Tim Berners-Lee and NBC

Tim Berners-Lee at a Podcast Interview
Tim Berners-Lee at a Podcast Interview (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of Brits are today indulging in a favourite sport – bashing “thick Americans” – in this case the NBC commentators on the Olympic opening ceremony who professed to have no clue as to who the inventor and first implementor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, was when he took part:

Meredith Viera: If you haven’t heard of him, we haven’t either

Matt Lauer: Google him!

The ceremony has generated a large amount of political controversy in the UK – one, particularly nasty, Tory MP called it “leftie multicultural crap” while a newspaper columnist attacked it for presenting a multi-ethnic British family as typical of the country. The chance to laugh at clueless Americans offers a distraction from that (not that most care, the ceremony got a television audience of 26.2 million – an astonishing triumph in the multi-channel age and I have yet to read a negative comment from a ‘real’ person about it).

Berners-Lee was seen typing “this is for everyone” and maybe that is why he’s not so famous. People who market technology that plainly is not for everyone – like Steve Jobs – are truly world famous, while Berners-Lee cannot get arrested.

Americans have not been getting a great press on Olympics matters this last week – Mitt Romney’s trip turned into a fiasco as he was publicly rebuked by the Prime Minister, nominally a political ally, for questioning how well prepared the country was.

All good fun if you are not a Romney fan, and I am not: but more deeply the casual anti-Americanism must reflect a fundamental worry about national decline.


2 responses to “Tim Berners-Lee and NBC”

  1. Out of curiosity, does the “average” Brit know who Robert Metcalfe is? (Not that he could get arrested here, either.)

    Overall, I thought the ceremony was rather well done (although Sir Paul sounded a tad hoarse). As Bob Costas noted (repeatedly) to the US audience, the athletes paraded in at a record pace. (Credit the Bee Gees for an assist.)

  2. No, I am sure they wouldn’t. (As an aside, I constantly find myself in my professional life explaining to people that wireless connection is inferior to wired – they think wireless is ‘modern’ hence better than wired. Not that they’d know who Norman Abrahmson is either.)

    American bashing is all about assuring yourself that you are superior despite all the contrary evidence.

    Yes, Macca missed his cue too – but he got going and he’s A National Treasure.

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