Monday, August 22, 2011


It appears that, according to various news reports, the government of Libya is mere minutes away from collapsing. If Kad'dafy (hey, if the media can spell it 100 different ways, I can spell it with as many Ks, Qs, apostrophes, and silent Xs I so desire) reads like the Russian novel of tinpot Middle Eastern dictators, his regime is mere Tweets away from crumbling.

Wow, Prince has certainly let himself go.

I'll admit to being amazed how big a part social media has been in toppling these Middle Eastern and African authoritative governments. It harkens back to the heady days of the "fax revolution," notably during the Tienanmen Square rebellion in China; new yet cheap technology has always been adopted easier by the cash-strapped rebels who tend to be younger and headed by firebrand intellectuals, positive breeding grounds for audio cassette tapes, text messaging, and Facebook, all of which are said to have helped the rebels in Iran, the Philippines, and Egypt, respectively.

Still, let the social media elites beware. The power you harness can spark domestic criminal flash mobs, just as the government can find ways to completely block out your signal. Quardafff'ffi probably has to worry more about anti-aircraft fire than BART, but the next despot may be restocking his toolbox.

And it makes me a little sad. When I was in college, I was always slightly sad that I was born to late--oh, how I would have loved to have been in Germany in 1989, helping the tear down the Berlin Wall. Or visit one of the "safe" commie countries, to provide a wink and a nod as an American Capitalism Ambassador of Everything Is Going To Be OK-Ness. Sure, hindsight is useful--I probably would have shit my pants mercilessly had I walked within the firing range of a Pershing missile while in heathen mainland Europe in 1986--but I always had romantic thoughts of being even a tiny part in the destruction of Soviet communism. Instead, I was watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoon while snacking on a Lunchable while better men than me saw to it that the Russkies ended up in the dustbin.

And so it is today. Now, of course, I'm too old; the revolutionaries had Twitter and Facebook well in hand well before I used it to complain about how long KFC was taking to get my order ready. And more power to them, quite literally.

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