I (don’t really) Hate the Internet

Not really. That was just a provocative title.

But: I have to admit, I am having some markedly ambivalent feelings about it. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I’m stuck, for now, with this tiny, crappy netbook — and I feel like I have to hunch over and type on a minuscule keyboard.

What prompted this feeling, though, was an email from a friend. He’d come up with a great idea — and put a ton of effort into it — and now he was asking for help from some of his friends in the execution of this idea. But no one was helping him out. And he was frustrated. And so he wrote back to everyone on the list and told them he was frustrated.

That description was (purposefully), a little vague. But the truth was: I was sitting there, reading my email, and I wanted to help him, I really did. And if he’d been here, in the room, saying: Hey, let’s collaborate on this — I wouldn’t have hesitated. But here I was, on my tiny netbook, and I’d just paid three bills, and read two long emails from work, and I was tired. I didn’t want to interact with a screen, anymore.

See: I worry that the “internet” is failing literature. It is becoming a conduit for information, for commerce, for conversation. But it is not a home for literature, is it? And I wonder if this is because reading is such a solitary act.

Maybe it’s the Tyranny of Commerce. Maybe it’s the Tyranny of Time. Maybe it’s the Tyranny of Popular Culture. It’s something. But I find myself thinking, occasionally, “God, I hate the internet.” But, then, I find myself using it as a vehicle for that very complaint.

One thought on “I (don’t really) Hate the Internet

  1. Not sure reading–of necessity–is a solitary act, anymore than watching a spectacular sunset. Each time I observe a phenomenon like that or read something equally wonderful, I want to nudge someone in whatever way it’s possible at the time. And I sure don’t want to keep my reaction to myself when I come across crappy writing. Sharing outrage, electronically or otherwise, is even more pleasurable, wouldn’t you say? Perhaps switching to an iPad would help.

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