God “guess what I’ve heard!”

Over the last few years, as technology has moved from pen to typewriter, to typewriter with a memory and finally to the computer into which I am presently feeding my thoughts, a certain set of possibilities and potentials have been put in train. Whether it be with a text on a mobile or a sudden psychological rupture in our defensive wall as we think we are sending out a secret email, we can make mistakes that cost. No longer, as once, a single letter misdirected and arriving at the wrong door but a missive intended for one person, suddenly dispersed like autumn seed on the fertile ground of the internet to a myriad strangers.

These mistakes can be costly to the individuals concerned and for whom it should be a private matter. But, seizing upon the heavily publicised consequences and realising how appalling they are, protagonists of pain have entered a new dimension. Now, there is commonplace posting of embarrassing images on Facebook, the bullying of classmates or teachers on You Tube, the sharing of mobile-phone video-nasties and even the mocking up of party political broadcasts to lampoon and undermine candidates. (The latter not necessarily a bad thing!)

Once upon a time the only way we could make our views felt was via a letter to an editor and then, more often than not, the politics had to be in accordance with the paper in question or the letter had to achieve a certain literary merit. Now, a little skill with photo-editor and text and a motivation to do damage has allowed us to recreate the medieval stocks and place our chosen victim there. As with all things infinite, the potential in the world wide web is for good or ill. Burma has closed off the Internet but what does get through sustains hope for its suffering people. Meanwhile, here in the cosy affluence of our sceptered isle, with little better to do, we turn our hands too often to serving our base emotions and causing hurt and misery. There are powerful tools about. We should cultivate better ways of using them.

Excuse the gossip in the last

The email set off far too fast

For my personal checks to halt its flow

I hate it when the dice’s throw

Has dropped from inside my sleeve

Without a single ‘by your leave’

And suddenly the world does know

That I’m a prurient so and so

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