If you, people of the world, don’t already know, permit me to inform you that today is World Information Day. This is the annual acknowledgement of worldly information first observed in 2006 by the International Telecommunication Union, a specialized agency of the United Nations. So, why haven’t you heard about it until now? Like many specialized international agencies (S.P.E.C.T.R.E. comes to mind), sometimes information is hard to come by.
When trying to fix this, I enjoyed a brief correspondence with Sanjay Acharya, the ITU’s chief of “media relations and public information,” who directed my request for a quote to a four-and-a-half minute YouTube video of ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré. Well-played, Sanjay, but if I were going to quote a YouTube video, it would probably be something a little more viral than Dr. Touré’s monotonic admonition not to text and drive. Though a worthy sentiment, the doctor should also warn drivers not to watch his video lest they fall asleep at the wheel.
Granted, one should only be watching the road while driving, though you might get a pass for watching a video of the road on which you’re driving, though I’m not sure – let me sleep it on it. Cue up Dr. Touré – he’s like Ambien without the somnambulism.
The ITU was originally founded in Paris as the International Telegraph Union during the heady year of 1865, when Edouard Manet was scandalizing Parisian salons with his painting of a striking nude dubbed Olympia. This is why cables from the era often translate to this: ( . ) ( . )
These days, the 148 year-old union covers everything from digital broadcasting to the Internet, mobile technologies and even 3D TV (so that’s actually happening?). Now HQ’d in Switzerland for some reason (pick one – chocolate, banks or cuckoo clocks) the ITU’s brochure features a blue chick wearing what looks like industrial-strength 3-D glasses. If you want to date Capt. Kirk, use this image on your dating profile.
Inside, one learns that ITU is “responsible for the allocation of radio spectrum and satellite orbits ...” which makes them prime material for a James Bond villain. Which brings me to what evil geniuses (like my readers) really want to know: How does one takeover broadcast signals like movie supervillains frequently do? Unlike the planners of World Information Day, we want information of our evil deeds known to the world, on every screen, great and small, from phones to the glowing billboard draining the power grid at the nearest bachelor pad.
This is known as the “Do Not Adjust Your Set” trope, as explained on TVTropes.com: “This completeness of his takeover of the airwaves will almost certainly be shown on screen with a shot of an electrical store with a bank of TVs in its window, all showing different channels, but then all of them winking out one by one to be replaced by the villain’s smug face. A shot of the large screen overlooking Times Square in New York City is also common.”
In addition to World Information Day, perhaps we need a World Too Much Information Day in which a 24-hour moratorium on over-sharing is strictly enforced. This way we’ll be spared live-Tweets of sexcapades and medical misadventures – especially when they happen at the same time, though those are often the best (read some here: Oversharers.com).
I also think there’s room for World Disinformation Day, which we’re probably already celebrating and don’t know it. Here’s it’s website: CIA.gov. Don’t go there and overshare, unless you’re an international criminal – then you’ll be a hit. In so many ways. And the ITU won’t say a damn thing about it.