tonight’s panel of white men talking about the internet was an exercise in masculine melancholy: sadness over surveillance; the lament that “google just gives you access to your own shit…it just gives you you”; obituaries for the undone histories of the web.
finally the girl sitting next to me—who was also wearing a hello kitty sweatshirt, a plaid kilt, and a headband with a bow—raised her hand and accused the group of talking only about “the internet they remember, not the internet as it is now.” “i don’t know how old you are, but i can guess,” she added. she said that maybe the reason scholars aren’t doing histories of the internet is because internet users are already doing new forms of historiography. i was beaming the whole time, and then she got to the part about how we should be talking about the internet in terms of magic and ritual: “i love guy debord, but come on.”
"institutional reality is 20 or 30 or 40 years behind," said one man, defensively. and then: "if you critique the institutional arrangement you will not be rewarded for it."
the girl spent the rest of the time typing on her computer, talking under her breath, and rattling a plastic bag. after everyone clapped and stood up for drinks she walked right up to the panelists and started talking again. i wanted to wait until she was finished with them so i could congratulate her, but she didn’t appear close, and i was really ready to get out of there.
i was thinking about the CFP i reblogged last night and it reminded me of one of my favorite tumblr posts of all time. i haven’t been estranged from my dissertation this year just because of romance; it’s also because i just can’t stand to deal with these dudes or their work. marc used to bribe me to go to some of their talks by taking me out to dinner in manhattan after, but even the 100 layer pasta at the bar at del posto can’t get me to read thousands of pedantic pages (or five) on game theory. or whatever they’re talking about. i seriously don’t care.
the good news is that i can critique the institutional arrangement, more and more, because i rely on any beneficence it has left less and less. but i don’t know if that’s really how i want to live in the world.
this girl is still my hero. “i love guy debord, but come on.”