The effect of social networks on the rapid spread of civilians across the Arab world undoing political dynasties was succinctly summarised by Guardian journalist Peter Beaumont, who was in the centre of the inferno as it raged in Tunisia. ‘The barricades today do not bristle with bayonets and rifles, but with phones.’ This increased interconnectedness is also preventing Wars. A video emerged on YouTube in Turkey of an alleged phone conversation between the deputy head of the armed forces and the intelligence chief, planning to launch a false flag operation inside of Syria, to invoke a casus belli that would justify Turkish intervention in the Syrian Civil War.
The attempts being made to curtail this democratic surveillance on powerful figures is already being curtailed at the time of writing. In the United States, the home and base of operations of the world’s largest social networking sites and other internet apparel which we have all become accustomed to, a bill has been given the nod of approval which would allow American Internet providers to make more lanes on the Internet highway available for companies willing to pay the extra price. Netflix videos for instance would load faster, as it buys up more lanes for all its extra traffic.
Under the old rules, a Turkish American immigrant dissatisfied with the state of news media could set up the world’s most watched online news outlet, The Young Turks, without having to worry if his stories aren’t liked by the Internet providers and their owners. A student at Harvard could set up a social networking site for his friends called The Facebook, without worrying to pay to get equal treatment with then giant MySpace. With the new proposed rules the age of free markets on the Internet could effectively be over. It would leave future generations, who will hopefully be more interested in these issues than the inner dynamics of the Beyoncé household, with fewer and less relevant means of interaction and cultural enrichment without knowing the reason for the lack of new innovations and stunted political environment that surrounds them to begin with.
A recently published study conducted by professors at Princeton and Northwestern Universities looked at the influence the American public have on policy outcomes. After studying 1,779 policy issues from 1981-2002 and the opinions of the majority of people on those issues compared with the opinion of business elites, they concluded ‘the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy'. If elites want to kill the even playing field on the internet, then all they have to do is ask.
The institutional failures of a tired and corrupt system are beginning to show in the media also. Take for instance the recently determined fact the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet is melting at an unstoppable rate, which will cause a 10-foot rise in global sea levels. The projected number of people that will need to be relocated in New York City alone is almost 1 million. Less developed regions of the world will be less fortunate. The President of CNN came out to explain his network’s lack of coverage of such climate change stories, citing the ‘lack of interest’, or ratings, amongst the audience. This coming from a network which brought on guests to discuss whether supernatural events caused the disappearance of flight MH370, to capitalise on the 100% ratings surge it pulled in out of the tragedy turned reality TV show. To assume a global reckoning doesn’t quite cut the mustard amongst the audience is absurd. Another more likely reason why establishment news outlets won’t give real stories the weight they deserve, in the words of Daniel Simpson, a former foreign correspondent at the New York Times, is because ‘the “news fit to print” was pretty much the news that's fit to serve the powerful… in fact, it's their job to become their friends’, friends of other giant corporations who need to side-line the issue.
This complete lack of attention and care displayed towards the planet as we alter its equilibrium is taking an ironic twist. We dump so much of our waste into the oceans – that sustains our existence - without a second thought, that for a while scientists were unsure where all that waste was going. A recently published scientific study has found the waste could circumnavigate in the oceans, before ending frozen up in the ice sheets of the Arctic, which unbeknownst to us was acting as a global sink. Because we're melting the ice through greenhouse emissions, the melting Arctic ice is about to take a dump to the tune of trillions of pieces of plastic back into the oceans, effectively flushing the toilet back on us. We needed to wash our moral compasses and retrieve our binocular vision, but the way nature is poetically flushing the toilet on us whilst we are instead diverted to consumerism and news about Solange, is quite revealing to where we are and where we’re heading as a species; nicely summarised by a Cambridge theologian:
‘Modernity: making love in the middle of an earthquake’ – Sheikh Abdul Hakim Murad