If Hermes Trismegistus was, in fact, “thrice great”, we can say without a doubt that Ted Nelson is “n times great”. As a philosopher, sociologist and computer scientist he paved the way for us to enter into the digital world.
Since the 1960s, he coined (and so defined the meaning of) terms such as hypertext and hypermedia, transclusion, virtuality, intertwingularity and also teledildonics. He conceived Xanadu, an hypermedia computer network much better than the World Wide Web. And among many other things he did, he wrote several books.
In the second of which, “Computer Lib. You can and must understand computers NOW“, which was self-published in 1974, “Nelson writes passionately about the need for people to understand computers deeply, more deeply than was generally promoted as computer literacy, which he considers a superficial kind of familiarity with particular hardware and software. His rallying cry “Down with Cybercrud” is […] against what he sees as the intentional untruths that ‘computer people’ tell to non-computer people to keep them from understanding computers.” [Wikipedia]
Sounds familiar? To us is like Nelson saw, in advance, the first germ of what was to become the present computer world. A world dominated by huge companies forcing us to accept increasingly opaque and disposable products intended for digital illiterates to spy on.
So there’s no better time than now to wear this t-shirt clamoring for liberation from digital tyranny.