BBC BLOGS - dot.Maggie
« Previous | Main | Next »

'I hate the net' - Porn star Ron Jeremy

Maggie Shiels | 09:03 UK time, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Ron Jeremy is, apparently, a legend in his own profession and, as I discovered, very well-known to a certain section of the American population.

Ron Jeremy and Maggie ShielsDespite his portly demeanour, Mr Jeremy is one of the pornography industry's greatest and most recognised stars.

When he made the short hop from the Adult Entertainment Expo at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas to the nearby Consumer Electronics show, he caused quite the stir.

During his visit - to extol the virtues of software filters to prevent children visiting adult sites - there was a steady flow of people wanting to shake his hand and have a photo taken. While I was there, they were all male.

Interestingly, the pornography industry has a reputation for being rather technologically advanced, having embraced at a very early stage everything from video cassettes to DVDs and now 3D - which was of course the big buzz of CES itself. Its leading man, however, told me he was a "dinosaur":

"Like most people, I can't live without a cellphone, but I just have this flip one. There's nothing 'smart' about it. I'm a very strange case. I fax back and forth and am not big on e-mail."

"I'm like a throwback to the old days. I'm old school," he joked. And it turns out that he thinks the internet is "sort of evil":

"My dad predicted years ago that the internet was going to be both good and bad - kind of like nuclear energy. It's got great uses when it is good, and frighteningly awful when it is bad.
 
"The internet has allowed a lot of crooks, thieves and squatters to become millionaires. Normally, they wouldn't get a job washing dishes. I have a lot of problems with the internet and with identity theft. It has happened to me twice with my bank account, so I am not a big fan."

Mr Jeremy heaped further scorn on the net because, he said, it is putting his industry out of business:

"People can download stuff for free these days, so why the heck are they going to buy it? The only ones making money out of porn are the novelty companies. I just hate the internet in general."

Mr Jeremy, with over 2,000 movies under his belt, also happens to believe the web is making people less intelligent:

"I am a former school teacher, I have a masters degree and two BAs, and I think the internet is making people stupid.
 
"It's good because you can research any topic. In my day, we went to the encyclopedia for that. Nowadays, though, kids can't memorise anything. No dates, no times tables, no history. If there is anything you need to know, you just press a few buttons. We could be giving rise to a generation of idiots."

Controversial, perhaps, but Mr Jeremy is far from alone in his thinking.

A plethora of articles has been written on the issue; one very thoughtful example was by Nicholas Carr for the Atlantic Monthly, "Is Google making us Stupid?".

Mr Carr talked about how his way of thinking has changed because of the internet, as well as his seeming inability to absorb long pieces the way he used to:

"What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski."

A former editor of the Harvard Business Review and an adult entertainment star might seem unlikely bedfellows - but do you think they're on to something?

Comments

  • 1. At 09:54am on 12 Jan 2010, The Sandbag wrote:

    I don't think the internet is making people less intelligent, just changing the definition. Whilst people may not be able to record large reams of facts and figures, research skills and reasoning on information is becoming more important as we no longer need to store the facts, just know how and what to do with them to make them useful.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 09:59am on 12 Jan 2010, Harbanger wrote:

    I read Nicholas Carr's article and totally disagree that it's making people stupid. People moaned for years that people just watched dumb TV (which a lot of it is), and the minute people gain the almost infinite encyclopedia at their finger tips and start learning things people moan again.

    Only yesterday I improved my mathematical abilities by researching on various sites. My parents have learned so much also. My dad loves history and news and has learned an awful lot, and my mum has recently really got in to learning things online also.

    I've also watched whole MIT lectures on quantum theory in the past. There wouldn't have ever been a chance for me to fly to MIT, and sit in a lecture pre-internet. I'm sorry but anyone complaining about it making people stupid are themselves pretty stupid!

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 10:09am on 12 Jan 2010, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Interesting stuff, but I think we have been here before.

    Like anything, it is up to you if you use the internet or you abuse it. Getting information quickly is one thing, and a very useful thing at that. However it is what you do with that information that still counts.

    Do kids still understand what they are writing at school for example? I remember at primary school the teacher would write something on the board, and we would have to write it into our exercise books. Then photocopies became widespread and we would be given a handout rather than just write things parrot fashion.

    The good and bad points are that it was a good exercise in handwriting, but, most of us would just rush to see who could copy what was on the board the quickest and wouldn't actually know what we were writing. With the handout, we then hand the time to stop and think about what was written, but perhaps at the expense of improving handwriting.

    With the internet, if we can get hold of information quicker than by leafing through an encyclopedia, perhaps we have more time to digest the information. But, perhaps we don't stumble on other stuff that we might have discovered by leafing through an encyclopedia.

    I can't decide which is best, it is up to the user how they use what tools they have at their disposal.

    p.s. I can still remember writing down what was written on that blackboard about Captain Cook. :-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 10:10am on 12 Jan 2010, HG_orwhatever wrote:


    In general, I agree. Although the 'net has given greater access to all sorts of information, the ease with which it can be retrieved lessens the need to retain it to memory. Indeed, often I find myself looking for info on the 'net only to be distracted/attracted to something else during a search, eventually finding out about something only tenuously related to what I was originally wanting to know.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 10:26am on 12 Jan 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    #1. I'm not so sure I agree. It depends on your exact job role obviously but I'm a firm believer that the brain needs to be taxed, trained and excercised. The act of studying and remembering makes it easier for you to remember more things in the future.

