"Get Out of the Rabbit Hole"

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 04, 2008 8:48 PM GMT
    "As the Internet continues to suck us into a virtual reality, gay culture in the real world is slipping away"
    by Christopher Rice

    http://www.advocate.com/issue_story_ektid58429.asp

    Money quote:

    "But for the most part, the Internet is taking users down a rabbit hole where their behaviors are defined by a noxious blend of arrogance and self-deception bred by isolation."
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    Aug 04, 2008 9:04 PM GMT
    I like the fact that people are increasingly known by their internet names in real life.

    But he's right, it's going to become a big problem soon.
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    Aug 04, 2008 9:14 PM GMT
    The "gay bookstore as secular temple" presumption has always struck me as more than a bit of exaggeration. Gyms, bathhouses, clubs, and bars are less lofty in the sense of self-image some of us might want to project, but they might be just as relevant. Browsing through bookspines on a shelf isn't a sufficient cultural experience for me to share with other homos, and it never (even in the "good old days) created the cultural critical mass to reach most gays anyway, much less influence the broader cultural stream.

    For me, organizing meetings to fight for civil rights, kicking back with friends and randoms at the local gay-ish coffeehouse, and (gasp!) chatting with and then meeting guys on this site and elsewhere are just as culturally sustaining. Even if the Internet is as problematic as Rice fears, buying more books in the gayborhood ain't the panacea.
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    Aug 04, 2008 9:17 PM GMT
    I think its a great tool, but, like anything, abused.

    Its fun to meet and chat with people all over the place....that you would never get to encounter otherwise.

    Setting time limits helps and keeping a balance with it, making sure that real encounters and friends are a part of your life (not that you cant make real friends here, I am speaking of being able to reach out and touch someone physically, get a hug, etc).

    Its great for guys who live in the sticks, but if they find themselves sitting in front of the screen too long getting a curved spine, they should look into getting out more...

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    Aug 04, 2008 9:31 PM GMT
    I love the internet as much as anyone. I use it at home and work. With that said, I think you have to police yourself and realize when it is starting to intrude on real life interaction with real people.

    I think television and video games are probably even worse of a threat to human interaction because they don't require any sort of communication with others. You sit there and watch or play against a computer. How stupid and boring is that?

    I watch maybe 2 hours of TV per week and will never own a video game machine. I would rather be out experiencing life than watching other people pretend to on TV. Likewise, I'd rather be out exploring an ancient castle than making my way through one in a video game.

    There are things worth watching on television, but the list is getting smaller and smaller...

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    Aug 04, 2008 11:21 PM GMT
    BigSETXjock saidThere are things worth watching on television


    Yep...like "Captured On Video!" and "Most Terrifying Car Chases!"

    What would I do without TruTV....or exclamation points, for that matter.
  • kinetic

    Posts: 1125

    Aug 04, 2008 11:32 PM GMT
    jprichva said
    BigSETXjock saidThere are things worth watching on television


    Yep...like "Captured On Video!" and "Most Terrifying Car Chases!"

    What would I do without TruTV....or exclamation points, for that matter.


    LOL!

    These days I watch all my television ON the internet (not more than a few hours a week icon_wink.gif )
    Lately, I've been trying to police my internet use... I usually cut myself off after a few hours; although I often completely forget to log out if I have to run out the door!
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    Aug 04, 2008 11:44 PM GMT
    Gay bookstores as the secular temples of the LGBT community? Where the heck did that come from? I love gay literature but I never thought of Gladday bookstore in Toronto as a temple! And blaming the internet for the death of LGBT bookstores is a bit much. Try consumers (gay and straight) being intelligent shoppers who know they can find any book they want at a cheaper price then what is offered in a bookstore from the comfort of their homes. I have gone into many a gay bookstore and left in frustration because they did not have the books I wanted. If they did then the books were overpriced.

    As for gay men spending hours on the internet on websites looking for hook-ups or spending hours chatting to people they will likely never meet, well that is not big news. Is it anymore wasteful then watching TV fours a day? Probably not. I think at the end of our lives many of us will wonder what we did with all of our time.
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    Aug 04, 2008 11:53 PM GMT
    The internet, like everything but sex, is good in moderation. I usually only pop online when I'm at work and need a short stress break, or at home if I'm in the kitchen, watching a movie, or am otherwise doing stuff. I rarely aimlessly surf.

