Gus' Editorial 10

By Gus Donnachaidh

Originally published in EUG #23


This EUG is rather late and the reason is that I was holding it back in hope of more contributions. I was promised some games by Ross Little, which were held up by disk troubles and without them, the disk would really have only contained letters and the HeadFirst PD stuff (which I think many readers may have purchased direct recently). Richard Dimond has put some other things together for us.

If I sound like a Headmaster, it's because I've just been watching the film "Clockwise" on TV and had a chuckle where John Cleese addresses the distinguished gentlemen of the Headmasters' conference.

Previously I have put everything I've been sent into the next EUG. This was why EUG #21 was so large. It has now been suggested that I should hold some submissions over when the magazine reaches a certain size. I have done this in the past if I considered the submissions not to be very good. Believe me, some were awful! (Tact, Gus, tact!)

Ross Little, who has sent in so much in the past, won't be able to continue for the time being so it's over to everybody else. As I've said time and time again, if you send something in, others will as well. It really does work. But without your submissions, however small, there will be no EUG. I can only ever put in what is sent.

So send it in!


There is a new science-fiction series on TV. It is on Sky One so many readers may not have seen it. It's called "Earth 2", made in America. Now so much that comes from America does seem so wooden. Star Trek The Next Generation is a good example; great filming, production, effects and perhaps plot but let down by some mediocre one-dimensional acting and terrible scripts. It's a recurring problem with American film and TV. They seem to spoil good plots with poor scripts.

"Earth 2" is different. There are some examples of American wishful thinking but for the most part there is great acting, interesting characters who have different sides to their personalities, a good plot and excellent scripts. My wife, who needs a lot to catch her interest, really enjoys it. If you haven't seen it yet I would advise you not to until it is repeated on BBC2. Missing one episode will make it extremely difficult to understand what is happening.

A recent decision by a court official in Germany about some material on the Internet has resulted in the Internet company CompuServe removing a section from the worldwide network. It seems that CompuServe is unable to prevent access of part of the Internet for just one country and, if it had not taken this action, then it was threatened with having the Internet totally shut out of Germany.

This is a disgraceful situation. CompuServe should have stood their ground but instead have relented to government pressure and censored free access to information albeit rather offensive information. It has also raised the spectre of developing software to prevent access to just one region. Already Singapore is apparently in conflict with Internet because it contains material about such offensive topics as free speech; Iran has closed down the Internet there because it contains 'Western Cultural Values'.

For centuries, governments have tried to keep the governed apart from their neighbours by manipulating language, instituting superstition and calling it religion, spreading fear and lies and national arrogance. The Internet has opened the possibility of breaking down these barriers once and for all. Allowing people to speak to each other and discover that their neighbours are in fact just like them, with the same hopes and fears, needs and wishes and loves and hates. We differ only in where we live, the language we speak and perhaps the colour of our skin. In every other way the mother in Bosnia, the father in Rowanda, the grandfather in Tibet, the grandmother in South America, the uncle in North America and the aunt in France is the same as the rest of us. The Internet has turned on the light to allow us to see this. Now the Internet itself has agreed to dim that light.

The strength of the Internet is twofold; it is a virtually uncensored medium for communication backed by a commercial value which will eventually make it impossible for any government to shut it out. The inability to prevent access to some sections of the Internet in certain regions was reported almost as a flaw. It is not a flaw but a strength, take all of it or none. Pornography is generally accepted as being offensive to many people but it is a reality because some people want to see it. I have been in countries where pornography of any kind is banned yet the demand and the pornography are still there. The only way to censor pornography on the Internet is to censor the Internet itself.

In the past, people were told "Don't mix with your neighbours because they are in league with the Devil and will steal your soul" or "Don't mix with your neighbours because they eat babies" or "Your neighbours are sub-human" or "Your neighbours are brainwashed and will brainwash you". Now the light of technology is being dimmed by the panic of sexual deviancy.

The sad thing is there is really nothing that we can do about it. Those of us who are capable of thinking will be silenced by the threat of social castigation and ridicule.

So why has CompuServe caved in? The truth is, when it comes to governments, fragile at best but an assumption might be that business which made the Internet so successful has decided that opportunity is being lost and that free speech where it doesn't relate to business is not their concern.

This is indeed a sad day for the common people of the world and the narrow-minded sovereigns of our lives will sleep soundly knowing that their spheres of local influence are once again safe from the threat of revelation or truth.

Another year is over, I'm no longer nearer forty than I would like and EUG is still going strong.

Gus Donnachaidh, EUG #23