Tuesday, February 5, 2008

St. Vidicon and the Universe

Christopher Stasheff is the author of the Warlock Series, most of which I've read and enjoyed very much. I mention him because he created the patron saint of technology, someone I've invoked an awful lot since I started delving into computers and learning the mysterious ways of the internet. I've told my spouse that I'm going to create a niche for a statue of St. Vidicon of Cathode and I'm only half-joking. It isn't that I really believe that a mythical Saint of a religion I have no ties to is going to save my hard drive if it's bound and determine to crash, but there are just times when invoking a fictional saint makes me feel better. It also keeps me from reprogramming the delicate and complicated gadgetry with the tin-knocker's ax that I keep around. St. Vidicon keeps me sane when the internet connection goes south, when the server melts down, and when the files I just downloaded disappear into the ether without a trace. "St. Vidicon, save me from Murphy and the Imp of the Perverse*" is a mantra that is repeated with varying degrees of frequency and feeling in my computer nook. (Even as we speak the internet connection has gone cattywhompus...again. Does garlic work on Murphy or is that just vampires?)

And then there are times when I just blame my position on the Universe in general. That's when something becomes, at least in my mind, unavoidable. There are details about blogs and blog traffic and blog etiquette that I figured I'd never really need to know. No one reads this thing except for a few of my nearest and dearest friends. I have no need to go out and drag traffic back to my blog; there is no inner exhibitionist in my soul screaming LOOK AT ME! in ultra-shrill tones. My friends know where to find me and I'm cool just hanging out here in my own microscopic corner of the web. But the Universe just knocked and I'm going to pay attention because...well, because I'm peeved. All right, I'm far beyond peeved, this emotion goes all the way into immediate white-hot outrage. Deborah Markus, who runs The Secular Homeschooling Magazine, had one of her pieces stolen. When the thief was confronted about it he basically shrugged and said that it was making too much money for him to give it back. My first reaction was immediate and visceral and completely unprintable. My second reaction was to do exactly what she has asked of her audience, and that is to link to her blogpost "I'd Rather Be Hated Than Used". I'm also going to link to the original
Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List, because I like it and you deserve to know who authored it. Then I'm going listen to the universe when it tells me it's time to learn about trackbacks, Fark, Stumble Upon, Digg, Boing Boing, and any other place that serves such functions, and whatever else it takes to get the word out about this situation. Just because someone can be a thief doesn't mean they should be a thief, or that it's at all advisable to steal.

It has been pointed out by wiser brains than mine that the internet is still very much in the Wild, Wild West phase of its existence. Laws may or may not exist to cover all contingencies and even when they do, they cannot always be invoked effectively. However, where lawlessness is rampant
reputation is everything. Which is a long-winded way of saying that what goes around, comes around and it's likely to be a bitter meal. Go Forth, Gentle Reader, and Spread the Word. I'm going to be digging under the couch for the subscription money.

Hat tip to Tammy at Just Enough, and Nothing More for the heads-up.

*The Warlock Unlocked

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