raoin: (naive)
first, read this.

now consider some important things.
1) no American child under the age of 20 or so has lived without the internet present somewhere in their lives. most cannot even remember a time when they did not have it.

2) the first internet capable phones were introduced in japan in 1999, and sending picture texts has been available to average American phone users for at least the last five years.

good. now keep those in mind.

i'm going to start by positing something that i find to be so QED that i dont feel the need to cite it. We, the people aged 30 or younger, were raised differently than our parents in a cultural milieu that was significantly different from theirs.

the point of interest here, there are many, is specifically centered around privacy and personal space. In this i mean to point specifically, and so i will also posit the fact that i have been posting facts about myself to the internet since i was 13 (i had my first website on geocities and it wasn't very good, but it was all me). i like examples, i think they help draw things more clearly. there, you now know something about me.

when looking at the differences between my generation and my parents' generation i find more examples. there was a time in American history when you could hitchhike across the country without worrying about being kidnapped, molested, or killed. there was a time in American history when you could be famous and then fade away and no one would know where you went and a time when in order to be famous everyone had to have seen your face. there was a time when you would drive from one city to the next and in order to know how to get there, you would need to talk to someone who had already been there. these are no longer true things. there are a multitude of people in my generation who have never been viewed but who are famous none-the-less. you see it in the way we problem solve.

do you remember that the height of protest and socially aware effort used to be to get high and hold a "sit-in"? or to march around holding signs and shouting slogans? this mode of problem solving is out-dated. it airs our grievances but does not resolve anything. instead my generation does things differently. a good example to be had is here: i am aware, distantly, of an American woman, Hollis Hawthorn, who is in a coma in india. amid my general network there has been an effort to raise the money to bring this woman home. i do not know her. i have never met her. i have not even met the people who do know her and many still of those that do know her have never met her. this is but the tip of the iceberg. when a friend of Warren Ellis looses her dog, the whole world knows to go looking for it. i do not exaggerate.

we face the benefits and detriments of such things. on the one hand, many people have been able to parlay such awareness into a successful career, business, or social venture. i look here most especially at men like Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik and their insanely successful efforts. oh wait, you might know them as Gabe and Tycho. i will point back to this later. this is important. this means something. half of the success of performers like Amanda Palmer and MC Frontalot are due to their internet presence. due to the fact that at any given moment a fan can both simultaneously hear about their new work and about what they had for lunch. (i didnt eat lunch, i'm fasting. there now you know another thing about me.) the benefits of this kind of social form vary from person to person, but the beauty of knowing is that it brings us one step closer to doing. The detriments to these things are that we know them. I know what the tits of both of my husband's former lovers look like. i know, by his very absence in the friendslists of my friends, that my former boyfriend from high school does not have a facebook account. i know that you hate your boss, that you feel depressed, that you think tattooing the praying hands image is stupid. i know, and i don't need to know. and in knowing all these things, i think i feel close to you, i think i know you, i think i have built a connection and trust and loyalty. a knife in the hand is useful for both killing and cooking.

i do not think my generation takes this for granted. i see in our society that we develop a public person and a private person. the public person often has a different name, a handle, as they used to be called, and this public person represents an indeterminate amount of the private person. Speaking back to Jerry and Mike, Gabe and Tycho, i feel that i know them. i have seen pictures of their children, wives, and girlfriends. i know how they feel about concepts and ideas that i also have interest in. but this knowing is misleading. i do not know them. i have never met them, and while i might value what they offer me, they know even less of me than i of them. still their public names are more proliferate than their private names. i had to search amazon.com just to spell check myself. the Germans differentiate between "kennen" and "wissen" that there are two types of knowing. in English we might grasp this as the difference between experience and knowledge. i could say that i have wissen of the men who are represented by Gabe and Tycho, but i do not have kennen. In English we don't differentiate this very much and i think it may be the source of some of the frustration that my parents' generation feels.

