Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hareidi Internet Meltdown

I'm not really sure what to make of the apparent success of Hareidi rabbis and Rashe Yeshiva in closing down a number of prominent websites that catered to their communities. On the one hand, I understand wanting to keep the salacious and undersireable elements of the internet out of the community. On the other hand, doing so is a truly Sisyphean task. Do these rabbis really think that by driving these portals out of business, they will keep people from the net? On the contrary, these 'safe' portals served a valuable function in providing information without blind links to undesireable sites.

I suspect that there is a deeper motive here. These websites provided Haredim with a place to vent; to express themselves on issues of moment, and often in contrast to the official organs of their community. In other words, this is a bald attempt to shut down dissent.

It won't work. It can't work. It might, however, return to haunt and undermine the authority of those who enacted it.


Anonymous said...

you don't think it's related to the EJF/Tropper thing?

Jeffrey Woolf said...

I doubt it. The pashkvillim against the internet have been up for a few months already.

rlandes said...

every jew, no matter how "hareidi" is an independent thinker on many things, and the internet allows that to express itself. look at vos iz neias.
not to get too sociological, but this illustrates James C. Scott's discussion of public and hidden transcripts, and the way that certain media of communication speed the process whereby the hidden transcripts make it into the public sphere.