Friday, September 28, 2007

Debunking the Goracle's Intellectual Prowess

Riffing on our previous story, wherein we take the Goracle to task for claiming to have invented the Internet:

We once used to have some respect for the debunking website, which is allegedly dedicated to busting "urban legend" myths, one of which is the story claiming that Al Gore had taken credit for "inventing" the Internet. Snopes regards this is bunk, blaming it on some poor phrasing by Gore during a CNN interview. To wit:
During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.
Snopes' Gore apologists then go on to paper over what Gore obviously meant or meant to imply: that without him, the Internet would not have come to be. Balderdash. ARPA (now DARPA), the military R&D agency had had early versions of today's Internet cooking since the late 1960s. Vint Cerf was also an important pioneer:
In 1974, Vint Cerf (known to some as the "father of the Internet"), along with Bob Kahn, wrote a new protocol, TCP (Transmission Control Protocol, that would become the accepted standard. The implementation of TCP allowed the various networks to connect into a true "internet."

The Internet became widely popular in the computer and scientific research communities. By the 1980's most universities and research-oriented institutions had computers that were connected to the Internet.

Gore made his bogus claim in 1999. Which means that, in no way did Al Gore actually "take the initiative" for creating the Internet unless he can time travel like Doctor Who. Clearly, what became the modern Internet had actaully been invented when he was in college, where he was a stunningly mediocre student busily racking up lower grades than Chimpy BushMcHitler. (More here.)

So why the hell does anybody listen to him now? Simple: they're all on the same "one world" socialist cheerleading squad. The people at Snopes need to get a clue. Unless they'd always intended to become yet another cog in the leftist propaganda mill.


vint said...

Give it a rest. Al Gore did a lot on the legislative side to help the Internet become what it is today. He pressed for funding to expand the NSFNET with the Next Generation Internet initiatives and was a key player in the legislation that permitted commecial traffic to flow on the Internet in 1992 that demonstrated that a major market for commercial Internet service existed.

I'm Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn and I both agree that Al Gore deserves credit for his role in the evolution of the Internet from its military and academic roots to its widespread civilian use, today.

Wonker said...

Dear "Vint" (if it's really you),

I actually know all this and was closer to some of it in its latter stages than you might imagine. Your observation is, in fact, largely correct, objectively speaking. But that was not my point.

If you parse the cited statement in question, it was moving in another direction, implying a more sweeping claim of personal importance, perhaps even unintentionally so. More adept verbiage might have transformed this ill-fated exchange into a non-issue after a week or two. But we have what we have, and that's why people run with it. Gore's habitual and incorrigible pomposity and condescension merely add to the enjoyment.

Politicians on either side of the aisle generally can't help this sort of thing. Gore was and is no exception. The urge to claim credit for great deeds is a strong one, particularly when one is nearing another election cycle. And the size of the fish in such stories grows ever more impressive upon each retelling.