Egypt as examined by one small sliver of the “American Street”

“Hear what happened in Egypt?”
“No.  I don’t follow the trivial, and am not always up to the minute on the news.”
“Well, they basically toppled the government.”
“Really?  Interesting.”
“And it was organized basically off of facebook and twitter.”
“Of course.  The thing is, Luddite Governments, and Luddites in governments, and every one is packed with luddites, can’t stop the tide.  They’ll either adapt or be adapted.”
“What’s a Luddite?”
“Sigh.  (Clumsy and stop and search explanation for historical ludditism.)  Anyway, today we get a lot of phony debates.  Take this for instance.  (Reference to this story).  Phew.  ‘We want our information back.’  It doesn’t work that way!  Egypt, they could take their cell phone service away, sure, and then what?  Go from a second world economy to a third?  You know what is a flash mob?”
“Sure.  Of course.”
“No.  The original use?”
“(Literary reference to first use of ‘flash mob’, loaded with a great deal of ‘Mass mind’ and mob mentality angles.)”
“I’ll have to look it up.”
“When the Berlin Wall fell, our government knew about 10 days before, via Internet technology.  Information couldn’t be contained at the highest levels then, today it’s down to lower levels.”

These matters are all over-simplified, even with the bright techno Utopian line.  Wait a few years and then see what we have in Egypt.  It’s not really our battle, no matter that this city is now plastered with “Down With Murbarak” posters directing us to  (That’ll show Murbarak!)  No matter that our political partisans are jockeying to take partisan credit — “The Bush Doctrine!  Vindicated!”  (A sentiment I’d like to hope even a President Bush wouldn’t push, as doing so would surely lend events away from us.)  Meantime, for all the jump for joy at twitter — and the government’s suppression techniques, al Jazeera held the most extensive and meaningful coverage of any media outlet — showing government lies exposed in real time against split screens of what was actually happening.  Their pan-Arabic focus leading once again to autocratic forces accusing them of being “Zionist Propaganda” — those references are always amusing.

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