Friday, October 9, 2009

If I Didn't Have Internet

I wouldn't be able to wake up, check in my pjs (read: in bed, on my phone, after scanning new email messages) and discover that Obama won the Nobel Peace prize while I was sleeping. In fact it would be more than an hour into the day that I would find out, when a professional acquaintance would make the comment, "Obama? Who saw that coming?"

If I didn't have internet, I would be confused by this comment and ask him what's going on. Since I don't know the acquaintance well, I might think he was a McCainster still in denial. I'd also wonder if something outrageous happened: After the defeat in Copenhagen, the president decided to lobby for a slam dunk in international affairs, like the title of Most Mulleted City for Barcelona -- when clearly Buenos Aires was the obvious choice.

My acquaintance would enlighten me. "Obama got the Nobel! For Peace!" I would say "Wow!" and be surprised. He would or would not be surprised I hadn't heard already. It would all be okay, except a lot less satisfying than finding out for myself, in the same way that it's a lot more satisfying to breathe through your own lungs and grow your own hair.

And if I didn't have internet, I wouldn't be able to email my father, who as a true conservative holds more respect for institutions and traditions than he has contempt for those feckless liberals, and gloat.
What do you think of our president now? Pretty phenomenal, right? I also like his response; it is the sign of greatness to be humbled by the faith the world has in you.
(Actually, I think Oslo is basking in the glow of the golden boy, the award is more about promise than performance, and it's kinda ironic that he should receive the prize while waging two wars, but my Dad doesn't need to know that. Not yet, at least. First, I'm curious what he'll say to the initial news.)

As a smartphone addict, I am now in the company of greatness. This has my head spinning. Would Obama have made it to the White House, have become a champion for peace, if he had gone offline? Would he have negotiated as successfully for nuclear nonproliferation if he wasn't checking his email? What if his policies emerged from the collective wisdom of his inbox?? Remember that Q&A session last spring, and even this bold move, in which "Barack Obama launched the official website for his transition to the White House today, inviting users to send in their ideas for the future of the country"?

But what-if's are a fool's game. Would Bush Jr. still have become president if he had gotten A's in college instead of C's? Would Kennedy and Clinton have become presidents if they were not philanderers? Would Washington have led the forces of change if he had not chopped down the cherry tree? Questions that are better left to historians. We internet addicts have more important things to do.

[sources for image one, image two, image three, image four]

No comments:

Post a Comment