Bryant Gumbel on ‘The Today Show’ in 1994: ‘What Is the Internet, Anyway?’

01.28.11 7 years ago 10 Comments

Ordinarily I shy away from buttcam videos like this, but this absolutely has to be shared: in a 1994 episode of “The Today Show,” Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel stumble through the minefield of a nascent Internet and the difficulty of translating the “@” symbol into the spoken word.

Gumbel: I wasn’t prepared to translate that… That little mark: the “a” with the ring around it?

Lady on the right: At?

Gumbel: See, that’s what I said. Katie said she thought it was “about,” but I’d never heard it said — I’d seen the mark, but never heard it said — and then it sounded stupid when I said it.

Really? Jesus. I mean, come on: it’s called the “at sign.” It doesn’t get much more straightforward than that. And then there’s this:

Gumbel: What is the Internet, anyway? … What, do you write to it, like mail?

Haha, no, silly. You use it for pornography and to share pictures of cats.

I adore videos like this. It’s like going back in time and seeing people terrified by the first cars. “A horseless carriage? But how does such a beast operate?”

[via @mikeryan]

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