We can’t un-invent the internet, but sometimes it’s a nice thought

When I were a lad, we had things called urban myths, now known as fake news; or lies. Such things had always existed.

Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 6:15 pm

A popular urban myth was the totally fabricated story that Stan Laurel was Clint Eastwood’s father. Harmless and diverting perhaps, but complete rubbish.

Then came the internet. A treasure trove of unimpeachable fact that would dispense with such misinformation. Or something.

We now hanker for the days when Stan’s mythical siring of Clint was as dangerous as alternative “facts” could get. Now, in a world inhabited by gullible people who regard fact checking as “censorship”, ask yourself – would you un-invent the internet?

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Would you be in favour of un-inventing the internet, if we could?

Obviously it’s a hypothetical question to instigate debate (rather than name-calling). There’s really no need to point out that it can’t happen. Thanks.

It’s been asked before, but things are really getting out of hand now. The ‘I’ve done my own research’ crowd might be unwittingly funny when they’re insisting that Bill Gates has put radioactive custard into the vaccine or whatever; but it’s still dangerous.

The internet/social media has served public debate badly. No need to endure the process of reaching conclusion through informed argument. Not when a one-word insult will suffice (“snowflake”, “gammon”, “liar”, “Muppet”, “sheep”, etc). It saves time.

All this is before we consider the abuse Marcus Rashford has suffered recently; entirely from cowardly thick-heads who wouldn’t dare say such things to his face.

Can you imagine a world without the internet? Marcus Rashford might be trying to. PA picture.

Then there’s cyber crime, the dark web and the fact that high streets across the globe are increasingly deserted while Jeff Bezos has more money than God.

However, if the internet was permanently unplugged tomorrow, I’ll admit I would miss much of it. The convenience, ease of communication, bargains, the chimpanzees doing Riverdance. How did we manage without it?

Perfectly well is the short answer. Technological advancement is not necessarily human advancement.

It’s a strange person who believes everything they see in the media. It’s an even stranger person who believes nothing in the media because some barmpot on YouTube has posted a “theory” to the contrary.

So in my fantasy planet, there is no internet. A pity then that we’re stuck with it. And incidentally, if you do find confirmation on some website that Stan Laurel really was Clint Eastwood’s dad, it still isn’t true.

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