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Beyond Google Print: Culture Wars or The French are coming!

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Sat Mar 19 17:01:02 EST 2005

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 21:58:18 +0000 (GMT)
From: Stevan Harnad <harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk>
To: letters at thetimes.co.uk

Letter for publication:

Even discounting the headline ("Victor Hugo sent
to fight Harry Potter..."), no doubt imposed on the
author, the article by Charles Bremner, mocking France's
efforts to raise the cultural and linguistic level of the Web
(http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1530548,00.html), reads like
so much superficial, philistine sloganeering.

Instead of feting the fact that someone, anyone, somewhere,
is actually trying to do something to counter the globalisation of
McDonalds/MTV "culture," Bremner just does the usual jingoistic bleating
and baiting.

Humankind itself, and history, would be the beneficiary if -- against
all odds -- the Hexagon did somehow manage to hedge the hegemony of the
mindless, faceless, driverless, tasteless juggernaut that happens to be
propelling us all in (almost coincidentally) an anglophone drone. The
English tongue itself -- and English-language theatre, film and literature
-- stand only to gain from having to sing for their supper under
some inspiration from alloglot competitors instead of coasting on their
McNopoly. The Midas Touch is the Kiss of Death. Bravo to Google if it helps
to Gallicise, and otherwise, the CyberGalaxy.

Stevan Harnad                     
Professor of Cognitive Science    
Department of Electronics and Computer Science     
University of Southampton         
Highfield, Southampton            
SO17 1BJ UNITED KINGDOM           
phone: +44 23-80 592-388
fax:   +44 23-80 592-865
harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk

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