Diminishing the Intellect of Cab Drivers

Dear Anonymous,

I’m writing to respond to your comment to my blog post of last week about a taxi driver that had never heard of Google.

Here was your comment:

Anonymous anonymous said…

The Internet is an elite organisation; most of the population of the world has never even made a phone call.- Noam Chomsky

Does it make you feel good to diminish the intellect of a cab driver for not meeting your standards?

So, two things.

1. Noam Chomsky was wrong. Or at least he is now, I’m not sure when that statement was made. As of 2007, half the population of the planet own a mobile phone (you can read more about it here), and billions more have used one (or a landline). Furthermore, the digital divide in Australia has all but ceased to exist. Some people may choose not to use computers, but almost everyone in Australia has access to one, if not at home then at schools or public libraries.

And this wasn’t the deepest depths of the outback. This was Launceston. A city. I visited a few of the public libraries in Launceston, and I assure you they had plenty of free computer terminals. With Google and everything.

The cab driver wasn’t stupid. He seemed to have a pretty good grasp of the taxi’s GPS (which is, in fact, a computer, but I didn’t really want to get into that), and could hold his end of the conversation. But he was anti-intellectual, racist and narrow-minded (I won’t repeat the things he said about the Indian family that had recently moved in near him – but they were unsavoury). That wasn’t what the post was about. Which brings me to…

2. You’re the one who inferred that my post was about “diminishing intellect”. It wasn’t. The anecdote was about how all adults who don’t know anything about children’s literature automatically and instantly compare all childrens/YA authors with Harry Potter. Even people who have never heard of Google still know about Harry Potter. And still think it’s okay to imply that you’re a failure because you don’t have a castle in Scotland.

Sorry I didn’t contact you in person to say these things, but you forgot to leave a name in your comment. But if you have any further questions/comments, you can either leave them below or email me at lili AT liliwilkinson.com.

Cheers,

Lili Wilkinson

Posted at 12:46pm on 13 October 2008 • Filed under , Permanent link

One comment

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