    I didn't know Ron Jeremy was a school teacher! For a school point of view its remarkably easy to cut & paste an essay from the net without thinking about it. In my day (all of 15 years ago) this was impossible. You could not submit an essay without doing some work, even if it was handwriting large chunks from a book. These days you don't even need to read what you submit and anti-copying software is generally not available in schools.

    Net access and being able to bring up information in seconds is incredibly useful but there are two reasons you shouldn't rely on it:
    -firstly a lot of net content is wrong, intentionally so in some cases.
    -when you really, really need the net your internet connection will be down or you'll be stuck somewhere with no laptop. Not being able to do it the old fashioned way will be a big problem.

    A reliance on technology (such as GPS and Sat phones) means that basic skills such as map reading, compass use and being able to send morse code are dying and people are ending up in real danger when their computers go wrong. If 'Apollo 13' happened again I reckon the astronauts would die this time because we wouldn't be able to come up with a solution that didn't need computers.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 10:26am on 12 Jan 2010, Steve Jordan wrote:

    Early days of the internet, in 5 to 10 years (a very short space of time) it won't look like it does today.

    Don't you think when they started printing books people said this will make everyone unable to remember things they had to up to then.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 10:32am on 12 Jan 2010, xTunbridge wrote:

    2000 films under his belt ? No pun intended Maggie ?

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 10:35am on 12 Jan 2010, digitaldilema wrote:

    I like the reference to the paorn star with over 200 movies 'under his belt'.

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 10:37am on 12 Jan 2010, James Rigby wrote:

    Some schools are wising up to this. My 12-year old son has a weekly lesson called infoliteracy at school where they learn about the strengths and weaknesses of internet sources such as wikipedia and also about efficient searching, blogging, social networks etc. I don't know if it's part of the national curriculum - but it should be!

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 10:40am on 12 Jan 2010, David cleaver wrote:

    I believe the internet is the best thing since sliced bread, where else can you get so much at the stroke of a key. Don’t get me wrong I still read books for entertainment and knowledge, but for any kind of research the net wins hands down every time. When I was a kid it was get away from the TV, get off that games console! Now it’s the internets turn to be evil. Who said it’s bad! The news papers, because we don’t read them so much, the TV broadcasters because we don’t watch what they tell us. Take away my internet; never would I be so lost.

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 10:45am on 12 Jan 2010, aka_bluepeter wrote:

    A play on an old proverb 'I see I forget, I read I understand, I write I remember'.
    In an educational sense this seems to work from the point of view of memory....However, strangely typing on a PC or Laptop doesn't seem to have the same lasting effect on my memory as does writing down on paper and re reading that writing possibly two or three times. Possibly because that electronic version get's lost very much more quickly and easily than paper versions.
    An alternative view of this is that recording our thoughts in writing itself may have improved our memories and the ability to recall information but did it make our imaginations lazy therefore dulling creativity in a literary sense.
    Because Dyslexic people struggle with reading and writing they are often found to be the most creative big picture thinkers among a literate society chained by the current methods of education.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 10:53am on 12 Jan 2010, Rabtastic wrote:

    #6. I don't know if anyone said that books would make people unable to remember things. But when you consider that before books there was a huge oral tradition in poetry and story-telling which was effectively wiped out (how many people could contemplate learning the Iliad by rote now?), there may be a kernel of truth in what Ron Jeremy is saying.

    It's arguable that while we have access to more information we store less of it in our heads. Whether that makes us stupider is debatable. Knowledge isn't wisdom, but it does seem that the wisest amongst us are the most knowledgeable.

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 10:55am on 12 Jan 2010, Muscleguy wrote:

    Oh dear, someone else confusing the ability to memorise stuff with intelligence. I did Physiology at university and we had one Professor who insisted we memorise the ion concentrations inside and outside at every part of the kidney tubule, which did not aid understanding and we could look up in the textbook any time we wanted to. I got through the exams by shoving them into short term memory just before the exams, I have no recollection of them now but I can still describe how the kidney tubule works and what happens in which bit of it, which is called understanding.

    The internet has allowed those with good understanding but lousy memories to perform well. This has enabled us to better utilise talent in the population. This is not a bad thing.

    What perhaps we need to be careful of is teaching kids how do discriminate good information from bad. That is the main danger with the net, there is a lot of crap information out there and sorting it from the reliable information can be tricky, even for someone with a PhD like me.

    BTW I have a very good memory, but I have a better ability to understand.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 10:55am on 12 Jan 2010, Gea Vox wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 15. At 10:58am on 12 Jan 2010, Rob Williams wrote:

    Talking about this with friends the other night, we couldn't imagine going back to a pre-internet world. I agree with Mr Jeremy's view that our way of accessing, interpreting and memorising knowledge is changing. I disagree that it is always a bad thing. My teenage son has far more of a generalised knowledge of the world than I did at his age. Any information is available to him. I agree that he doesn't memorise things like I had to, but I hated that, and always questioned the value of it. However, I do worry about the way virtual activity is replacing physical activity. I used to run around in the local woods playing soldiers, getting exercise and fresh air without thinking about it. My son plays online games instead, in his stuffy bedroom. It's my generation's fault, of course - paranoia about letting our children out of sight. He's learned how to drive too - always too fast, in virtual cars which don't cost money to repair, and can never kill you, where you don't feel guilt or go to jail if you hit a pedestrian. What kind of motorist will he become I wonder?