    I care about the guys I actively talk to on this site. If I catch myself caring too passionately about a topic, though, I know it's time for some fresh air.
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    Aug 05, 2008 12:01 AM GMT
    Seeing that my work entails that I spend about 12 hours in front of the PC, I can't help not peeking every now and then on the internet.

    Blah. It's an addiction.

    I think the reason why the internet plays such a big part on GLBT life is that we often find it more difficult to connect with other GLBT people in real life because there's nothing to separate us from the rest of the world (except the fems of course, but that's another matter). At least in the net, you can know for sure that the other guy's gay... now if only he was real too. LOL icon_lol.gif
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    Aug 05, 2008 12:33 AM GMT
    Let the generation before me learn the world through their computers. That puts me at a competitive advantage, as I was socialized in the real world.
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    Aug 05, 2008 1:42 AM GMT
    ...and now we'll disagree with everyone.

    I worked for the phone co like my Dad before me and you know what people used to say?

    " Get off the phone and spend some time in the real world." Dad and I laughed at that one, because who did everyone think was making those calls? Real people = real world.

    The problem with internet is the ALIAS and the AVATAR. No wonder so many here talk about 'real' friends as opposed to those here. Some websites require that you answer questions you have to read or type in skewed letters and numbers you have to decipher, which helps, but the reality is that the internet has failed an evolving society in this telling respect.

    Both of us consider all of you real people and take what you say and how you behave here as real as someone at the store or work or our kitchen table. I think that what this is about is an attitude towards others on line that borders on fantasy. Yes you can concoct any fantasy about yourself that you want and present it here, but you can do that at a bar too, except that you can't fake your appearance. We don't go by pics, we go by words. We have made a couple of friends on one other forum and met them, though they lived half a world away. The power of the internet indeed. Gosh, they were real people! icon_wink.gif

    PS I can't compare what I see and read here as anything remotely resembling the trash on TV.
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    Aug 05, 2008 1:49 AM GMT
    meninlove said
    ...and now we'll disagree with everyone.

    I worked for the phone co like my Dad before me and you know what people used to say?

    " Get off the phone and spend some time in the real world." Dad and I laughed at that one, because who did everyone think was making those calls? Real people = real world.

    The problem with internet is the ALIAS and the AVATAR. No wonder so many here talk about 'real' friends as opposed to those here. Some websites require that you answer questions you have to read or type in skewed letters and numbers you have to decipher, which helps, but the reality is that the internet has failed an evolving society in this telling respect.

    Both of us consider all of you real people and take what you say and how you behave here as real as someone at the store or work or our kitchen table. I think that what this is about is an attitude towards others on line that borders on fantasy. Yes you can concoct any fantasy about yourself that you wnat and present it here, but you can do that at a bar too, except that you can't fake your appearance. We don't go by pics, we go by words. We have made a couple of friends on one other forum and met them, though they lived half a world away. The power of the internet indeed. Gosh, they were real people! icon_wink.gif

    PS I can't compare what I see and read here as anything remotely resembling the trash on TV.


    Yeah...who needs eye contact, body language, a hug, a handshake, a smile just for you, or a certain tone that lets you know what was really said. Those things are obsolete right?

    The internet lacks these nuances, and reduces us to categories.
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    Aug 05, 2008 2:06 AM GMT


    Of course we need those things, or else why the excitement of meeting guys in person that we'd met on the 'net?

    The point is that this place where we are communicating right now is another part of what is real. It's an adjunct, not a replacement. If I believe you're not real, I won't post a response to you. And I just did. One can't very well say, "If I can't touch it or taste it or smell it, it isn't real."
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    Aug 05, 2008 2:06 AM GMT
    XRuggerATX said Yeah...who needs eye contact, body language, a hug, a handshake, a smile just for you, or a certain tone that lets you know what was really said. Those things are obsolete right?

    The internet lacks these nuances, and reduces us to categories.


    Yo, Rugger, I'm with eddieandbill on this one. I don't think they were claiming that it substitutes for personal contact in all cases....I think they were saying that it is a common and pernicious mistake to think of the guys on here as "not real", when in fact we do have corporeal essence somewhere (just not around your corner).

    I think it's amazing to get to know men I'd never encounter in any other conceivable scenario, even though it doesn't replace my daily interactions.

    Also, I'm listening to Dusty Springfield right now, and she's been dead for years. But at the moment she's entirely alive again, and it's 1966.

