I like to think that I use the internet, but don’t indulge in it. Not strictly true. I have been known to pig out on YouTube. And the attention I pay to Google News ranges beyond utility into indulgence.
But, just as in a love/hate relationship love is the default emotion, in a hate/love relationship, like my ambivalence toward the internet, hatred is the bottom line.
Sometimes I have the fantasy (talking about indulging oneself) that I win $5 million in the lottery (pure fantasy, since I never buy lottery tickets) and find a bored 14-year-old in Riga, or a Russian ex-con in Brighton Beach, a Wikileaks nihilist, or a 30-year old adolescent in Silicone Valley who owes millions to a Mexican cartel after his entire stock of cocaine, which he was supposed to retail to other 30-year-old adolescents, went up his nose to give him the get-up-and-go to come out tops in the corporate ping-pong tournament, who, for $5 million, would shut it all down - all of it – would press a key and fry every server on earth, scramble every satellite algorithm.
Would it be that hard to do? What about a virus with a program that turned every “1” into a “0”? That doesn’t sound so difficult, and it would do the trick.
Sure, I’d miss it: e-mail, especially; Google Search, too – although when I use Google Search I can’t overcome a twinge of, somehow, cheating.
But if it really were to happen – and, my fantasy aside, a catastrophic sabotaging of the internet is not all that improbable – I would break open a celebratory bottle of Champagne, put on the Rolling Stones (if the power had not already gone out), and wear myself out in a dance of thanksgiving. Then I would go and look out my window.
Outside my window would be a new world – fresh, clean, and ours again.