Lately I've been more interested in gaming and gaming subculture rather than what popular culture is interested in at the moment. When I'm not gaming, I'm reading (Cheever at the moment).
So I hopped on Salon and read an interesting post from a writer obsessed with Mormon homemaking blogs. I never knew such a thing existed. Of course, I have browser folders full of links to interior decoration sites and crafts. But I never stopped to discover the religious backgrounds of the people writing these little journals.
I clicked on a link listed in this article. And was treated to something really more personal and yet more shallow than anything I've seen before online. The writers were so enthusiastic it made me wonder if they were on a form of anti-depressant. There wasn't much substance but a lot of photos. So much so that even my high speed connection groaned under the weight of processing all that visual data. The writers were so intent on proving that they were happy and successful that it served as a some kind of counterpoint to a John Cheever story.
In Cheever's, "The Enormous Radio", a couple is able to hear the personal conversations of their neighbors. In which they discover the happy people they knew were not so happy. In the process the reader discovers that the couple have quite a few skeletons of their own. The internet itself is a reversal of Cheever's story. In such that we are already privy to each other's personal foibles
Despite the personal nature of the forum, the internet only shows us surface. The machine turns us all into shiny surface. What we choose to share just becomes more surface. Internet is not depth. Its show business. Its advertising space. Its anything but personal interaction. Which is why we shouldn't be fooled by Facebook things into thinking we are being transparent.
No matter how much these Mormon housewives share of their lives online or any of us, it is all ultimately shallow. The internet makes us all cotton candy headed bubbas and bubettes. Then the advertisers come along and slap an ad over it all. Cheapest space they ever had to pay in the history of their profession.
Labels: blogging, commentary, culture, virtual reality