Wednesday, July 23, 2008

McCain and computers

I don't know about you but I was really concerned when John McCain admitted to not knowing how to use a computer. The last thing we need is another incurious president. Mark Morford thinks so too in an article entitled "John McCain, Please Log On". Here's a bit of it:

But here’s the disturbing part: This confession of ignorance apparently bothers him and his campaign not at all, as they apparently believe any sort of tech know-how isn’t really required to run our deeply busted-up ship of state, that you need no real firsthand experience with the most definitive technology of the past 100 years to make decisions that affect the entire planet. Go figure.

So then, the valid question: Is it a big deal? Should you care? Because McCain’s I’m-just-a-clueless-old-guy comment has caused a bit a stir, with anyone with a functioning DSL line calling it a bit of an embarrassment, a bit like running for captain of the swim team while admitting all you know how to do is splash around in the bathtub. Gosh, Senator, don’t you think you need just a passing understanding of the culture in which you live to qualify you to oversee the damnable place? Doesn’t it help?

Maybe not. Maybe McCain’s apologists are right, the POTUS really doesn’t need to have a working knowledge of what hundreds of millions of people use every day to live, work, communicate, shop and blog and breed and porn and tube and book. Hell, just look at President Bush - still giggles every time Laura plugs in the air popcorn popper, has an Irish drinking song as a ringtone, enjoys a working grasp of the English language that borders on infantile. Really, who says a president has to be even modestly versed in the culture of his or her day? Or even passably competent?

But then, that’s not really the point, is it? The point, of course, is about social interconnection. It’s about understanding the basic workings of one of the most powerful, fundamental engines of modern society, its staggering impact and consequence and reach. To not use or comprehend computers and the Net in 2008 is to basically confess to your own cultural irrelevance.

Okay. I guess he hasn't learned because he never had to. But how could a normal person living today not want to?

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