Thursday, February 8, 1996 by Dave Winer.
On the other hand...
I wrote my last piece, Holding Hands in Cyberspace before I got a look at the new version of the 24 Hours in Cyberspace website.
It's a realtime thing, a nicely done site, from a technical standpoint -- but...
Rick's politics are selling us out!
The home page at http://www.cyber24.com/ has a white background. There is no blue ribbon on the page. On the first content page, a picture taken by Tipper Gore. There are six sections, with introductory pieces written by interesting people. Al Gore! And he isn't talking about freedom of speech on the Internet.
Rick sold out. It's so disappointing!
I've been talking with Rick privately and publicly over the last few days.
In Train in the Distance, I wrote about Rick without naming him:
I hoped he would read it, and see that his contribution could be a positive one. I talked with him on Tuesday night and asked that he support free speech on the Internet. I told him that it would be OK if Gore was part of the project if he would go on the record about free speech. A blue ribbon is required.
I believe selling out is the normal way of doing business in the world that Rick comes from. I've never seen such a clear example. I wanted to believe the best about Rick, I've seen him stand up for what's right, but apparently only when it's easy for him to do so. He may be missing the point. The Internet is about freedom. Until we get sold out. Then it's about sucking up.
I said: "The US government is clamping down. Even if the new censorship law isn't widely enforceable, or if it's judged unconstitutional, someone is going to be the test case, and that person will feel like a citizen of Stalinist Russia. The new law imprisons all of us, as it did in Russia, because it causes us to pull back from offending people with political power."
I'm sorry I pointed my readers at his site. It's a vestige of an old way of doing business. When we vote Clinton out of office in November we will be voting against the team that Smolan apparently wants to please.
I can even appeal to Clinton, at the last minute, to send this bill back to Congress for correction. Fundamental change could happen in 1996. It might be the year when we elect neither a Republican or a Democrat as president of the United States. If it weren't for Perot's incompetence, it might have happened in 1992. And in 1996 we have the Internet as an organizational tool.
There's still time to fix it!
Rick: please take Gore off your site until he's ready to talk about freedom. Switch background colors. And put up a blue ribbon.
The web is a positive energy space.
You're on the wrong side.
PS: If I were a photographer working on Rick's project, I would not send in my pictures until the site is corrected.
PPS: A blue ribbon done in a creative way: http://www.projectcool.com/.
PPS: The coooolest blue ribbon yet! http://www.hotwired.com/.