Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Internet and Shame

One man posts a video of his child driving a car, and suddenly this is some great no-no, an act of unbridled stupidity?

Isn't going out onto a backcountry road and getting a taste of adulthood one of the great joys of childhood? I would like to know how people haven't had this experience as children. Would a video of a child toasting and sipping some wine at Christmas meet with the same approbation? After all, drinking under age is illegal, isn't it?

It seems here that what's really wrong is posting the video. In this way the Internet seems far, far less like a democratic forum, where people vote and deliberate, and more like a courtroom, where people judge and sentence others. This distinction seems be and large to have been lost on people.

So as one fixes their lives online, those lives get fixed to the law, and out the window are all the informal and subtle rules and pleasures of a culture.

I promise soon to post more optimistic things! I am just getting the hang of things after a long absence.


James Ashley said...

A wonderful observation, Andrew. Perhaps it's finally a propitious time to fish out Foucault's Panopticon and throw it back in the meme-stream.

I once had a prof who liked to quote Elvis on this matter. Elvis, apparently, liked the night, because at night it was as if God wasn't watching.

Andrew W. said...

Out of the mouths of kings...the panopticon is an interesting thought, because on the net, we seem to be both prison guard and prisoner...