Fahrenheit 2,577.2: When Silicon Burns

By Dan Bergstein

The year is 2033. Carl Blotts of New Ohio iscalling for a mass book deletion to be held at the local jetpack landing zonethis Thursday. The 56 year-old moon philosopher is demanding that all copies ofDr. Leo Hackett’s much talked about book “Mars Has No Marriage Laws” be deletedfrom computers and e-readers during a protest that is estimated to attract 7real people, 19 robots, and 6.7 million online people via web cams.

“I want the good people of this planet, and the so-so people of the Moonto take their fingers and click ‘delete’ with all their might,” saidBlotts. “And then, when the dialogue box pops up asking, ‘Are you sure youwant to delete this item?’ we will all press OK. And we shall press OK with great ferocity!” Blotts added thathis followers would then need to empty their trash folder, and perhaps set fire to their computers, or at least restart themto make sure it was a clean deletion.

Leroy Tibitts has already said that he will skipwork on Thursday to join in the deletion,  saying, “This is going to be fantastic. It’s time we sent a message to the people ofMars.” Tibitts has even taught his six-year-old daughter how to delete a file. “I don’t let her delete anything large. I’m not stupid. But she can deletesmall files, like low-res pictures of my cat. She’s good at it too. She’s goingto have a blast on Thursday. We even copied the book to a different computer sothat we can delete it twice.”

Some in the community are not so thrilled. “I read about mass deletions, butI’d never thought there’d be one in my own town,” said space farmer AllisonJackson. She is currently organizing a counter-protest in which people willsave the book to an external hard drive, and then store that drive in atemperature-controlled room. There is also talk of using extremely thin slices of tree pulp to somehow transferthe text and preserve it in a physical form that doesn’t require electricity ormagic crystals, but details are sketchy.

Dr. Leo Hacketts simply laughs at the planned deletion party. “You can deletethe file. But you can’t delete the idea. Besides the book exists on serversthroughout the country. The only thing these loons are deleting is a shortcuticon that retrieves the book from the servers.”

Blotts isn’t deterred. “If the book is saved on servers, then we will deletethose servers.” When asked how he would accomplish this, Blotts said somethingabout freedom of speech and pointed to a huge fadedtattoo on his left arm that showed the iconic image of Arizona digging itself underground to formits own society called Cave World. “This is what it’s all about, man,” saidBlotts.

Cameron Algee, Blotts space lawyer, is defending his client’s actions, sayingbook deletion is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution and theThirty-Fifth Adjustment of the Moon Pact. “Deleting a book isn’t a crime. It’san expression.” He frowned energetically. “Likethat,” he said. Algee recently made headlines when he defendedMelissa Jones, a young woman who deleted a jpeg of the American flag on thesteps of Capitol Hill.  “Deletion is anatural act, like secretion, excretion, and all the other cretions,” hesaid. “Do you want to live in a world where someone can say whether youcan or can’t accrete or be discrete?” He paused. “I didn’t think so,”he concluded.

Dan Bergstein–what can we say about his duckpins skills, when his scores speakso forcefully for themselves?