in gathering these thoughts back into the first article linked at the top of this rant, i will begin with this:

i participated, recently, in a research study about cell phones and cell phone features (feel free to sign up, they pay good money) in which a feature brought up was the option to have live streaming video capabilities on phones. they presented it as an opportunity to problem solve: ie. your mom has a broken dishwasher, she calls you and shows you what is broken, you call a friend of yours that knows about dish washers on conference and then together you all solve the problem. in an off moment, it turned out that i was the youngest person in the room and also the only person without children. the first concern from every parent in the room was that their children might end up using the feature of live streaming video for "sexting". i found myself actually surprised as it had never occurred to me to want to do this. i could see them looking at me furtively wondering if perhaps i was among the "sexting crowd". after i heard it though, i could see instantly that yes, the answer was an obvious yes, of course people, young and old, would use live streaming cell-phone video for porn. undoubtedly they already do in Japan (land of all advanced electronics and porn). The moment that we get a new technology we figure out how to apply it to porn. name one thing we havent applied to porn and i will ask you to go sit at Uncle Warren's knee and gaze raptly for that dirty old man will prove me right.

when i think of the girl, Jessica Logan, killing herself because her ex-boyfriend spread naked pictures of her around through the use of cell-phones, i find myself wondering if it had even crossed her mind at the time of the picture taking that such a thing could be shared. and i mean really shared, not just shared with her boyfriend, but with anyone with phone-picture reception capabilities. surely she knew that there is a tendency for text messages go accidentally go to the wrong person, surely she knew that once you created something on the internet, it exists for only as long as people are interested in it. which is a length of time that swings wildly and unpredictably between eternity and never. even if she did not know, even if it never occurred to her, surely after the fact, after going on talk shows and "enlightening" the world to her cause, surely then she might have made peace with what had happened to her. they know what you look like naked. hell, the odds are good that if her ex-boyfriend were one to kiss and tell, that they also know how she fucks, what kind of noises she makes when she comes, and what positions she prefers. i find myself thinking that with a little bit of effort, i could find these things out myself.

I am not alone in this. Think about it. How much of yourself is on the internet, where is that information located, who can look at it? do you realize that this entry is a locked livejournal post? (actually its not because i want people to easily access this, but the rest of my journal is locked, go ahead, search for some entries, i bet you find half a dozen just by googling my LJ name). do you realize that with enough searching i can find this post and read it even without a livejournal account, i simply have to want to look for it.

i come from a generation so inured to transparency that we think nothing of telling complete strangers where we are (iphone apps, satellite gps trackers, on star, twitter, facebook status updates, myspace status updates). so the outrage at this girl having her nakedness put up for all to see does not inherently come from her generation. use it, abuse it, but think nothing of it. she was naked. big deal. if she's good looking she should consider charging, put up her own site, get recruited by playboy or suicide girls (now there's a pun... a bad one). The outrage comes from the generation just before her, the generation that holds and knows no tools for coping with this problem, whose response was to tell her, "sorry, but you're 18, so its ok for them to pass around pictures of you." from the generation that thinks that password locks and channel blocking will protect their children. this same generation thinks that no one would ever track you using the GPS on your phone or car, they think that no one is tracking them when they use their bar coded membership cards at the grocery store, they think that there really are Nigerians looking to give them so money.

There is this idea that if everything is public that privacy is generated in the with-holding of information (what i choose to keep from you, to keep to myself, that is truly secret) and this is not a new idea, humans have been using information as currency and power for as long as there has been information to trade. the more people who know a fact, the less valuable that fact is. This does not save you from them or you from the knowing, but it does mean that their knowledge is not worth a good god damn unless you drive up the price with more hidden information. but when everyone gives the same knowledge, that the knowledge no longer holds value. I'm sure i could search through the records created by the students at Jessica Logan's school and find half a dozen other girls who had their naked pictures texted around.

the crime against Miss Logan is not that she was "tortured" by her classmates. i know of only a scant few people who survived high school without some story to tell of being "tortured" by their classmates. The crime against her was not that her naked body was posted up for all to see. the crime against this girl is that she somehow failed to learn or be taught that this is a penalty of a transparent society. The crime was that she was not handed the tools to cope with public ostracizing, that she was not transferred to a different high school for the remainder of her senior year or home schooled. the crime was that she thought it was worth ending her life simply because so many people had seen her naked.

what does this say about our social conceptions and taboos on sex, depression, and changing cultural structure? what does it say when our anger is about "kids" sharing "sexually charged texts" and not about why suicide was the only way out? why is our anger about spreading sex around, when it should be about being irresponsible with your information and privacy?

I'm gonna let this hang here. I've been revising and writing for most of work today (another fact!) and i don't think this really needs to go any further. children, tell your parents to guard their information or to accept the consequences of sharing.

January 2017

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