If you don’t know what Usenet is, well, you’re probably better off, but in its day it was, shall we say, the battlefield for the “First War in Cyberspace.”
Cuomo, New York’s attorney general, got outfits like Time Warner to drop Usenet access from their internet services because Cuomo discovered that out of tens of thousands of newsgroups, covering every kind of politics to every kind of coffee drinker, there were groups carrying child pornography. The elimination of Usenet by many providers passed in the night without much comment. (Why child pornography was deemed more daunting to deal with on Usenet than on the world wide web was never made clear.)
Usenet was, from the point of view of politics, a free-for-all bar-fight hockey match. Beck and Soja and I often skated on the same line, though fights among teammates were not unknown, and those were the most brutal.
But this is the this referred to in the header of this post. It’s writer Andrew Klavan’s perfect take on the worldwide attack by the Left on what they don’t want to hear. It makes me wonder again about the assault on Usenet by Cuomo.
Needless to say, the Clintons were chief among those demolished on Usenet at its peak, and with their long memory, and Cuomo’s status as one of their political factotums, there is reason to cast a cold eye on Cuomo’s bizarre intimidation of the internet providers. Why, for instance, not just ask the internet providers to drop any newsgroup that carried the pornography? Why force them to dump an entire universe of interests to spite a cluster of rotten asteroids?
Usenet political groups were never kind to Hillary. Nor can I imagine them being particularly generous toward Obama. Anti-Bush fervor also swept through them. The connection between Cuomo and the Clintons is clear, however, and in the mid-90s the Clintons were declared early to be “roadkill on the information superhighway.” That was a reference to Usenet.