I feel shitty, but I think I have only myself to blame –– I compiled a list of quotes from the Haredi anti-Internet asifa pamphlet that were actually pretty legit, and my friend told me to submit it to Harper’s (after McSweeney’s rejected me –– again!) and I dragged my feet a little out of nervousness, and lo and behold!  They did it on their own.  But I think theirs was a straight quote, whereas mine are carefully selected, and will be the basis of an essay/maybe thesis?/maybe book: Useful Lessons to Be Learned From Religious Fanatics.

25 Quotes from the Asifa Pamphlet “Challenge of Our Times” That Make Semi-Legit Points

“Many people convince themselves that they need Internet access, but if they would honestly assess the reasons that they are connected to the internet, they would realize that they could get by without it.”

“But today, even the most innocent looking children, from the best families, may have access to the worst images imaginable.”

“In addition, a determined child (or adult) can figure out a way to work around a filter so that he (or she) can get to the inappropriate material, or he can stumble on the password for the filter and disable it.”

“Make no mistake about it: today’s challenge in many ways is the most difficult in history.  Certainly, if we don’t recognize the challenge for what it is and do something about it, it threatens to sweep us away like a tsunami.  Yes, that challenge is the Internet –– the easy connectivity we have to the world, including its worst influences.”

“The Internet has already wended its way into our daily lives, into our conscience, and it is no longer possible simply uproot it from our midst.”

“The Internet not only exposes things going on around the world, but also creates virtual realities that do not exist anywhere else.”

“When a parent sits down to supper with one hand holding the fork and the other his smartphone, from which he cannot unglue his eyes, that parent may be sitting with the family in a technical sense, but the children realize they are technology orphans.”

“The [Internet] encourages some to display their knowledge, others their sense of humor, and yet others their ability to mock authority.  The irreverent attitude is all-pervasive.  And since no one knows who you are, there is nothing to worry about, no one to be embarrassed of.”

“In a very literal sense, all of the vices humans have uncovered over the millennia are now attacking internet users daily, jumping out at them from the screen and in many cases going on to determine their personal lives.”

“The Internet nurtures irreverence.”

“The Internet gives every individual his or her say, and that is both its strength and its weakness.”

“On the Internet an accomplished scholar with years of experience can post an authoritative exposé on his area of expertise, only to have someone with not the slightest background in that subject reject the entire edifice with a single derisive comment.”

“The constantly changing text, the stream of images that flit by, the ever-present additional links beckoning to explore new horizons, and the constant stream of information floods the mind.”

“Although the Internet provides its users with a feeling of freedom, a sense of euphoria at having the world at his fingertips, it is no more than an illusion.”

“The rise of social networking, blogs, chat groups and even texting all threaten to destroy the traditional relationships that are still so vital to our societal wellbeing.  Family and friends are forgotten as people come to rely more and more on the companionship and approval of their virtual counterparts.”

“Bloggers develop split personalities, drifting through life like robots while their true emotions are bound to the ethereal friendships they have developed for their digitalized companions.  By filling our emotional ‘stomachs’ with the ‘junk food’ of Internet society, we are stunting our appetite for the healthy relationships our psyche truly crave.”

“The element of anonymity that the Internet allows people to bypass the natural, inborn shame they would normally feel when involved in inappropriate behavior.”

“The ‘instant’ mentality where everything has to be accomplished with dizzying speed can permeate our actions in multiple areas.  We lose our patience; our tempers get shorter.”

“Additionally, the medium of e-mail leaves the intended tone of the writer to the reader’s imagination.”

“One of the ubiquitous themes of the Internet is: You.”

“This means that instead of carrying out whatever task he is supposed to be doing, a typical worker will instead check his e-mail, send text messages, receive cell phone calls, send instant messages, check blogs, and ‘Google’ things.”

“Information shared on ‘social networks’ can be mistakenly viewed as private (‘only my Friends can see it’) or semi-private, but in reality just by being a part of these communities, we sacrifice a certain level of privacy.”

“Forgetting can be helpful: it helps us forgive people, it helps us deal with emotional pain and trauma, and it de-clutters our mind from useless details.  But the Internet has the potential to interfere with that process, bringing up old memories and not letting us move on from the past.”

“On the Internet, you are lulled into a sense of security by the illusion that no one can know who you are.  The truth is, your computer’s unique IP address is easily tracked by almost any website and anyone who knows a thing or two about computers.”

“The Internet may greatly facilitate real learning and research, but it doesn’t provide a short-cut to substitute for the process of learning in-depth.”


Eat your heart out, Lewis Lapham.

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