The Global Village

This week, as I’ve read through the blogs I follow, I’ve been struck by much how the internet has broadened the field of people we relate to.

For example: Cara at The Curvature posted yesterday to say that Yoko Ono had emailed her to thank Cara for her essay, and has republished it on her own site.

Wow. Can you – the pun’s unavoidable – imagine?

Less illustriously, I’ve spent the last few days reading and wincing my way through the cultural appropriation trainwreck that happened within the sci-fi/fantasy professional crowd on livejournal. As a result, I’ve got definite opinions on several of the authors who sit on my shelves, and on several people working in editing and publishing besides. That’s rife around livejournal: post after post of people hurt or appalled or both, who assert that they will now never recommend, buy or read work by any of the authors involved.

In a fannish community like lj, reputation and recommendations are your currency. The lesson: well, don’t be a racist asshole, but also: you’re in public. It might feel like a heated conversation across a pub table, but the result is real hurt, real anger, and real showing of asses to the masses.

The internet has done strange things to our boundaries. I’m of the last generation who will find it noteworthy to strike up a friendship with a favourite author or seven via their blog. We can reach out to people we’ve never have been able to before – but they can reach back. Most days, I find that exciting – the ideas to be exchanged! Sometimes, it’s terrifying. Others… just a trainwreck.

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