#162: The Man Keeps ME Down

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

Recently America Online has stepped up their advertising campaign by doing more TV ads with well known celebrities plugging their service. The most recent I caught had Emmanuel Lewis on it telling about AOL and why he uses it. His last few lines were the most disgusting bullshit that has crossed my ears in some time.

… without the man keeping me down

The way this little black boy sits on screen and talks about “the man” sickens me in two ways. First, you have a Hollywood figure who has led a very rich and simplistic life. His ‘eternal youth’ has put him into many positions that payed him more than small countries yet he acts like he has been harassed by “the man”. What does he mean? Many black people refer to police officers as “the man”, while others refer to white men (stereotypical white yuppie) as “the man”. A small few refer to the government by the same term. With little Lewis sitting up there talking about “the man” with his past lifestyle, and sheltered eyes, I have to wonder who he is bitching at. Which of the above mentioned entities has adversely affected his life?

His concern about being watched gives the impression that America Online wants to ensure your privacy. It also gives the impression that they want to give you individual freedom to do what you want, and say what you want. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. America Online takes more than enough steps to monitor your online activity, censor what you say, and limit your privacy and freedom. They monitor their user’s messages, moderate public and private chat in the forums, and are the first to assist police or federal officers in monitoring private mail. America Online employees have a list of ‘offensive words’ they ban including bondage, douche, genitalia, horny, masturbation, submissive, whips & chains. In chat rooms, words such as: boys, cross dressing, dom, erotic, girls, insults, kinky, lingerie, lust, shaved, teens, or underwear, are considered vulgar. (Those words are taken directly from one of the ‘proprietary’ Terms of Service that moderators keep at their fingertips.)

The thought of a rich pampered black kid attempting to say that “the man” has kept him down, and that a fascist, money-hungry online service is there to help you insults me in so many ways. America Online is a leech in the ‘net’ community and has only worried about their own resources over the years. Buying out a backbone of the internet, and only contributing naïve users to the internet is not a benefit. Choosing a black kid from Hollywood is a slap in the face to the American population.

On top of the irony of who is advertising what, you have to consider how hypocritical AOL is in advertising the way they do. Not only do they insult “the man” as well as insult the intelligence of millions of Americans, they insult the rest of the population because of the racial implications. They are stereotyping one group of people (no matter who it is Lewis is talking about) into a single group, and then trying to say that the same group is keeping him down. One black kid blaming a bunch of white people for keeping him down. Yeah, right.

America Online is not the family network they claim to be. They are a money hungry big brother network worried about feeding their bank accounts rather than worrying about their user’s privacy. Write to them complaining about their ways. Post this file on any related newsgroups, and mail this to as many of the admins as you can.

Boycott America Online

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