Sometimes people believe the story behind this cartoon and more often than not, they don’t.
Perhaps the year was 1999. I was taking a sabbatical from cartooning but still talking about it with people because I was mainly looking for people who could lead me in the right direction. My venture was only two years old and my site contained less than 1000 cartoons. Some of them were fairly good, but remember I was 44 and quite immature for my age, okay immature for a 25 year old’s age, but hey, I was becoming in my mind “The King Of Cartooning”.
Along the way, online, I met a very nice guy, a Dr. Vinton Cerf who lived in Washington, D.C as I had done for 12 years. Vint was a Sr. VP at MCI when it was still open.
Back then, if I remember correctly broadband was not available, or if it was it was in limited places. Vint had AOL Online and he had my team draw a graphic of a skeleton with cobwebs sitting at his pc with an alert on his monitor “Welcome To America Online”. Back then, that was very funny as AOL, Compuserve, NetZero and the rest were quite slow at connecting, and felt even slower once broadband arrived. A copy of it still sits on my site in the computer cartoon archives.
I remember feeling a bit bad at the time because a childhood friend from 1st and 2nd grade, Bob Pittman, after founding and selling MTV, became CEO of AOL for a good many years. I hope he never saw it but one never knows. I never got an ugly call from him and Vint was happy. He loved to joke about how long it took him to get on the Internet using his trustworthy, but very slow AOL.
Well there is more to the story. Vint was just a sophomore at Stanford in 1969 when he came up with the idea of TCP-IP, the protocol which eventually became the Internet. Professors and others talked him into selling the rights for awhile to the Pentagon and they called it “Arapnet”. It was mainly an email communication device between different governmental entities.
In 1974, Vint learned that will a bit of work, it could go public, but it would take a Congressional vote. He approached a young (then Congressman from Tn. Named Al Gore who liked the idea and called it the Information Superhighway.
That same year he pushed it through Congress and the world had the Internet. There was not a lot to it except email, bulletin boards and some domains.
Ten years later an MIT professor named Tim Berners-Lee invented a software called the WWW which would drive the Internet into places we never dreamed imaginable.
Suddenly it became a major media and communication device. The best features at that time were Yahoo!, Hotbot, email, and some bulletin boards. There was no Google, online college, social media, or anything else that has driven it to become the most important media of our time.
Hence the silly little cartoon at the top of the page. Compare it to the one we did for Vint, and you can see we’ve come a long way baby along with that little invention of his The Internet.
And by the way all these years the joke was NOT on Al Gore. His exact words were, “I created the incentive to invent the Internet”, and in Washington political terms, that is exactly what he did. Though I’m not a big Al Gore fan, I surely do get a good chuckle when some know it all jokes about Gore and the Internet and has snide know-it-all chesire grin to go with it.
By the way Dr. Vinton Cerf was selected as creative director for Google which is where he remains for about a decade now. Way to go Vint.