THE FALL OF THE GATE KEEPERS
Since the death of the oral tradition in all societies, communication has been in the hands of what I call the Gate Keepers. The Gate Keepers are those who decide what you will read, what you will hear and what you will see. The Gate Keepers are the controllers of thought in a society. Ever since words were first incised in clay, the Gate Keepers have jealously guarded their power. They decided who would be read, what music is to be listened to, what pictures shall be seen. Today, the Gate Keepers are newspapers, magazines, book publishers, libraries, galleries, museums, concert hall promoters, the music industry and television.
For the last five thousand years when the Gate Keepers decided they didnít want you, you were finished. You had no voice. You were banished from your own culture. In the past they even frowned on literacy so they could be the sole heralds of what you should hear. Retaining intellectual slavery is the goal of todayís Gate Keepers as it was in the ancient past. To control is to be powerful. To be powerful is to be served. To be served is to be privileged with all the benefits it implies.
Martin Luther had a run-in with the Gate Keepers. He disagreed with the Catholic Church. He resorted to publishing his 95 Theses on a church door. Do you think the Gate Keepers would publish it for him?
LUTHER: Hello, monks. Do you mind scribbling these notes of mine and keeping it in your library?
MONKS: Are you crazy? Who do you think feeds us and keeps us in wine, the Seventh- Day Adventists?
LUTHER: Hello, priest. Could you preach my theses from your pulpit?
PRIEST: Get ye behind me Satan. If I say one word in public about your 95 crazies, I will be carting off plague victims for a living.
But then there came a still small voice called the Internet. It is in the process of destroying the hegemony of the Gate Keepers. Anything can be published on the Internet. Today, there are blogs where people can register their thoughts without having to obtain official approval from anyone. The only thing that counts is if someone wants to read it. Also, music can be played; art shown and ideas of all kind can be tossed up for consideration. The only thing that matters is whether someone wants to view it. This is only fair. Let the people on the Internet decide what is or isnít worthy for themselves.
In the future when server capacity expands, plays, movie and documentaries will be shown without any Gate Keeper intervening and telling you that it is unworthy. Once presented on the Internet, nobody gives a damn about the opinions of the Gate Keepers. What is a Gate Keeper going to do? Send you an e-mail saying, ďI noticed you were watching that movie on the Internet. Donít do it again. Itís bad for you.Ē
The early days of movies, radio and then television held out the promise of doing wonderful things and then the Gate Keepers ruined it. They brought us the trash we see and hear today in those media. They need huge audiences to pay for their productions, which call for massive amount of money. And where there is money, you will see the Gate Keepers plying their craft of exclusion.
However, the Internet is getting broader and cheaper. More and more server space is available to publish freely. New blogs are coming online and begging you to fill their space. So they put advertising over your page. Who cares? Let them make a living, too. At least they donít tell you what should be on your page. Unlike the Gate Keepers who say, ďI think you should say this. Oh, thatís too harsh! Canít you tone it down? If you are not going to take my advice, unfortunately, we will have to deny you space.Ē
The days of denial of space and gate keeping are finished. Via the Internet, everyone can have a voice and be heard. If only five people visit your page, thatís five more than the Gate Keepers would ever let thru. It burns them up that those five escaped their grip.
GARY RODRIGUEZ, July 2004