A long-overdue letter and recent drama

By | May 28, 2008

To: The Internet
From: Etana
Subject: There appears to be a problem….
Date: Right now, tomorrow….

It appears that we have a problem, internet. There are those that access you from points of the globe I can’t control. This would include the desk across the office from me and the cyber café across the ocean. There are people typing things and posting things and copying things that I can’t moderate. I can’t grammar-check, spell-check or simply content check.

Usually this doesn’t bother me. I wouldn’t generally take time out of my and your busy, important day to note this in such an open and irritatingly juvenile space. However today was a particularly bad one and I felt the need to bring a few things up to your attention. I wish that you would address them immediately and develop a protocol for avoidance in the future, though I realize this is impossible and ridiculous at best. I’ve constructed my complaints in a list for easy reading.

• Bigotry. It’s not easy leaving my house, internet. It’s not easy knowing that I will inevitably get grabbed, yelled at, harassed, run into, run around, avoided, talked down to, avoided, or mocked as soon as my hand locks the door behind me and my feet hit the cement. So why do you have to employ such physical methods across my screen? Now sure, I understand what you’re thinking. “Oh etana!” you say, “it’s just words, you can scroll past!” but I can’t scroll fast enough, dear internet, and the ability to re-post with a vengeance is all the rage these days.
• Assumption. You see, I do things for a variety of reasons the least of which usually involves my disabilities. Lately I’ve read a lot of assumptions about actions and reactions being chalked up to disability or perceived disability. I’m not really okay with that. I’m not okay with the overall assumptive attitude folks can take on the internet – defining someone else’s behavior for them.
• Mixed Media. Sure, you’ve got my personal information cached on google. Sure, I realize that my privacy policy and your privacy policy generally clash and I’m going to loose. But do you have to be so blatant about it? Really? Can you get your community of users to play fair and keep things online? It would be really, really helpful in honing my hacking skills if I didn’t have to include maps of people’s actual physical locations. Plus, it’s hard to remember real names vs. online personas.
• Photoshop. I know you didn’t invent it, I know! I’m not blaming you for it, I blame Adobe and geeks everywhere. Mostly I blame sighted people, but that could run into the ‘bigotry’ point so I’ll leave it at that (though that’s a passive-aggressive way of saying I’m not leaving it at that and you’ll have to talk to me personally to hear my bigotry, huh?). Anyway, Photoshop. I have a problem with it. As an Othered (that would be non-normal, eh?) body I’m irritated at all the times people can crop my features to fit their idea of what it should be. Whether that includes a white frown face instead of my giant zit-infested cheek or a bulbous ass where a forearm would go or simply a smaller thigh and reduced double chin, I’m not having it. I would rather photos remain as they are thank you very much, inaccessible and completely irrelevant to reality. This cropped and shopped shit has got to stop especially if it involves crudely drawn frown-faces….or was that your way of telling the shopper that you agree with me? Hmm….
• Erroneous labeling. Far be it for me, dear internet, to say it like it is and then demand that everyone else repeat after me, but can we please extend that train of thought to the rest of your community of users? I’m quite fed up with business as usual, and I’m equally as tired of conversations getting turned in to “but I don’t feel that way/do that/think that” meta-convos. It’s irritating. If you’re going to let websites hotlink and hotlink and go on and on and cache to their little RAM’s content, could you also please send out a quick reminder that individual reactions do not equate group or another individual’s reaction?

Internet, I would like to think that we can come to some sort of an agreement on this one. Perhaps we will have coffee and discuss it later. Perhaps you will reply with a thoughtful analysis of my Diaspora as it were. Either way, I’d like to stop banging my head against my keyboard and stabbing a desk when opening up my browser of choice. I’d also like to spread my identity across your nether-regions and know that although 8 gazillion people will mock me, you will at least do well to truly delete things if they must be deleted and not cache them for future use. I don’t ask for anonymity, just cryptic misanthropy. I’m okay with the flack for existing here as a disabled, fat, poor, frizzy-haired person of questionable taste. You take care of the rest.

Otherwise there will be mutiny.



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