[TriLUG] Fwd: [[netslaves] Don Marti's Open Letter to Michael Eisner, Head of Disney]
Kevin - The Alchemist - Sonney
Sun, 16 Sep 2001 21:04:30 -0400
From the netslaves about the SSSCA. He's got some points...
----- Forwarded message from Jay Sulzberger <firstname.lastname@example.org> -----
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2001 14:51:30 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jay Sulzberger <email@example.com>
Cc: Jay Sulzberger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [netslaves] Don Marti's Open Letter to Michael Eisner, Head of Disney
edit-level="mark-up and side stuff only touched">
Linux Journal Home > Articles > Conversations #34
Friday, September 14, 2001 | Last Updated 03:31pm
Open Letter to Michael Eisner, Chairman and CEO, Walt Disney Company
by Don Marti <email@example.com>
Open letter to Michael Eisner, Chairman and CEO, Walt Disney Company.
Dear Mr. Eisner,
I hear you're planning a trip to Washington, DC next month to close the deal
on a computer censorship bill, the SSSCA, you're buying from Congress. I'm
writing to ask you to please stay home.
I'm not asking because of concerns for your safety. All Americans are
getting back to regular work and travel, and that's the right thing to do.
But you and your bill should stay out of Washington, DC, and let our elected
representatives do their jobs.
On the morning of September 11th, I was wondering about one thing. Nothing
the mass media could spare the time to answer, though. My question was "What
happened to Jim and Ari?" They work in a building facing the World Trade
Center, and often use the subway station underneath.
In mid-morning, an internet server still chugging along on lower Broadway
passed along the answer. "I just talked to Ari. He and Jim are OK."
That was it. A few words, passed along by a freely available mail program on
an old Pentium system in the corner of an office. Words that ended up copied
many times and passed along to internet places where Jim and Ari's friends
gather. Low-budget Internet hosts you've never heard of, with names like
zork.crackmonkey.org and barley.nylug.org, running software you've never
heard of, with names like Postfix and GNU Mailman.
This isn't the flashy Internet of IPOs and Herman Miller chairs. It's the
Internet where a regular person with a couple books and a used computer can
start up a meeting, an argument, a conversation about anything. No venture
capitalists, no advertisers, no licenses, no chat room monitors--just
independent know-how, Linux Documentation Project style.
What did we learn from the low-profile Internet this week? Just little
things. Some guy went to one hospital to give blood, they sent him to
another, and everyone with type O blood please come, too. The A Train is
running, making all stops except World Trade Center. Here's a complete bus
schedule. A librarian in Indiana told the police she is keeping the library
open, so that people can get on the Internet for news of their friends and
The Ventures came out with a song called, "Be Strong America" and their
webmaster put it up as an MP3 file for free distribution. Other people
posted photos and movies of their trips by foot out of Manhattan or
Washington. Forwarded copies made the proverbial rounds as if they were
virus warnings or lawyer jokes.
The song is corny, and the news is minor, but I know from the Jim and Ari
message how much it could mean. On the evening of the 11th, President Bush
said, "These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of
American resolve." Americans knew that because, as we watched TV, our
inboxes became full of copies of copies of copies of individual stories of
The stories weren't all good news. A sister's friend and her fiancee,
missing. One of the members of someone's favorite band was working his day
job at a sky-high restaurant. Another sister was a flight attendant. And
nobody would say the Internet could help with that loss.
It wasn't accurate or eloquent. Primitive reactions spewed out, ill-informed
calls for revenge, racism, ignorance--the best I could say for some of the
hateful garbage was, well, at least this guy is just typing, instead of
breaking shop windows or worse.
It's wasn't fun and it wasn't sanitary; there can be no happy ending to this
story. But it was America.
President Bush said, "The federal government and all our agencies are
conducting business. But it is not business as usual." Mr. Eisner, please
take that as a hint. It's a mistake for any American to shut down another's
freedom to speak, whether the person being censored is editing an on-line
newspaper or just making tweaks to the software that runs the "Crackmonkey"
The SSSCA, which you are in the middle of buying from Congress, would outlaw
the software that powers the independent Internet, the Internet that had
many of us crying on our keyboards this week, from loss, relief or rage. At
times like this, a slightly cracked monkey means more to us than a perfectly
It would be shameful for you to show up at the US Capitol with a duffel bag
full of "campaign contributions" at a time like this. Paying Congress to
silence your fellow citizens, now, is not the act of a loyal American.
The SSSCA is all the more dangerous because we're a big country. I would
love to be able to say that even without the Internet, our independent radio
stations, local newspapers and town meetings would get our communicating
done. I would love to be able to say that many voices in all media brought
us news, personal appeals, debate.
But that's not what happened. Blame the price of paper, the limited radio
spectrum or our spread-out geography, but the fact is that the only
national, public voice most of us have is the Internet. Our national
conversation runs on open standards and interoperable software. Allowing it
to exist only at the pleasure of major media corporations and software
giants would turn our democracy over to unaccountable private-sector rulers.
I recognize that you just want more outlets for your movies, and the
Internet might look like TV to you at first. But you have plenty of markets
for your products--not just TV, but the multiplexes, the theme parks, the
malls. Please let Americans keep our disorderly public places, too. The
Internet is annoying, flaming and rumor-mongering, but for many of us it's
all the free speech we've got.
Mr. Eisner, please stay home.
Donald B. Marti Jr.
For more information:
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----- End forwarded message -----
-- Kevin "The Alchemist" Sonney --
-- New email : firstname.lastname@example.org --
-- http://www.darkcanvas.com/~alchemist --
-- ICQ: 4855069 AIM: ksonney --
"If you'll read the subtext for many of those old strips, you'll find
the heart of an old-fashioned Libertarian. And I'd be a Libertarian,
if they weren't all a bunch of tax-dodging professional whiners."
-- Berkley Breathed, 2001