Saturday, May 26, 2012

Digital dung heap - News Corporation vs The Guardian

It is difficult to resist the phrase in the May 26, 2012 editorial from The Guardian: DIGITAL DUNG HEAP!   I didn't intend to put that in capitals as if I am exclaiming at volume, but the impression is that this is the bottom line for respectable types. (I  do not know if The Guardian is respectable.)

Here is the link.

Uprising's thesis is that the Internet has made it possible to not be regulated. Thus there should be no surprises about mobile phone hacking, no WTFs? about security and surveillance, not even a little blanch when we learn that our children see pornography. It is to be expected in the unregulated environment of the Internet.

The question is whether "digital dung heap" explains anything? Apart from corporate behaviour at a global firm like News International, there is no need to characterize everything as excrement, although it is tempting to seek to claw back the certainties of the past. As if there was a time when we were not swimming in it... 

A somewhat semiotic reading of the digital dung heap accusation leads to the conclusion that The Guardian believes it is the defender of values that reflect pre-internet moral certainties. It is as if The Guardian editorial writers want to back track up the lower intenstine to a place where all nutrients are structured according to known categories: proteins, carbohydrates, fats. Somewhere a long way down the intestine a sphincter occassionally lets out the shit.

Enough of semiotics. The intestine analogy as a controlled space does not work in the Internet era. There is no clarity, even though that is what we have been led to believe and frankly still want to believe: that life is a series of controlled procedures. The Levenson Inquiry in the UK in response to the phone hacking scandal shows that if there's a shit place to go in civil society there are always willing candidates, criminalized minds ready to operate without the bourgeois rule book.

There is no digital dung heap. There is unhinged, deconstructed society.