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 10:58am on 12 Jan 2010, Medway Maid wrote:

    I completely understand where Mr Jeremy is coming from. Networks and the internet make it easier to obtain people's information and try to sell them rubbish from across the globe and outside 'our' legal system, and far harder to catch and prosecute them.
    The problem with using the internet for research as opposed to encyclopedias et al, is that a lot of online information cannot be trusted. Cite Wikipedia as a source and you could be in for a lot of trouble, as anyone can edit those pages. Looking stuff up in books forces you to think about your subject and where you might find the information, rather than just typing words into a search engine and seeing what might come up.
    And writing things down from the blackboard did help us to remember them! The last line in my history O level notebook was 1865 Lord Palmerston died. Hooray!

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 11:16am on 12 Jan 2010, marvoging wrote:

    I am a great fan of the internet, but anything that is obtained more easily/freely is cheapened, and that includes information.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 11:23am on 12 Jan 2010, Aldebaranian wrote:

    [I am wondering what kind of crowd the title of this entry attracts!]

    This, in a limited sense, mirrors the discussion regarding calculators in the 80's - what was the point of learning to do math by hand when you have a calculator? Then as now, the answer is that you need both, and only by having a good foundation/schooling can you make optimal use of the calculator/internet. But it rids you of the chore of having to remember a lot of rarely useful facts (which admittedly some people, like me, do enjoy remembering anyway).

    Yes, you can cheat with the Web. Yes, you can waste your time with the web. Yes, you can spend your time trawling the internet for p0rn or celebrity stories or neo-nazi literature or .... the list goes on. But that does not belittle the fact that the Web (in particular) is a fantastic resource to get started on learning something new, and even more so: it spreads the knowledge around. Yes, if you lived in London and you could get into the British library you could look up everything you want - but if you live in Yakutsk or Accra or even small places in most European countries, access to specialist literature in the form of books was and is difficult (I speak from personal experience here :)

    The main difference to the calculator discussions, the TV couch-potatoes (of which there are quite a few), etc etc. is that the internet is even more invasive. But even though something contains crap does mean that it is crap - that is up to individuals.

    As for Carr's reduced attention span: Both the internet, and the Web, were invented within academia to improve exchange of information. This is still a core use of the web for many of us within academia and I doubt very much that this has led to people stopping reading long technical articles in physics journals etc. Thus the argument from Nicholas Carr is not borne out in the community that has made use of the internet for the longest.

    That said, society as a whole appears to have a somewhat shorter attention span than 10 years ago, cue flickering TV ads, rapid changes of viewpoints in documentaries (Discovery vs BBC for instance). But my bet is that part of the effect is age & that most of Mr. Carr's "truth witnesses" are similar age/background to himself.

    Ah well, I probably have exceeded the attention span of most people!

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 11:26am on 12 Jan 2010, Crix Lee wrote:

    I wasn't sure how else to get a hold of Maggie, so I'm posting this here. Ron Jeremy recanted 3 hours after the CES story broke in a phone call to Gears of War's Carlos Ferro (Santiago) http://www.girlgamer.com/zine/article/557/

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 11:26am on 12 Jan 2010, Nickw1969 wrote:

    I agree the internet has a lot of things to answer for that are not good.

    Porn has been dumbed down so that things that were once considered (and still should be) depraved and disgusting, is now freely accessible to children, who no longer see it as offensive or disgusting, likewise the internet is full of hate mongering, incorrect information, conspiracy theories that people incorrectly take as fact.
    Everything is now accessible at the click of a button, is that a good thing or a bad thing? I really am undecided, its great to be able get information about anything, anytime, and increasingly anywhere (mobile internet), but its some of the little things which it has taken away which are sad.

    Going on holiday for example, to an exotic location, not knowing what it was like, the excitement of going somewhere completely unknown, but now you can watch videos, zoom in with google earth meet all the residents through facebook, etc...

    The good the bad and the ugly.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 11:36am on 12 Jan 2010, Tom Hicks wrote:

    Having just read Nicholas Carr's book "The Big Switch", and having read "Is Google making us Stupid?" it seems clear that he is rather sensationalist in his tone. He also tends to ignore the other side to the point he is making which, with his expertise, is irresponsible.

    It's all very well having the "real research is done in a library" approach, but this ignores the fact that Google makes information *accessible*. Think of all the things you've looked up on the Web that without it, you'd have still been ignorant. Whether it's who was in a film, some scientific procedure, something that happened in history....there will be literally hundreds of things you've looked up on the Web that you wouldn't have had the time to go and look up in the library.

    As far as I'm concerned, the more information people have access to the better, as it allows them to make reasoned decisions about things. As long as you're aware of the possible bias or inaccuracy (I'm thinking Wikipedia here) of articles on the Web, then you're fine.

    Also, Muscleguy is absolutely spot on with his argument about understanding things vs remembering things. I'm in the middle of revising for exams for my MSc, and even at that level, the vast majority of the exam questions test your recall of information you've been told, or been told to read.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 11:37am on 12 Jan 2010, phil200 wrote:

    Distribution channels have changed for all media - this means revenue models have shifted to (a) advertising and (b) cheap downloads. Apple had the brains to pursue (b) with iTunes. Some free porn sites and some other media are following (a). All the media industries need to get with the program, give up these unworkable ideas about copyright enforcement, suing kids etc, and pursue (a) and (b).

