Piercing insight


The Times today carries a short report (no link – paywall, sorry) about a US project to develop a portable internet hub, carried in a suitcase, to allow people to bypass state controlled access to the internet. It seems like a clever idea and a big leap forward from the clandestine typewriters and duplicating machines smuggled into the USSR by the CIA during the Cold War.

The report also says: “Four young State Department contractors, some with ear-piercings and experience as computer hackers, have developed the internet suitcase.”

As far as I can tell, this short sentence manages to express a number of slightly offensive prejudices…

1.  Computer experts are male (The Times wouldn’t comment on a female with pierced ears).

2. Men with pierced ears are probably computer hackers.

3. Computer hackers have pierced ears.

4. Only young people can be computer experts.

5. It may be unusual in the State Department to be a young male computer hacker with pierced ears (and therefore worthy of comment).

If I was a) young, b) pierced, c) a computer expert, I would write angrily to The Times. But I am none of these. I am just a grumpy middle-aged man in a suit who reads the broadsheets whilst commuting on a train to the office.

2 Responses to “Piercing insight”

  1. I get annoyed over things like that where people feel the need to make mention of people being tattooed when it really has nothing to do with the article.
    I do still think people look down on these things hence they feel the need to mention it even though it has no relevance to the rest of the article. Like the one you’ve posted! silly people.

  2. 2 Camilla

    (6) The State Department has to use contractors to develop anything as wacky as this; possibly regular employees would have their health permanently damaged

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