‘The Internet Is Serious Business’ is a phrase used to remind those who have just been successfully trolled that being mocked on the Internet is, in fact, the end of the world.

–Encyclopedia Dramatica

Serious business, at last

It had to happen, and, if anything, what is surprising is that it took so much time. The whole point of the cables Wikileaks affair is not in the novel insights on USA politics (quite few so far), or on who controls Assange (if anyone -Putin’s declarations sound ominous however) or who really is for freedom and who isn’t. Nor are the immediate consequences, or the probable backlash in Internet legislation that will happen. These things are just the tiny fleas jumping on the finger, pointing at a huge moonrising.

The crucial interesting thing of this affair is: for the first time, the Internet subcultures are making worldwide history.

srs bsns

Wikileaks is the ultimate product of the ’80s-’90s hacker subculture, rehashed and empowered with the social networking/wiki model (in spirit if not in practice). Anonymous -the loosely bound association of script kiddies, black hat hackers, creative otakus and plain dumb teenagers which is now DDOSing websites to “defend Assange” with Operation Payback- is the weird child of the teenage ’00s subcultures. Both of them are now dancing on a stage, with the “old world” watching this theater unfolding, almost helpless. That’s nothing short of amazing. Stuff that streamed in dark BBSs or weird imageboards, unknown to almost everyone in the “real” world, is now shaping the world itself.

I don’t give a fuck if Assange is right, wrong, manipulated or crystalline. He is probably all of these things. I don’t give a fuck if the Anonymous DDOSes are right,wrong,childish or heroic. The point is that they are on the spotlight. No matter how, that’s a cultural and historical turnpoint. Internet, now, has truly come of age: it is where worldwide impact events happen. Now it is really serious business.

5 Comments

  • And, I think, for the general culture the impact is even bigger. What the man of the road is now thinking is: “Wow, THEY (government, corporations, etc) can’t LIE anymore, because of the piracy.”
    It’s not exactly true and it’s not exactly fair, but it’s a big cultural revolution.

  • I am not sure I follow. Where I live, the Internet makes history every day. Every other day a newspaper has a big news concerning something strictly related to the Internet: whether about facebook, google, internet banking, or simply the blogosphere.

    4chan is not shaping history. In fact their DDOS is already forgotten. I think you are overestimating what they did here.

  • First of all, big news is totally different from history. The Internet makes big news every day. And the Internet also shapes real life history every day. But this is the first time that it has had such a profound, direct and unambiguous worldwide political impact. And it is the first time that such an impact is the direct consequence of the hacker culture (I talk of Wikileaks only of course).

    About Anonymous (which is not only 4chan), they’re of course a minority player, but by piggybacking on the Wikileaks affair they gained a unprecedented moment of notoriety. It is not so forgotten here (do we live in the same UK?): actually, all news outlets are just now reporting that Operation Payback stopped just now.

    The Guardian is reporting that they’re getting clever:

    Yes, they’re very much a minor character. But they are a character. Now everyone knows Anonymous. And twenty years from now, it will be kids grown up by playing within them that will be the new Assanges, I suspect.

  • There was an editorial on The Guardian yesterday about Operation Payback:

    The hacktivists of Anonymous may be accused of many things – such as immaturity or being run by a herd instinct. But theirs is the cyber equivalent of non-violent action or civil disobedience. It disrupts rather than damages. In challenging the credit card companies and the web hosts in this way, they are reminding these businesses that their brand reputation relies not only on how the state department sees them, but also on how they maintain their independence in the eyes of their users.

    So much for “nobody cares”, huh?

  • little OT. today, at the radio, the first 3 news were from WL. and i was like: “are you doing ANY actual journalistic work or not?”
    (answer: not)
    but the interesting thing is that NOW they’re spreading some news that normally they wouldn’t, and they’re doing so because of WL. or, more likely, because their asses are safe because of WL.
    they’re not reporting “difficult” news. they’re reporting about WL. so everything’s fine.
    LOL.

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