Blinded By Science When First We Clicked
When First We Clicked will discover an interesting claim. As the reader begins, Maddox explains the death of the telegram has just happened. Subsequently, the internet has overthrown the telegraph with efficiency. Maddox makes a claim that will shock most at first: The internet is not impressive and should not be highly praised like some sort of communication Messiah. Maddox shows reporters have not changed with time. Maddox notes, “Foreign correspondents back then were just as skilled at running up astronomical room service bills as their modern counter parts.
At first glance readers may dismiss this as background information, but Maddox shows readers that reporters have not changed with time. Later, readers can look back to this and see just as technology has not really evolved into an impressive creature, the journalists have not evolved much either. The Associated press reporters chose to use humor to announce the death of the telegraph. Maddox points out they mockingly name the announcement, “Western Union ---STOP---Ends Telegraph Service,” in an attempt to make the style similar to a telegraph message. In the third paragraph, Maddox shows more arrogance when he composes, “…which pundits never tire at reminding us is just as profound as the invention of the book, the camera, or even –sometimes – language itself. ” At this point, readers clearly recognize Maddox dislikes the hype surrounding the internet.
Readers are perhaps confused at this point because obviously the internet effects nearly every aspect of life these days. Maddox begins his comparison of the internet and telegraph by presenting the similarity of telegraph operators clicking codes and the web surfers clicking the mouse as they use computers today. Furthermore, the instant message finds a home in both the telegram and internet. Maddox then points out businessmen took advantage of the abilities of both inventions early in the life of the invention. Readers, at this point, see Maddox really does back the claim of these inventions similarity. Maddox continues, both of the pioneers of the telegraph and internet have become extremely wealthy. Morse Code made about forty years’ worth of salary for his invention of the code which made the telegram more useful. After this statement Maddox makes an important shift.
Maddox continues by stating a comparison between the internet and telegraph are not comparable in terms of overcoming difficulties. Maddox attacks the extravagant lives of the high ups in Silicon Valley when he states, “…the global telegraph network required feats of heroism that no Mountain Dew slurping genius from Northern California could even begin to emulate. ” This instantly makes the reader perk up and question how the telegraph could possibly put to shame the inventors in California who have drastically improved the internet. Maddox sets out to prove his claim as soon as he makes it. “The internet was born with an infrastructured silver spoon in its mouth in the form of a preexisting global telephone network,” Maddox states. The telegraph on the other hand, had to string wire around the entire planet. Maddox employs an astonishing metaphor. Maddox writes, “Establishing the basic telegraph connection between Europe and America… was an epic decades-long process of trial and error that makes Tolstoy’s War and Peace look like a fifteen second Super Bowl commercial. ” Readers who are familiar with War and Peace are shell shocked at this claim.
Most find War and Peace to be the most tedious read they have ever endured and to think something could surpass it nearly takes the readers breath away. How could this be the reader wonders? Maddox immediately begins the task of proving himself again. Bridging the gap, crews worked and failed again and again at laying wire across the pond. The Atlantic was a nightmare for the telegraph. According to Maddox, lines would snap, unspool, and once the two ends did not match up when two ships met in the middle to finish the line. Maddox gives the readers a sense of how difficult the task really was. When the line was finally connected, Maddox remarks, “Cannons boomed, church bells rung, and headlines proclaimed the dawn of a new era in human understanding. ” Then, of course, the line stopped working after only a few weeks. Readers understand the depths of how difficult it was to actually finish the necessary infrastructure.
Furthermore, the telegraph overcame problems such as finding a water proof cable, poles to hold the cable, and Morse Code were all necessary to overcome. Maddox explained to the reader exactly what obstacles were defeated which made the telegraph so much more impressive than the internet.
Maddox ends by revealing what is point is. He ends by saying the people who praise the internet over the top admiration need to calm down. The internet, according to Maddox, is not impressive in the inventing hierarchy. Maddox makes it clear to the reader that even though we use the internet daily, it is merely resting on the laurels of the work the telegraph already completed.