Wednesday, June 29, 2005

  Why Tycho owes no one an apology

Recently, Scott McCloud completed his internet theory of everything. Corollary to this is the apparent fact that anyone who speaks ill of him or his cronies is obviously an establishment ass. It's funny to me how Mr. McCloud could be so right but for all the wrong reasons. As you may or may not know, Mr. McCloud is the father of the stillborn concept of micropayments. A system of paid access to internet content guaranteed to make us all rich solely with the contents of our respective sofa cushions. The problem is, no matter how I view his plan, it amounts to a form of defacto zero-sum income redistribution. The end result would be that we'd all pay each other our sofa change - and in the end all have the same amount of sofa change. It's like a micro pyramid scheme.

What actually happened in the world of open internet art and comics was that those with the will and determination found ways of bending more conventional means of commerce to their their will. As such, many folks find themselves earning a living with their sites without having to invent new forms of fractional commerce.

But in all this silliness, Mr. McCloud missed what has to be the ultimate point to this often tiresome exercise. The entire purpose of this internet mechanism you kids are so crazy about is free expression. It's access to ideas, albeit often ill informed and apocryphal, but ideas nonetheless. The freedom for Gabe and Tycho to rib, jab or insult the makers of an antique documentary about webcomics created in the year of our lord 2002 is the very crux of the biscuit.

Tricking an easy mark out of their money one quarter at a time seems somewhat less honorable pursuit by comparison.

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