Newmedia on Thu, 22 Jun 2000 18:07:00 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Re: <.nettime> The role of model citizenz or the role of the Netizen


Ya gotta be careful when you throw around these goofy notions of history . . .

> The citizen of the french revolution was a force challenging the 
>  old.

The French "citizens" you appear to be speaking about were very fond of 
calling each other by ROMAN names (not exactly "new"?) . . . and they were 
mostly motivated by fear, hunger, greed and blood-lust (if not to mention 
wine, sex and magic) NOT any sort of attack on the "old."  (See Otto Scott's 
"Robespierre: The Voice of Virtue" for a primer on all this . . .)

Indeed, by the time the whole idea of "citizens" came about, France had 
already been ruled by thoroughly "new" and popularly elected "Assemblies" for 
many years . . . which were overthrown because they were deemed not 
"revolutionary" enough by the Jacobins who successively "purged" (i.e. 
killed) their opponents as they sought absolute control.

The "law" which ushered in the usage of the term "Citoyen(ne)" -- and thereby 
out-lawed the use of "Monsieur" -- was a part of a remarkable effort to 
dictate the words which could be used, very possibly "new" in its scope and 
impact but certainly totalitarian in its effort to control thought by 
controlling language.  

One of the first usages of this notion was to require "citizens" to carry 
"Certificates of Good Citizenship" -- ideological ID-cards -- which were 
primarily used to make the round-up of the thousands who were slaughtered 
even more efficient.  It was at this time that the famous "revolutionary" 
slogan was amended to "Liberty, Fraternity, Equality -- or Death."
>  The netizen of the Internet revolution is a force challenging
>  the old.

Since you claim authorship of "netizen" you might wish to temper your claims 
and let others get behind the term.  

If the thrust of "netizen" is to struggle against "profits," then you might 
wish to examine the millenia-old history of this particular effort.  In any 
event, it could hardly be described as "new," given its great antiquity.

>  The fascists have been trying to maintain the old.

This is just silly.  It's very clear that the appeal of the Italian 
"Fascists" was as a "revolutionary" movement.  Also, by and large, for the 
"Nazis" and the hundreds of other parallel movements worldwide at the time.  
A "revolution" of the "right," if you will, but a "revolution" by any account.

And, whatever those appeals, you can't (and no competent scholar would even 
attempt to) see these movements as anything other than throughly "modern" 
efforts to deal with the conditions of a very "modern" world.  Industrial 
mechanization, mass-media driven propaganda and eugenics are all very 20th 
century phenomena.  Right?

Ya gotta read some history if you wish to use it in your arguments . . . 
don't you know?


Mark Stahlman
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