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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I'll Fax You an Email on Perfumed Paper

I only have to look back 12 years (same age as a decent bottle of Scotch) to remember that I used to send regular letters by “air mail” to my friends around the world. It took two to three weeks for a letter to travel from Syria to the US or Europe then. By the time I got a reply, a month would’ve elapsed. If I wrote more often to the same person, I and she would get confused and can’t quite figure out what the hell we’re talking about in any one particular letter. I used to wait for the damn 36 exp. film roll to finish before I could stick one or two pictures out of the bunch in the envelope. Sometimes a roll of film would linger in my camera for a couple of months if not more. There were people who even wrote on perfumed paper, although I didn’t do that for fear of being considered a fruitcake. It was romantic, so they say.

Then came the fax machine, and everyone thought WOW, how ingenious! This was what millions have been waiting for, in business particularly. I was never really impressed by this finicky device, although I still have the same one barely five feet to my left. It was such a relief for me when I learned that a rudimentary fax machine was invented just a couple of weeks before Bell patented his telephone. The German inventor didn’t bother apply for a patent, because he rightly thought that the telephone would render his gadget useless. If I had to pay for a couple of minutes of international fare to send a piece of paper, I’d rather talk for that brief time and listen to the voice of those far away. Of course, I was not a businessman and I would never be. Faxing documents across the globe never had a profit potential as far as I was concerned.

Then came the PC and the technology that eventually lead to the Internet. Now that was one hell of a breakthrough. I email my friends on a daily basis. I bombard you with posts on this blog every 3 to 4 days. Digital pictures leave and arrive at my desktop by the dozen. I haven’t gone into a photo lab for ages, except to buy a frame to display one particular digital shot that was worth printing on my photo printer and eventually was worth being framed. Was it really more romantic? Ah, I really don’t know. But, what I wouldn’t give to be young and foolish again in the age of the Internet. One of my best talents is bullshitting and people like me strive on the net. All the hot babes I could’ve eventually met through chat rooms after impressing on them that I was some special kind of guy. That opportunity lost forever.

As for the negative aspects of this (relatively speaking) new means of communications, I personally don’t think it’s worth the HTML code to write about it. Sure there are “hate” assholes, child molesters, terrorists, Bush morons and devil worshipers on the net but they’ve always been around. Now they have the same technology as everybody else and they’re taking advantage of it. I have not yet been forced to visit their sites or to read about them. “Legitimate” businesses are the ones getting on my nerves with their “legal” advertisement. I wonder if a twist of fate somewhere in our modern history would’ve not caused these businesses to be considered worse than terrorists. What if communism had prevailed! A sobering thought, isn’t it?

So we are netizens, whatever that may be. I don’t see our salvation in this new citizenship. The poor are still getting poorer and you all know about the rich. What concerns me most as an individual is that I have better access to information and more importantly to my friends. I have never considered the prevalent media as objective in its coverage of world news. Being able to access smaller news organizations, less privileged groups and less vocal mouths around the globe is very satisfying due to the somehow subdued balancing effect they are helping to create. When Fox News or CNN talk about a bad guy now and I feel that my intelligence is being insulted, I can check out what the bad guy himself has to say about it. No better place to do so than on al-Jazira. I can doubt them all, I can ignore them, or if I so choose, I can have my own presence on the net and fight them with words and images. Being a peace-loving person, I can only say that I’m very happy that “almost” everyone has a chance to speak out. There’s no guarantee that anyone would listen, mind you, but it is a step in the right direction. I strongly believe that one day, the less privileged people of the world will rejoice while those who invented this out of control spider web might regret the very day it was conceived. For better, for worse, there are millions of them.

The ants are coming, step out of the way.

9 comments:

I love Munich said...

When I first flew over the headline I stopped and thought, something's wrong here - re-read .. and laughed!
Yes, I think you're right with your analysis - I agree wholeheartedly! To speak out and make one's voice heard should NOT be a privilege of the better-to-do and rich only, it's a God-given right of everyone.
I loved the part of FOX News and CNN - and your insulted intelligence ... sooooo true even though I'd leave it in this sequence.
Keep on bombarding us Abufares ... it's the ONLY kind of bombardement I cherish and always look forward to!! :=)

abufares said...

thank you karin for reading me even in moments of mental draught.
i have always loved writing. with pen or on a keyboard it's all the same. i like the added advantage of speed, of a live exchange not through voice, although it's very important, but through the written word.

I love Munich said...

You are making me smile ... if THIS you call your "mental drought", I am convinced your most brilliant moments are an absolute triumph of literature, well worthy of the attribute "summa cum laude"!

You are right about the advantage of speed and live exchange of the written word - I feel just the same!

abufares said...

Some of my posts do not really mean much to me. This is one of them. I don't post everything I write. There are a few pieces I wrote but never posted which I tremendously like. There are others not worth a crap.
I hate to write something I don't enjoy readind myself. If I'm not my first critic, then I'm in deep trouble.

I love Munich said...

All I can respond here is ... I thoroughly enjoy your topics - and absolutely LOVE your writing-style! In other words ... I have a GREAT time reading your blog!

Why don't you post the pieces you tremendously like? Go ahead ... !!

abufares said...

OK Karin
I will, I promise, all in due time.

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Zee said...

Very good summary - even though I must admit that I actually used Fax in the 90's extensively ...
But your conclusions of your article are "right on".

abufares said...

Thank you Zee for dropping by. I'm an avid reader of your blog