    The internet isn't the only simulacrum of life out there. Aren't you at all glad not to be living in the 19th century?
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    Aug 05, 2008 2:06 AM GMT
    The article's tagline should have read "Mediocre author riding on mother's coattails realizes there is an internet. Expresses outrage"
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    Aug 05, 2008 2:08 AM GMT
    MunchingZombie saidThe articles tagline should have read "Mediocre author riding on mother's coattails realizes there is an internet. Expresses outrage"


    Remind me not to piss you off. icon_smile.gif
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    Aug 05, 2008 2:09 AM GMT
    PS

    "...a smile just for you, or a certain tone that lets you know what was really said. Those things are obsolete right?"

    The first can happen with a web-cam, the second with a telephone. Remember, I'm trying to point out that we're not removing from society, we're adding to it.
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    Aug 05, 2008 2:19 AM GMT
    MunchingZombie saidThe articles tagline should have read "Mediocre author riding on mother's coattails realizes there is an internet. Expresses outrage"

    Ha!

    XRuggerATX said Yeah...who needs eye contact, body language, a hug, a handshake, a smile just for you, or a certain tone that lets you know what was really said. Those things are obsolete right?

    Not at all. But those things weren't commonplace for gay men before the Internet, either. Despite the existence of bookstores. A bit of romantic historical revisionism.

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    Aug 05, 2008 2:28 AM GMT

    We gave out our telephone number to a few guys here, and two of 'em called. Very very real. We've made a couple of excellent friends. It couldn't have happened without the 'net. We'll eventually meet, I'm hoping, and THEN there will be all the tactile sensations that go with the visceral world as opposed to the virtual. The virtual world is an invention of the visceral, and now becoming a vital part of it as society (here it comes) goes global.icon_rolleyes.gif

    icon_wink.gif

    In the olden days (pyramids again)there was something called penpals where letters and photographs handled by snail mail was all there was. Now it's instant, and much more of a multi-media event.

    I keep thinking of all those men here that don't live in wonderful neighbourhoods full of accepting people and families...this may be the only place where they get that hug etc. and so the written word will have to be written well.

  • OptimusMatt

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    Aug 05, 2008 2:50 AM GMT
    haha, insert carefully crafted post here.

    What do I have to say to this article? Meh.

    First off, lets address the bookstore - I can find a LOT of books that I'm interested in reading online. I spend hours a day reading on my computer for fun and I'm not isolated in the slightest. I think vilification of the internet as the downfall of human interaction is a bit of a narrow view on the larger picture.

    Humans are evolving, but one of the more persistent traits is that of hypocrisy. It's kind of why I get irritated with those bumper stickers that blame the demise of the auto manufacturing industry on foreign import cars. People want lower prices on comparable merchandise/services and will gravitate towards the cheaper retailer/provider. How many people shop at Wal-mart? Or go through the flyers to find the 'sale' items and then drive around to get the best prices on a limited budget. Really, there never seems to be enough money, and even people who are financially comfortable are that way BECAUSE there never seems to be enough money. They cover their cost of living and are prudent in the items they buy.

    But they still buy. And they probably shop around too.

    To the author of the article - get with the times. I wanted Plato's "The Last Days of Socrates" and I got about a half-dozen copies in 0.16s. Sorry, but that's just too damn convenient for me to pass up.

    And I do see the hypocrisy in posting, but uh...meh. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Aug 05, 2008 2:59 AM GMT
    Isn't the internet the "gay bookstore" of our times? It serves as the same social, political and sexual meeting place the author refers to "back in the day."

    Quite literally, the book aisles I would be perusing in a gay bookstore equate to the cultural fitness and sex sites I visit for social purposes. The human conversations are pretty much the same. Except no lolcats.

    PM8

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    Aug 05, 2008 3:09 AM GMT
    It seems like cyber-gaydom is turning into "whore's row." But I suppose that's job security. LOL.
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    Aug 05, 2008 3:25 AM GMT

    please point out the "whore's" you're referring to, BabiGayPimp. (ironic name)

    not meaning to insult or offend, but we're both missing your point.
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    Aug 05, 2008 12:17 PM GMT
    MunchingZombie saidThe article's tagline should have read "Mediocre author riding on mother's coattails realizes there is an internet. Expresses outrage"

    Down boy, DOWN!!! LOL!