (#760)

My eyes glazed over and I skimmed as far as the Tea Party and Democrats killing off the Post Office.

And that was when I closed the tab. Man needs an editor.

SeanP (#4,058)

@riggssm you did better than I did. Choire lost me at "Rich Man's Rant".

But he quotes Daniel Defoe. That's gotta be good content.

dani@twitter (#226,158)

This is the guy giving Columbia's commencement speech this year, where he'll be addressing "what I can't help but refer to as 'young people.'" Good that they got such a forward thinker who can really speak to the future.

deepomega (#1,720)

The internet is a series of ditto machines.

@deepomega This.

deepomega (#1,720)

@sorry your heinous *like*

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