Friday, September 24, 2010

It Doesn't Make You a Robot

I know I am supposed to play it all cool and techno-savvy. And I am pretty good with buttons and wires and stuff. I should function on this site as if there is a USB/Mr. Data hookup to my head that runs right into the computer and I should spout out words like "resolution" and "upload" and "server" in the same breath with references to peanut butter and jelly, right? But, can we all stop playing cool here for a minute? The Internet is pretty neat. So is technology, in general. 

We could treat technology in two polar-opposite ways: We can act like giddy, techno-drunk morons with pictures of our new iPads above the mantle where Grandma used to be, or we can posture ourselves as throwbacks -- tortured souls who "would rather use pencil and paper." There has to be, as usual, a better place in the middle, don't you think?

Today I was checking my blog stats. I got hits from Romania. Whether or not they are accidents is not the point.  Romania!  I also got some from Russia. I'm in the US. That's far.  I have had this blog for about two weeks. Japan, South Korea, Ireland, the UK, Canada (but I know who that is -- a former butler of mine) have all clicked on here, too. The other countries may have been mistakes -- a click or two apiece -- but the Romania person may be for real -- nine hits.

Are you sticking with me? If you are the person in Romania, please leave a comment. Say hello. It would make my century, because the Internet is cool beyond belief.

Most people who have lived in "golden ages" weren't aware of it when they were living through them. Let's pause for a minute and soak it in: We live in an age where technology is allowing musicians to get their music out to people, instantly, and where writers can communicate with the world, instantly. No stuffed shirts need to validate them with contracts. Soldiers in Afghanistan can Skype with their wives and kids. In short, this cold technology can help us to warm up to each other and to express ourselves. This isn't something new that I'm pointing out, but many still see computers and iPhones as a dark machinery -- as a replacement for the human touch. Well, they ain't -- not unless we insist on seeing it as such. Hamlet said "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." (Granted, things did not work out well for him, but he was right about that.) If we insist on thinking like humans, we will never become robots, no matter how much chrome surrounds us.

That being said, time for a shameless promotion of some good fortune that came out of the Internet and this blog. I am now a contributing writer for When Falls the Coliseum -- a journal of American culture [or lack thereof]. It is a great online magazine, with a bit of a trailblazing history, full of excellent articles. My first article, "In Defense of Shameless Pleasures" was published yesterday. Please check it out by clicking on the title you just read. (The preceding piece of advice was brought to you by TASFPPAP -- the American Society for the Preservation of Pencils and Paper.)


  1. my catfish story was better. just saying.

    im not the person from romania. don't get your hopes up.