Death To The Gatekeepers

It started not so long ago, if you can believe it.

The rise of the gatekeepers.

Gatekeepers are self-designated businesses, media outlets, and people, that have positioned themselves to only allow what they deem worthy to get out to the general public.

When television was invented, there were only a few channels to entertain us.  They became these default gatekeepers to what was going to stream into our minds from our living rooms.

Even worse, only the advertisers that could afford to be on TV would pay the big bucks to get the word out about their products.

Then, of course, there was the rise of big newspapers controlling what we read and how it was written.  Editors had enormous influence over an entire nation’s way of thinking.  Sure, there were choices, but the choices were limited, and less choice meant more powers to the gatekeepers.

You know all those dystopian books and movies where people are being brainwashed into thinking or acting a certain way?  Well, we didn’t realize it, but that dystopia was being built brick by brick over the last seventy years.

That world reached a head in the nineties when practically every corporation was buying out every other business, expanding beyond reason.  The more combinations that were created, the more power the gatekeepers had, and the more power the gatekeepers had, the stupider we all got.  We became fascinated with the trivial, from the minutia of the lives of celebrities to fighting over our loyalty to big brands (think Nike vs. Reebok, Coke vs. Pepsi).

But underneath it all, something was changing.  No one knew it at first, but the destruction of the gatekeepers was flying like a freight train right at the BS world America had created for itself.

That freight train was called the internet.

It came to many, at first, in the form of a CD-Rom that said, “AOL” on it.  We got about twenty of these a week.  Eventually, we tried it out.  Seemed fun.

Little did we know what was coming.

You’d sign on, you’d hear the beeps of the phone connection, and then you’d hear that beautiful voice saying, “You’ve got mail!”

And the next thing you knew, even in those early days, you were in a world full of choice.  Full of possibility.  You’d type in a website or a keyword, and you’d access a wealth of information of entertainment.

And the best part: it was all up to you.  There were no gatekeepers.  There was no ABC or New York Times forcing you to witness the abominations they created, no advertisers forcing things down your throat.  If a pop-up attacked, you’d just go to another site.  If something wasn’t entertaining, you’d move on to the wealth of other options.

The irony was that right when AOL had taken over the world, right when everyone was using it, the idiot in charge of it thought his job was to become a gatekeeper.  He thought the internet was just another tool to use and exploit people’s minds.  So he bought Time Warner, one of the biggest gatekeepers in the world.

If you don’t think this was a part of the International Gatekeeper Agenda, think again.  This was a recognition of the fact that the biggest provider of the now-biggest world of entertainment and information, now needed to become a controller of minds, a holder of spirits.  A gatekeeper.

But the beauty of the nature of the internet is that the moment someone tries to become a gatekeeper, the moment a person is more interested in controlling you than in providing something of worth, he begins to die.

And so it happened with AOL.  People moved on.

Because what AOL didn’t realize at the time is that, in the age of the internet, a gatekeeper that doesn’t give the people what they want dies.

Since then, gatekeepers have been falling one by one.  From media companies, who are in the worst place in ages, to the music industry that took down Napster bought brought itself down with it, to the banks, the ultimate gatekeepers of wealth, and ultimate users of the masses.

Of course, everyone from the government to the oil companies to the biggest CEOs have been fighting the change.  We’ve seen more and more legislation being pushed that would keep the gatekeepers in charge.  The government bailed out the banks, telling us that without the bailouts the economy would collapse.  Spreading the myth that America needs gatekeepers.  The truth is that the government, just like in any good dystopian novel, was just helping out their bedfellows.

But the beauty of the world is that it’s not naturally dystopian.  It’s a utopia waiting to happen.

And the internet has revealed that.  It has become the ultimate meritocracy.

Do you think it’s any wonder that celebrities have become less and less important to us?  That having a big name in a movie no longer guarantees success?  We aren’t being fed myths to make us idolize these mere mortals anymore.

Do you think it’s any wonder that there’s really no such thing as a “hit” song anymore? There’s no radio or degenerate MTV forcing us to listen to the garbage they play.

Blogs, independent entertainment companies, startups… these are a hint of the future.  Slowly taking down and killing the Goliaths of the world and replacing them with countless Davids.

In other words, the power has been put back in the hands of the people.

And yes, creating a world online where “hits” are so valued can create an environment where you have Buzzfeeds and Upworthies manipulating our emotions with their headlines in order to get a few hits.  But, they will fall one day too unless they realize that their strategies are all based on short term gains.

We are leaving a dystopia, and we have the potential to tap into the ultimate utopia.  But we have to work together to make it happen.  We have to kill the gatekeepers, the manipulators, the controllers.  Only let Big Guys live if they serve our interests, if they are giving value to the world.

And, most importantly, create our own value.  Use the internet to reach the world’s potential.  Use our own individual powers, now outsized in a world where anyone can reach millions, to make the world what we know it can be: a world of ultimate truth and value.





2 responses to “Death To The Gatekeepers”

  1. Ruhina Avatar

    I love this post for its difference to a lot of the other, religious blog standpoints (our society will and always be completely corrupted). In my opinion, the most obvious question is, can our society ever be an ultimate utopia, which the answer is no. I guess it depends what religion someone is, but ultimately the perfect utopia is paradise, or their version of the good side of the afterlife. Will our world get closer to that utopia? Maybe, yes, if we try, as you propose. But as long as we have those little utopia’s that we’ve tapped into, there will be polar opposites, parts of the world so hidden, so full of these gatekeepers (ex. North Korea). The world will never be perfect or imperfect, good or bad. If you were living in the Roaring 20’s, then things seemed like they were on the uprise forever, but then came the depression and World War II, the holocaust and the Soviet Union. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, our efforts can only reach so far, and the future is mostly based on things that are out of our control. But, granted that, we can also point to many places in history where the little parts that we can change, the things you are talking about, have made and are currently making a massive and awesome impact, more than these so-called gatekeepers ever expected.

  2. Joseph Biener Avatar
    Joseph Biener

    I have become a fan of your blog over the past couple of months, but you have missed the boat on this one. The gatekeepers are not always evil, and “the people” are not always good. The world of the gatekeepers was not as dystopian as you portray and world of the Internet of just as far from utopia as was the past if not more so.

    In the past, it is true we had more limited choices than we do now, but having infinite choice is not an improvement. What has become evident is that the cream doesn’t naturally rise to the top. It only rises to the top with a concerted marketing effort, a lot of exposure and a great deal of luck. The noise drowns out the voices of quality unless someone is working very hard to get the word out.

    What the Internet has done is to give everyone a megaphone. When everyone is yelling at the same volume the result is cacophony, not harmony. It has also made fact and fiction nearly indistinguishable. It has proven Mark Twain’s adage that, “a lie can make it halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on.”

    The Internet has not changed human nature. If anything, we have brought dystopia with us to the Internet. For every success story there are countless examples of absolute travesties that have been perpetrated by those exploiting the openness of the Internet. Between identity theft, fraud and the wholesale piracy of intellectual property, the damage has been devastating to many, many people who have innocently ventured into cyberspace.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a big proponent of the Internet, but I think you are being naive in your characterization of how it operates in reality. Idealism is a fine thing, but too much and you can end up as roadkill on what they used to call the information superhighway.

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