Art for the interface's sake.
An online exhibit surveys the impact of technology on late-twentieth-century art.
Jane Austen's place in cyberspace.
What questions are on our "most complex and sophisticated minds"?
Sites of the Year
A look back at our favorite sites of 1997.
Video Gets Real
Streaming video that goes beyond entertainment.
Speaking in Tongues
AltaVista gets serious about global communication.
Weird News Is Good News
How our eccentricities can bring us together.
Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't.
Grave sites aren't what they used to be.
Making the eSCENE
Must fiction be print to be hip?
For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.
February 4, 1998|
As the first Chief Executive of the Internet Age, Bill Clinton has rhapsodized over the technological wonders of the World Wide Web in upbeat messages to the nation. In his recent State of the Union address, for example, he promoted universal access to the "information superhighway," and touted his interest in researching and developing a next-generation Internet thousands of times faster than the current one. Yet Clinton's relationship to the Web has been uneasy at best. It was his Administration, after all, that pushed for the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a piece of legislation so distrustful of free speech that it flirted with censorship too closely for the Supreme Court's comfort.
Clinton's ambivalence -- and his censorious impulse -- is perhaps understandable. While what one finds on the Web related to Bill Clinton may not amount to a "vast right-wing conspiracy" (to use the First Lady's memorable phrase), most of it is not exactly ... hospitable.
A quick survey of Clintonalia on the Web uncovers everything from earnest efforts to remove him from office (such as the "grass roots" Committee to Impeach the President or the John Birch Society's Impeach Clinton Now) all the way to relatively lighthearted satires of Clinton-hating conspiracy theories (among them "Bill Clinton is a marionette under the control of aliens!"). There are sites, as one might expect, devoted exclusively to individual scandals (from Whitewater: The Conspiracy of Silence and The Whitewater Weekly to the Paula Jones Legal Fund and, of course, the latest White House sensation). And there are those that try to cover entire categories of presidential sinning. It's no surprise that there are plenty of anti-Clinton Web sites coming from the right, but there are also those that have taken aim from the left. There are even sites that apparently strive for a kind of balance.
In the end, however, Clinton can at least take some comfort in knowing he's not entirely alone. The President of the United States isn't the only chief executive with global ambitions whose ambivalence toward the Web may be justifiable.
Copyright © 1998 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.