Famous Internet pedant Dave Allen is a dick

Former Gang of Four member-turned corporate ad man-slash-Internet pundit Dave Allen takes a virtual hammer to the virtual skull of the real David Lowery, for the sin of writing this blog post about NPR intern Emily White’s blog post about why she’s okay with not paying for the music she downloads on the Internet. Which already inspired me to write this blog post.

When I read his post and noted how viciously he wrote it, and came to think that it both demeaned his ability to make rational arguments while also underscoring the vile, state-of-nature-ish behavior that defines so much of the ‘net (including the headline of this very blog post!) I posted this comment on Allen’s blog.I’m re-posting it here because why not, and also because it’s an exercise in search engine optimization, which dominates the ‘net. But first, here’s a scantily clad lady who I believe hails from Canada:
Dear Dave,

The Internet does many cool things for and to people. Arguably, making it possible to download music for free is one of them. When advertising and image design join that list you might want to revisit this topic and write about it from that end of the equation.

No matter. What I’m wondering is this: Why does the Internet make people behave, or at least present themselves, like seething dicks? This occurs to me now because your essay — which I read with great interest, by the way — overflows with scorched earth tactics that do nothing to further your argument and everything to make you seem like a digital hooligan. It also makes you seem less like someone who knows what he’s talking about, and more like a constructor/destroyer of straw enemies.

Let’s look at your own text.
David Lowery, who feels differently on this issue than you do, isn’t just incorrect. He’s also “maudlin” and “mildly talented.” Lowery’s position amounts to “constant whining.” Worse, his essay is “passive/aggressive.” If you’re using that last grenade to explode his yucky roping-in of the Chesnutt/Linkous tragedies (I agree with your disdain there, btw), then how can you justify ridiculing the musicians’ expectation of payment by waving the bloodied banner of the homeless, the unemployed and screwed-over firefighters, teachers and so on?
Does that not indict you for living the high life as what some intemperate types might call a corporate shill (love those Facebook shots from all your exotic business trips, by the way)? And don’t you feel just a little bit queasy quoting Margaret Thatcher — one of the 20th century’s great punishers of the working class — to give Lowery yet another righteous boot in the crotch?
“The Internet can not be ethical,” you write, and again, I agree with you. I bet Lowery does, too: he’s not calling for the medium to be regulated, he’s urging Emily White, et. al, to act in a way he believes is more fair to musicians. See? You agree with him, and you were too busy hating him to notice!
What Lowery, you and I all know is that it’s the people who USE the Internet whose behavior can/should define how its powers are deployed. But here’s the irony: the Internet itself, or more accurately, the people who write the logarithms that organize the Internet to appeal to searchers’ desires, do so with laser focus on hot-button subjects and words. Sex! Tits! Slams! Lashes out! Scandal! Fight! But why am I telling you that, Dave? As the headline of your essay (The Internet could not care less about your mediocre band) you’ve got your search engine optimization skills purring right along.

So I’ll do you a favor here and close by rephrasing my opinion of your essay by saying, simply, that it makes you seem like a pathetic, washed-up twat whose shitty band no one ever liked in the first place. That’s not what I think, but it’s short and punchy and SEO like a motherfucker. That’s what sells on the Internet. And everyone’s gotta earn a living, right?

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