    In order to buy media, it must be available easier and thus effectively cheaper than downloading pirate versions. This was Job's genius with iTunes. Until recently the internet hasn't worked well enough for Hollywood to follow this model but that is changing. People have to give up these failed ideas about intellectual property and look to where the money is.

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 11:37am on 12 Jan 2010, hubertgrove wrote:

    A good quotation that I kind of remember and which you might want to use is:

    'There are two kinds of knowledge. The first is knowledge you have; the second is knowledge you know where to get'.

    The quotation is from the 18th Century, specifically it's by Dr. Johnson who was cursing people's reliance on the newfangled dictionary which, in fact, he himself had produced.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 11:41am on 12 Jan 2010, Dr-Grumpy wrote:

    I'm afraid most of you are missing the point. The internet doesn't make people more stupid, it just make stupidity a lot more visible. Any idiot can now shout for the whole world to here and all the other idiots will clap.
    Intelligent people will still be able to benefit from the wealth of information the internet brings as long as they have the necessary skills to filter out the craps and break away to contemplate their findings. Please don't blame the internet for the stupidity which has always been there!

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 11:47am on 12 Jan 2010, Sandy wrote:

    "The only ones making money out of porn are the novelty companies."

    What, so these novelty companies make $13.6 Billion a year in the US alone, by them selves? What a load of rubbish.

    Another person who doesn't understand technology going on about how it's going to end the world.

    Here's a diagram with some facts about the porn industry, it's quite interesting:

    http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/7326/500xinfopornb.jpg

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 11:48am on 12 Jan 2010, goooglemonster wrote:

    going by the length of these comments some less than 8" and some longer I would tend to think that the internet has made people less intelligent. Any other comments site seems to have a couple of words comment or banter and thats it. Here we seem to see people attempting to regain their ability to communicate.

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 11:53am on 12 Jan 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    #20. 'Depraved and disgusting' is in the eye of the beholder. What two (or more) consenting adults choose to do for pleasure is their business. As long as no-one gets hurt or is forced to do anything they don't want thats fine by me. Remember in the Islamic world showing a bit of leg or having your hair uncovered is 'depraved and disgusting' and is punished quite harshly. Telling people to conform to one moral code is exactly what the Bin Ladins and Hitlers of this world do.

    Keeping adult material away from non-adults is something I probably agree with you on though. Likewise Ron Jeremy is at the top end of mainstream porn. Everything he does is legal and regulated. The net HAS allowed for some really nasty illegal stuff to be easily and widely distributed. This stuff was always around but when it was limited to tape its distribution was tiny.

    #13 The ability to memorise lots of facts is one form of intelligence. You wouldn't call someone who can win mastermind unintelligent. Being able to use those memorised facts to solve problems is a more important measure of intelligence. It why IQ tests test reasoning and problem solving rather than fact recall.

    I have to work out molar dilutions in the lab daily. I COULD look it up online each time but its a damn site easier to know Avogadro's constant by heart (6.022 x 10 to the power 23). I had to learn that at school when I was 14 (Scottish education) and haven't forgotten it 20 years later. Knowing it by heart means its easier to spot mistakes in my calculations too. You just know when something is wrong.

    While there are many things you CAN go and look up with a book/internet you really rather hope the surgeon operating on your kidney knows the anatomy of the kidney inside & out (no pun inteneded) and doesn't have to fire up Wiki halfway through the op to see what to cut. Thats an extreme example but I hope it makes the point.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 11:54am on 12 Jan 2010, That Singing Guy wrote:

    #5 Your identification of Morse Code as a basic skill puts you a good 50 years out of whack with this discussion. I do, in part, agree - I tend to be very reliant on sat nav for any journey I have not made before. You could say I have lost the basic skills of map reading, but I prefer to highlight that I can instead focus my time and energies on driving and let the sat nav work out where I'm going.

    #14 Your crass cynicism, defunct superciliousness and world-weary attitude are of absolute zero worth to this debate. Why does enjoying a simple pun somehow mark our species down for extinction? As for a portion of our licence fee covering this, I would point out that it is fractional in the extreme - Maggie chanced upon Ron at the expo, she did not seek him out; in fact, no money at all seems to have been spent except perhaps her fee for the article. I recall a brilliant comment re: the BBC and the licence fee by Mitch Benn in the wake of 'Sachsgate' pertinent to your false accusations - "people think it’s a taxi, it’s not, it’s a bus." (http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/leisure/4748684._We_can___t_love_comics___/)

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 11:57am on 12 Jan 2010, Edwin Cheddarfingers wrote:

    Why do so many people assume that information on the internet is biased and untrustworthy with the inference that printed material is somehow infallible?

    There are more lies printed in the likes of the Daily Mail each week than there are on Wikipedia.

    A study was even performed to check the validity of Wikipedia vs. print encyclopedias and Wikipedia was found to be more accurate than in The Encyclopedia Britannica.

    It's worrying that people so distrust the internet but will simultaneously blindly believe anything fed to them in print.

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 12:09pm on 12 Jan 2010, James Rigby wrote:

    23. At 11:37am on 12 Jan 2010, hubertgrove wrote:
    A good quotation that I kind of remember and which you might want to use is:

    'There are two kinds of knowledge. The first is knowledge you have; the second is knowledge you know where to get'.

