Saturday, April 5, 2008

Daria Discusses the Internet

Oh, what the heck, one more before going out to dinner with the family.

Daria's webpage from 2001 or so has the usual SF-alter ego, the usual stack of link buttons on the left, and the usual ranting we expect from her. The rant follows.


In cyberspace, you can be male or female, young or old, left-handed, right handed, or ambidextrous. (But be prepared for people getting the wrong idea about ambidextrous.) Freed from mundane physical reality, your virtual self can soar like an eagle through distant universes (or, if you still have dial-up, limp like a three-legged dog to the middle of the block).

Fueled by curiosity and free trial memberships, I left behind my mundane incarnation as a bespectacled suburban teenager to enter a digital miasma of ever-shifting identity where one can take on the role of wise druid, alien life form, or crabby old man ranting about the New World Order.

I was intrigued by the possibilities. For about five minutes. Then I realized that I had entered a world where people waste thousands of hours trading imaginary gold pieces and finding new ways to make faces out of punctuation marks.

What else did I discover? That people are willing to discuss their most intimate feelings with strangers they would cross the street to avoid in real life, and that an awful lot of guys choose to believe that a comely vixen's first choice in Saturday night entertainment is typing on a keyboard in hopes of meeting someone who can see past their looks.

Conclusion? Roleplayers are in danger of shutting out the real world entirely and retreating into a warped, subjective mental landscape. Cyberspace anonymity encourages antisocial, antagonistic behavior without the deterring fear of getting your ass whipped for real if you offend someone.

So maybe it's a good thing after all.

No comments: