Personal Statement

elisabeth's personal statement



I had a bad dream once about one of those AT&T commercials...you know, the ominous "YOU WILL" deals, the ones that threatened to force that relentless parade of gadgetry down our collective throats until we, like the Borg, worked as one. Or maybe they weren't so bad...I just remember a woman in the office in which I worked coming in one morning, all distressed, as she took each child-bearing age female aside and made them swear that they would never "tuck their babies in over the phone". Most of these ads are, of course, missing from the airwaves...still, the paternalistic tone rankled. And the way they were filmed and edited, designed to punch all those "with it" buttons...arrrgh.


I'm not ingenuous enough to propose that the idea of knocking our gods is a new one; the Greeks loved to put their deities through humiliating experiences and comeuppances too. But the sheer velocity at which the mass media in this country sniff out the "hot topics", set them up, hype them into superstardom, only to tie a carrot on their nose and label them witches (like in that Monty Python movie) is staggering. More frightening is that there are those that buy it. Whether or not they actually believe the statistics or the studies or the lurid headlines, there does seem to be an appetite for it. Even if it functions as entertainment, the fact that the market exists at all scares me.


A very tiny portion of our population is actually on-line, but the idea of it all is a part of the mind of anyone watching TV, and that constitutes a much bigger percentage. A mythology has long been developing around the "Internet" (I can't even begin to imagine what the "Internet" looks like in most people's heads), with its own vocabulary, it's own graphic design, advertised to death by bodies that often appear to have no idea at all how it works, just that it is capable of wringing out strong emotion. How the Net is portrayed to those who don't use it may have a lot more to do with how it is handled in the future than the stuff of which it's made.