    [snip]
    ------------------------------------------------

    The 21st century version goes something like "The difference between a nerd and a geek is that the former actually knows stuff but the latter only knows where to look stuff up"

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 12:18pm on 12 Jan 2010, Nickw1969 wrote:

    Depraved and disgusting is exactly what is on the internet and I am no prude.

    There are legal allowed websites which are accessible to anyone and everyone, which are advocating beastiality, rape, torture and many other depraved and disgusting acts, which I hope arent acceptable, even between consenting adults.

    While some may argue that parents should do more to protect their children from this kind of content, the reality is that they cant.

    I have worked in IT for over 20 years, so luckily for me I am able to monitor what my kids are doing, at least on their PC at home.

    However many friends and relatives have no chance, their kids run circles around them when it comes to doing anything on the computer.

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 12:22pm on 12 Jan 2010, Michael wrote:

    The internet has changed my life. Before I had access to the internet (my parents didn't want to get it and we lived in the countryside anyway) I generally had no interest in anything. When I did finally get an interest in computer programming, it was extremely difficult to get any literature on it - not to mention the software required. This hampered my learning. When I finally left home and subsequently got an internet connection, I was (over time) introduced to so many things I had never thought about. From what commes to mind at the moment, in the last 5 years I: moved to the UK; went from religious to atheist; gained an active interest in astronomy, genetics, evolution, psychology; was cured of my severe depression; changed my career and got my current job in IT; studied molecular biology at uni; and am now into trading. All of this is due to the internet, and of course I use it daily for smaller but still important things.
    Basically if it wasn't for the internet, my life would be so different... and so much worse.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 12:32pm on 12 Jan 2010, Adam wrote:

    Speaking of the internet making us stupid, do you think that the ever increasing demand for opinion pieces leads to authors of a lesser value than the journalists of old? By the way; 'demeanour' is a descriptive term for behaviour, not physical appearance. Therefore no-one can have a 'portly demeanour'. Perhaps the BBC should take its own recommendations and publish articles that have been thoroughly proofread and display a high standard of the Queen's English.

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 12:36pm on 12 Jan 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    #28 " #5 Your identification of Morse Code as a basic skill puts you a good 50 years out of whack with this discussion. I do, in part, agree - I tend to be very reliant on sat nav for any journey I have not made before. You could say I have lost the basic skills of map reading, but I prefer to highlight that I can instead focus my time and energies on driving and let the sat nav work out where I'm going. "

    No it doesn't. I'm a 32 year old ex army radio operator. Morse has four advantages over other forms of radio communication:
    - It is audible far further than speech when transmitted. Morse can be heard a 1000 miles away using equipment that would be virtually impossible to understand speech 50 miles away. Dots and Dashes stand out clearly in heavy static.
    - can be transmitted using very basic, very simple, very reliable equipment. You can transmit morse by shorting out a 9V battery (google 'spark gap transmitter') and hear the crackle on a domestic radio reciever. If you take the battery in and out of the satellite beacon you find on some lifejackets you can send morse simply by sending pulses of signal.
    - The Q code of shorthand messages (like SOS) is understood whatever your language so you don't need to speak Spanish to get a message to the Spanish coastguard.
    - Doesn't even need a radio. You can send morse with a torch or a whistle.

    #31 Nick. How do you rape a consenting adult? Its a contradiction in terms. Likewise bestiality. The animal doesn't consent. If someone wishes to allow themselves to be tortured that seems to be their problem. In any case all these things were on film before the internet came along. As I pointed out in my post #27 the internet has allowed them to be more easily accessed but didn't invent them or peoples desire for them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 12:38pm on 12 Jan 2010, Splinterfringe wrote:

    Although advances in information technology, and the nearly universal adoption of the worldwide web (in industrialized nations anyway) have changed the way we communicate, teach, learn and collaborate; I still find solace in these words of Benjamin Franklin: "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." Yes there is a frightening tendency toward ADD-like behavior in our information gathering. But there is also hope to be found in grass-roots movements and the overall increase in the participation of the masses. Hopefully we will all get involved in at least some of the issues that manage to grab out attention from time to time, and in the process, actually learn something.

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 1:14pm on 12 Jan 2010, john stevenson wrote:

    Jeremy is like many who do not use the Internet or understand it, and fails to see the positive and only the negative. He complains about the dumbing down of Internet users then complains about free downloading of porn. I would suggest the opposite is more true, after watching some of his movies at various times in my life Id say that anyone who actually bought one of his porn movies was the dumb one. No story, poor acting, less watchable than a B- grade move except of course for the panting and grunting, arguably worth the paid bandwidth to download, but tolerable background to a stag night He goes on to complain that kids can’t memorize. I remember spending literally days memorizing quadratic equations and went on into life to never once use the formula. Wasted days that I could have been learning something useful and why should kids remember formulae as long as they understand the process. In my working life I memorized dozens of conversion factors but I still needed logarithmic tables to convert them, so whats the problem with stamping a few numbers into a calculator. Dinosaur indeed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 1:26pm on 12 Jan 2010, Chris Q wrote:

    I do not specifically blame the internet. I see the internet as a great tool for discovering information and communication.

    I do think media - as a whole - has led to a decline in some of the cultural skills and experiences we once had. An interesting perspective I once read was Yehudi Menuhin's sister commenting that several years after television really took off in Australia they had almost no young musicians to form a youth orchestra. Only a few years before it they could have populated several.

