Yes, Virginia

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Just an old column that skitzzos_pop wrote back in 1997.

With apologies to Francis P. Church and the New York Sun.

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time out great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of Net Detours:

Dear Net Detours,

I am Attorney General. Some of my friends in the Justice Department say that Explorer is not part of the Windows operating system. The President says, “If you see it in Net Detours, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is Explorer part of the Operating System?

Janet “Virginia” Reno

Virginia, your lawyers are wrong. They are affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible to their little minds. All minds – except Bill Gates’ – whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great capitalist society of ours, others are mere paupers and peasants as compared to the billionaire Bill Gates and as measured by his intelligence capable of grasping the whole of Microsoft and Windows.

Yes, Virginia, Explorer is part of the operating system.

It is as surely as Word and Excel and PowerPoint are part of Office, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if Explorer were not part of Windows. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no billionaires in Seattle, no stock options to make tolerable this existence. We would have no profits, except in the millions. The external light with which Windows fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe Explorer is part of the Operating System! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get the President to hire antitrust lawyers to watch in all the computer factories to catch Microsoft, but even if you did see anticompetitive practices what would that prove? Everybody is forced to distribute Explorer with Windows, but that is no sign of a monopoly. The most profitable things in world are those that children and men can see but lawyers can’t prove. Did you ever see Bill Gates give away Internet Explorer? Of course, but that is no proof of predatory practices. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the advantages of owning the operating system.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a nondisclosure agreement covering the unseen world of Microsoft which not the sharpest lawyer, nor even the united strength of the whole Justice Department could tear apart. Only profit, return on investment and ever increasing quarterly earnings can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal monopoly and glory that is Explorer as part of the operating system. Is it really? Ah, Virginia, in all your computers there will be no other browser real and abiding.

Explorer not part of Windows. Thank Bill Gates it is and will be forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, it will continue to make glad the hearts of Microsoft stockholders.