Did David Bowie Say This in 1999 About the Internet?

Requirement:

In 1999, David Bowie said in part about the Internet: “I think we’re on the cusp of something really exciting and scary.”

Rating:

Correct attribution

David Bowie: Cultural Icon, Music Legend and Seer?

Bowie famously gave an interview to BBC Newsnight in 1999, making several remarks about the then-emerging technology of the Internet. His remarks seemed to foreshadow some of the social fragmentation and chaos catalyzed by the internet in the 2010s and early 2020s:

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At the time, Bowie told the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman that the Internet seemed subversive to him because the power and influence in society did not yet have a monopoly on it.

I don’t think we have seen the tip of the iceberg. I think the potential of the Internet to bring good and bad to society is unimaginable. I think we’re on the cusp of something really exciting and scary.

[…]

I’m talking about the specific context, and the state of the content is so different from anything that the interaction between us user and provider is in simpatico, that it breaks our minds. ideas about what the media is about.

Bowie’s quote above is true, but a parody of this interview went viral in January 2022, in which comedian Michael Spicer embellished Bowie’s 1999 comments with a 20/20 spiel about the state of technology and its harmful effects on society. and managing people’s personal time:

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“In the future, we’re going to waste hours and hours of our lives just watching videos of cute cats and dogs,” Spicer said, before launching into a critique of how far-right politicians have used immigration to oppose immigration. immigrant sentiment as a vector of power perception.

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Sources:

Avon, Dan. “Did David Bowie Predict Social Media in 1999 ‘Newsnight’ Clip?” Snopes10 Jan. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/david-bowie-newsnight-1999/.

“Mass Hate: The Anti-Immigrant Movement in the US,” Anti-Defamation League, 28 Nov. 2018. https://www.adl.org/the-anti-immigrant-movement-in-the-us. Accessed November 17, 2022.

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