    I do think there is no doubt that the "network" and broadcast media have a great deal to offer. However, not everyone uses them as a tool to learn by - indeed I suggest most see it as an end in it's own right.

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 1:27pm on 12 Jan 2010, Annie_Glypta wrote:

    Totally disagree with this. Internet, mobile phones Skype etc. have brought us together.

    When I left home in the late 60's it could be months before I spoke to my parents, their was a distance for most people and as a society we seemed to be drifting apart. No with Internet I usually talk or email both of my sons as does my wife, one them is all over the woarld but there is no barrier to communication.

    Most kids seems to be avid Facebookers', texters, emailers so literacy has improved even if spelling and grammer suffer, was it ever good.

    Last as an Engineer with my own business I can find technical information in minutes that in the past would have taken a half day visit to a Library and I can find commercial information just as quickly.

    Anyway Ron Jeremy is just special pleading becuase it is damaging his businss.

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 2:07pm on 12 Jan 2010, Rinaldo Olff wrote:

    What a great treat it was to read Peter_Sym's posts especially his last one in which he spoke about the utility of morse code. I was a radioman with the US Navy, '54 to '58 and that was our primary form of communication. There were no relay satellites in orbit at the time so all of the communications were strictly line-of-sight which could make for interesting watches chasing down that uncooperative signal but now that I look back on it I dearly enjoyed the cahallenge, especially during solar flare maximums which would play havoc with the traffic we were trying to copy on those ancient Underwood typewriters. But everything else he wrote is totally accurate, particularly about continuous wave transmission's ability to cut through the noise and hash that were an inherent feature of vacuum tube technology. ... --- ... is still universally recognized as a distress signal in every language on the planet and he is completely correct when he described the basic equipment that will do the job, anything that will produce an electro-magnetic spark will tickle that mysterious matrix that used to be called the "ether" but which is, to this day still a very shadowy but extremely useful force. As for the many views concerning the effects of the Internet on intelligence and learning, they are no different than any other tech development; stupid people will do stupid things with it but curious and aware people will find new and undreamed-of applications that, while they are never an unmixed blessing, for the most part enhance our lives in ways that are constantly being discovered. May I express my overwhelming gratitude to Peter_Sym for his posts, they warmed my heart to know there are still some of us brass-pounders left in this world.

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 2:31pm on 12 Jan 2010, ThoughtCrime wrote:


    I think the most concerning aspect of the internet is the way people appear to have lost the capacity to filter and reason. They read something online and assume it's true.

    It's great to be able to find information within a few clicks of a mouse rather than spending hours trawling through the library only to find that either they didn't have the book you needed or you weren't allowed to borrow it (and inevitably the photocopier didn't work). But at the same time the financial barriers to publication meant that we didn't have crooks and charlatans publishing physical books containing spurious information. When a web site can be created in minutes with virtually no cost the information is there, but it might not be accurate.

    It's also entirely true that people who might not have held down a job mopping the floor can become millionaires. But how is that different from pre-internet days? Those same people could have sold London Bridge to gullible Americans, pulled off a scam by post, conned people into having shoddy driveways laid, whatever.

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 2:33pm on 12 Jan 2010, ThoughtCrime wrote:

    Another interesting point - Ron Jeremy is complaining about free porn sites. Before the internet I wonder how many people would never pay for porn because it involved going into seedy establishments without knowing who might see you entering or leaving. But now anyone can buy his wares from the privacy of their home without having to wonder whether their peers will ever know about it.

    So it's very much a two-edged sword, not an outright bad thing as he seems to think.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 2:34pm on 12 Jan 2010, Gea Vox wrote:

    Funny how the BBC view my opinions of pornography as 'offensive', yet consider a porn star's opinion as... what? Legitimate social comment?

    How very, very sad!

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 2:41pm on 12 Jan 2010, RainyDayInterns wrote:

    How fortunate are we that technology and progress continues in spite of this "decline" in intelligence.

    In the history of the world, has any generation been shown to be as "less intelligent" than its previous one?
    If the answer is "Yes," we would venture that it came from someone in the previous generation...

    We can't reference forward, so by comparing things to the past...tasks and such might seem "less" difficult, which often is seen as just "less worthy" We argue that "less" IS often "more."

    So what that we currently does not stress the memorization of dates? What if this "problem" gets someone to give us augmented reality where EVERY date is then instantly available to everyone? One step back, 100 steps forward!

    The movement forward does not have to be absolutely linear.

    Sincerely,
    RainyDayInterns

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 2:41pm on 12 Jan 2010, Cato wrote:

    I agree with the first posted comment. Of great relevance here is the classic book by Frances Yates called
    The Art of Memory. In it, she describes how medieval people memorized truly phenomenal amounts of information. It was then a matter of necessity. After printed books became common in the 16th century,
    this skill faded away. In the same way, the rise of the internet is having a massive effect on society, creating all sorts of intended and unintended consequences. Some of these are presently foreseeable, while others cannot now be fully fathomed. Human intelligence has many facets, logic, narrative, social skills, etc... The internet is not necessarily making us less intelligent. It is, however, surely changing the focus of our intelligence.

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 2:44pm on 12 Jan 2010, Mike Hodder wrote:

    I have read somewhere that Einstein made it a regular practice not to cloud his thinking with anything he could look up in under two minutes.
    A pile of bricks is no more a house than a pile of facts constitute understanding - I forget who said something like that.
    The internet makes it easy for me to read views which oppose my own, to test the validity of what I beleive, to check the evidence others present me with. It still takes time to do that. It makes it possible to challenge ones tendancy to ' bias confirmation ' relatively easily.
    I think that at 74 I am thus less dogmatic than ever before is my life - is that bad?



