Authoritarian states could not deal with VHS. Theyw ill not deal with the Internet



‘VHS vs. Communism’
[Via Daring Fireball]

Ilinca Calugareanu:

I was raised in Romania in the 1980s, under a Communist regime that, among countless repressions, reduced television to two hours a day of dull propaganda, traditional music, patriotic poems and censored films. One day when I was 6, my parents found a way to borrow a VCR. They invited their friends, and all night they watched grainy VHS tapes of Hollywood B-movies. I remember the films, but more so I remember how I felt when I stepped into the living room — like walking into a secret, magical and free world.

All the dialogue on these movies was dubbed into Romanian in a husky, high-pitched woman’s voice. Throughout my childhood, these films provided a glimpse into the forbidden West, resplendent with blue jeans, Coke and skyscrapers. As Hollywood movies became ubiquitous through the black market, this voice became one of the most recognizable in Romania. Yet no one knew who she was.

After the 1989 revolution I learned the true story, which I present here in this Op-Doc video.


What a cool story. The difference one person can make. Then a few, Then a nation.

People find a way because connected networks of human beings working together in communities are smarter than any totalitarian hierarchy.

It may take some time for them to demonstrate their intelligence but history has shown that human social networks always win.