History salutes Doc Benway
Updated: August 8, 2012 - 12:11 PM
Cool and cloudy; August is having second thoughts, it seems. Wait, no - there’s the sun. Hold on . . . going away again. Okay, one of those. Pity people at the beach today!
You’re not pitying them at all, are you. Understandable.
BURNING QUESTION Is Facebook “Like” considered free speech? Facebook says it is:
Facebook is supporting the court appeal of a deputy sheriff who lost his job after he ‘Liked’ the Facebook campaign page of his boss’s rival. The case is helping to define the extent of free speech rights in the age of social media.
The Virginia man at center of the case, Daniel Ray Carter, clicked to “Like” the “Jim Adams for Hampton Sheriff” page in 2009. The incumbent sheriff learned of his subordinate’s “Like” for his opponent and fired Carter shortly after he won re-election.
Ordinarily, it is against the law to terminate employees for their political opinions. When Carter sued, however, a Virginia judge ruled in April that, unlike writing a message on Facebook, the act of clicking a “Like” did not amount to speech worthy of First Amendment protection.
Facebook is disputing it. By the way, I don’t think I’ve ever liked anything on Facebook. Maybe Life cereal.
Did you know he died in Vietnam from eating PopRocks with Coca-Cola? True story.
NET HISTORY Neatorama, for some reason, has a piece on the first BBS and “online troll.” It was a teletype machine in a coffeehouse; people could send messages. To modern eyes it’s as cumbersome and archaic as using the headlights of tractors to blink morse code, but it was pretty cool at the time. Here’s a post by the guy they call the first troll:
DOC BENWAY HERE .........NURSE. SLIP ME ANOTHER AMPULE OF LAUDANUM ...........RECOLLECT ONCE ME CLEM CLONE WAS CHEWN YOHIMBE BARK OUT BACK OF JODY’S ALL-NIGHT PET SHOP NOT A FINER MAN IN THIS WHOLE ZONE THAN OL’ CLEM ‘N JODY CLONE
And so on. The full historical document is here. Doc Benway was a fake name, taken from a “Naked Lunch” character. Wouldn’t call him a troll - first “net personality” is more accurate. Very late 60s, that; has the sound of a rejected “Firesign Theater” script, or something from an underground comic, with the tone of something old ‘n’ folksy retrofitted with drug references. I've absolutely no way to prove this, but I believe I know where it first began: the letters to the editor in 40s and 50s sci-fi pulp magazines. I'd bet money Doc Benway wrote a few letters jesting about BEMs.
By the way, that early computer network? From the historical documents:
Maybe Doc Benway - the first internet personality - was in Minneapolis.
CRIME NEWS “A total of 375 feet of vinyl was swiped.” Copper I can understand. But vinyl swimming pool stripes? There’s a black market for that now? Maybe this is what happens when they take away the stripes: throws off your depth perception.
However the rest of your day goes, it's better than his.
This post is from the Lileks @ Lunch blog
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