    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 3:03pm on 12 Jan 2010, matthew wrote:

    "Imagination is more important than facts." ~Albert Einstein
    It is my opinion that the internet and any form of media that releases human minds from the burden of remembering facts and frees it for creative thinking should be encouraged. I for one will be first in line to have the net wired directly to my brain.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 4:56pm on 12 Jan 2010, Mindbrix wrote:

    The internet is an amazing resource for sharing information. I find it wonderfully liberating, allowing me to research and learn almost any subject my heart desires - and to then instantly publish the results for all to see.

    However, the searing pace of change is leaving the slow-to-adapt trailing behind. As many of the laggards are old, rich and influential we'll see a lot more stories like this. Rupert Murdoch has been singing exactly the same tune.


    Nigel Barber

    http://www.concentrichron.com

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 6:29pm on 12 Jan 2010, Xavierneville wrote:

    I think the comments have got it about right, the point about Sat Nav is an excelent one. Before I go anywhere I check my route have agood idea of places I'll go through and past. The Sat Nav forces you to be led, if you have no idea about route then if the the aid breaks or loses signal then you are stuffed. The same principle applies to the internet, situations demand technology can't always be there to do the work for you. The point is context, the information gained is instant and has no context to it, you are less likely to retain and absorb
    knowledge in this type of way and cannot relay or be lateral when trying to piece two seperate issues together. The internet breeds a dependency that makes me uneasy and generates a shallow culture when retaining any information

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 6:33pm on 12 Jan 2010, Green Soap wrote:

    the short hop from the Adult Entertainment Expo at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas

    The Sands Hotel closed years back, go and watch Con Air to see what happened to it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 6:46pm on 12 Jan 2010, Despicable-Me wrote:

    anything that kills porn is a good thing!

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 6:48pm on 12 Jan 2010, modernJan wrote:

    I suppose Ron Jeremy also refuses to use calculators because some good old long division is better for the mind?

    Oh no wait, he's just against the technologies that detract from pr0n revenues: the internet and videogames.

    It's been proven that both the internet and videogames stimulate the brain much more than watching tv.
    I'm pretty sure hiphop videos and MTV and all those modeling contests do much more harm to the youth than videogames and the internet is what you make of it. You decide how you want to use it, unlike braindead tv-watching.

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 7:02pm on 12 Jan 2010, michaelm wrote:

    Steve Jordan writes: "Don't you think when they started printing books people said this will make everyone unable to remember things they had to up to then"

    ...I'm not sure that wasn't what happened. Before reading was generalised a lot of cultures depended heavily on oral traditions of folk memory etc ... we develop skills but also lose them. That can be a good and / or bad thing. I guess it depends on whether the change is adaptive or not.

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 7:31pm on 12 Jan 2010, busterog wrote:

    "don't know if anyone said that books would make people unable to remember things." Socrates said it in Plato's Phaedrus. You could Google it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 10:36pm on 12 Jan 2010, Karen Yukie Yamada wrote:

    Dear BBC,

    Your internet news "violence worse than porn" is telling. In 2006-2007,
    it was reported on both Fox News and MSNBC ticker tape news that over
    2000 pay-for-view child porn consumers were exposed by the government of
    Austria. 600 of these suspects were American. According to ABC news,
    the porn industry is one of the fastest growing in cash flow with some
    of these dollars traceable to our own elected officials, including far-
    right conservatives in Congress.

    Why are you framing the issue as though citizens need to choose from
    the worse of options? The issue is one of freedom of individuals to
    choose, isn't it? Your article about the exploitive nature of some
    underground porn enterprises includes using those who do not have the
    ability to defend themselves against coercion, or those who would never
    consider that sexual intimacy should be for public pay-for-view sale.

    Consenting adults can do whatever they please, as with many pay-for-view
    porn sites in the public where horny perverts and lonely, frustrated
    men/women look to increase the titillation of their sexual expression.
    They do influence the rest of the public, in that this burgeoning sex
    industry relies precisely on technological developments and information
    systems that are also used by unsuspecting innocents. Those who like to
    indulge should take time to consider, like any drug user, that their
    behavior influences an entire community of others who also have the right to choose their expression without invasive nor criminal influence.

    As a terror crime victim and survivor of wire stalking, I can tell you
    that in early 2006, I found my name on a website with foreign languages
    from Eastern Europe and South East Asia that include sexual references. I found the name of an association this same web page that sold nothing in particular in a superficial Google search.

    What does this mean? I could be that many other share my name, however,
    it is strange to find links to others that I knew. I am certainly not a
    Japanese national on Twitter, nor am I the national who tried to have a
    surrogate child in India only to create a legal, ethical fiasco.

    My own blogs on Twitter describe my situation:

    coffeeshopmonster.blogspot.com
    compostpilecontact.blogspot.com
    politicalpoidog-contact.blogspot.com

    Karen Yukie Yamada
    Maui

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 00:14am on 13 Jan 2010, _Ewan_ wrote:

    Gea Vox @ 42; it's not your opinion that broke the House Rules, it was your manner of expressing it. You were incredibly rude, and you know it. You could try saying the same thing without the foul language and you wouldn't have a problem, but that wouldn't play to your victim complex.

