Why I don't Web, the emotional basis

I bruised my hand today.

What's this got to do with my not Webbing? Stick with me and we'll get there.

At work, I am one of the primary people working with our VoI system. Today I got a request to work with a particular cordless phone (it uses wifi to speak to the world and then speaks SIP over that).

So, I unpacked it. It came with just about no documentation, barely enough to tell me how to connect the battery (which was blindingly obvious anyway). I'm not sure it even told me how to turn it on. It definitely did not explain how to configure the wifi, much less how to set the SIP authorization data.

This turned out to be because there was something missing from the package I was given. However, that something was a single sheet of paper on which the only useful datum was a Web URL. The idiots apparently consider it reasonable to require that I not only have live Internet connectivity but that I have a Web browser, in order to even minimally configure the damned thing. (Planned obsolescence at its best; the company can break all such phones at will by taking down that page, and of course it becomes completely hopeless if the company explodes. Okay, not break immediately, but break as soon as anyone wants to reconfigure them, which in the long term is pretty close to the same thing.)

Upon seeing this, my frustration at this whole "the Web is a suitable interface to anything for anyone" culture flared and I punched the nearest door. Hard; I didn't hold back, because I knew it was a metal door and could probably take far more than I could dish out without even noticing. As I swung, my rational mind pointed out I could break my hand. I didn't give even the slightest damn. I then punched a chair, which was actually substantially safer, since it was upholstered, much less rigid, and much more able to move.

That drained the emotion enough that I was able to regain some semblance of rationality. I now have slightly bruised knuckles; I've satisfied myself it's nothing worse than that.

I recounted this on an IRC channel I hang out on. One of the people there told me, in so many words, I was being unreasonable.

I've understood it intellectually for quite a while; I now begin to understand emotionally why the suicide rate is so high among the Amerindian peoples. And that's with all the recognition and support they're getting. I'm getting none of that. I know of nobody, not one person, who shares my feelings on this. Not even among those who go back far enough to have been there. I'm one of the geeks who built this fucking net, and then mainstream culture waltzed in and told me-and-us "oh yes, that's ours now, we're going to ignore good engineering and pervert what you've built in any way we can, as long as it concentrates money in the hands of large corporations". And the rest of my then-colleagues have joined in. And I can't do a God-damned thing about it.

The powerlessness a conquered people feels is deadly, especially when combined with the imposition of the conquerors' culture, or more precisely the destruction of the conquereds'.

I don't know to what extent it's fair to blame the Web for the invasion. It might have actually been responsible, or it might have been simply a convenient thing to seize on. But it has been seized on and thus has become, quite aside from the technical disaster it is, a very clear symbol of the imposition of the invaders' culture and the crushing of my culture.

And that, I think, is actually the major basis of my belligerence and hatred towards it.

I told you we'd get there.