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 9:15pm on 13 Jan 2010, guy evans wrote:

    The internet is not intrinsically "good" or intrinsically "bad". It's merely a tool: it's what one DOES with it which counts. Ron Jeremy, of all people, ought to understand that! :-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 9:57pm on 13 Jan 2010, sabcarrera wrote:

    We measure intelligence by doing things the internet does for us. Now we realise a machine does it much better. Maybe we were stupid all along. Let's start doing things that did require intelligence, farming, knitting sowing, carpentry.

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 10:49pm on 13 Jan 2010, Mark Jackman wrote:

    All I know is that Ron Jeremy looks just like Supernanny. Mate of mine has done an awesome photoshop on my blog! Search google for Supernanny and Ron Jeremy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 11:00pm on 13 Jan 2010, andyjenk wrote:

    I don't know if it is because of the Internet but managers seem to be getting very stupid. Sainsbury's now put both cooking and storing instructions on the inside of food packaging so you have to take out the contents to read them. No doubt they have Higher Degrees in something but that is no replacement for common sense. ASDA put the price per 100 gm on cereal packets weighing 1 Kg but only the price per packet on packets weighing 750 gm. Health and Safety people come up with the most insane rules and High Court Judges pass illogical sentences. We all allow MPs and Bankers to rip us off and pay them more for doing so, so yes, it appears we are all getting more stupid. I can't see how pornography can be the cause, but no doubt someone is currently carrying out a Government Funded Investigation to examine just that.

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 11:46pm on 13 Jan 2010, alan_addison wrote:

    Tengstead, I googled The Sands Hotel Las Vegas, and indeed you are correct about the fate of The Sands Hotel. Then I googled Adult Entertainment Expo and found that it was being held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, which is owned by the the same company that owned the original Sands Hotel.

    I then googled Internet Pornography. I'll get back to you on this, I have a lot of research to do now.

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 00:53am on 14 Jan 2010, Alan wrote:

    contrary to the point about chipping away at your concentration i think the information on the net requires more concentration than ever was needed before. previously, as commented already, we had a few reference books and and encyclopedia or two and took everything in there to be facts. now we have to sift through thousands of sources of information and viewpoints. that to me makes it far more challenging to arrive at the "facts". on the point of being able to cut and paste articles for homework purposes for school pupils..that is always going to be found out under exam conditions

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 00:58am on 14 Jan 2010, Alan wrote:

    and strangely i forgot to mention....why are we giving a porn star any airtime/credence on this....surely porn has done as much for the society that now respects no one as anything else.

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 06:49am on 14 Jan 2010, Bournemouth '84 wrote:

    Ron Jeremy hates the internet because he believes it to be responsible for a reduction in his wealth, through fraud and copyright theft. This is clearly a biased and highly personal view, based upon a vested interest.

    Given his professed general dislike for and lack of participaiton in the electronic age, he has little authority to comment further.

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 10:20pm on 14 Jan 2010, Slamlander wrote:

    Previous posters miss the fact that the only market segement to consistantly make money is the porn business. Yes, it's a sign of a sexually repressed society, guess what the puritan controlled US is!

    Other market segments have had problems due to the exact same thing ... how do you compete with free content and monetize your content enough to keep a business afloat? That is a far from trivial problem. Until recently, porn has had little problem with this until the advent of web-cam sites. It has gone downhill from there. The truth is that anyone can put up a webcam site for very small capital. Then again, they will make very small profits, as the porn business is currently discovering.

    In the end, there are very few variation on the act of sex. In the future, sex will not sell and we will have to get back to selling the story behind the sex.



    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 4:53pm on 17 Jan 2010, icewombat wrote:

    Im not for or against the porn or shoot-um-up video games.

    But I hate the arguments that most people who watch porn commit sexual crime, and/or most peolpe who commit murder play video games. These arguments come out time and time again.

    You might as well say 100% of all criminals had a Mother or were born and therefore we should ban motherhood!

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 11:44am on 20 Jan 2010, Woottang wrote:

    The internet is rubbish, which is why I never use it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 08:58am on 21 Jun 2010, gucci shoes wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 68. At 2:45pm on 01 Jul 2010, Matt wrote:

    When I were a lad - yup, I agree with him. I see it in my kids, other's kids - loads of kids. We used to have at least 1 hr homework per night - not per month - and didn't have t'internet. We had to physically GO (shocking, I know) to a library (you know - where they have books you can borrow) and read encyclopedias and books, proper study. None of this copy-and-paste stuff that they can't reproduce in an exam. I like the net for some things but I think there's a massive over-reliance on it. What is someone did actually manage to bring down ALL the global Root DNS servers in one hit? What would kids do then? Or if we had a power cut just before exams? Would they know how to study from books? I think they should be taught to study from a variety of sources - ONE of which is the internet. My kids are so conditioned that if my eldest (17) can't get on the laptop or the internet her world collapses. I think computers are brought in far too early in primary education, and should be left until 3rd yr secondary at least.

    And ANOTHER thing - ICT IS NOT I.T. It's basic office and computer skills. I.T. includes networking, servers, programming and scripting, system administration, DR planning, so much more. I know - it's what I do. (Do I sound like Victor Meldrew?)

    OK - rant over.

    Who's next for me soap box......?

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 6:23pm on 28 Dec 2010, BrandonT wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.