Tag Archives: connection

Gratitude: Connectivity

wi-fi-2119225_640

Seriously, do you remember life before wi-fi? Before dialup? Were we truly even alive?

In some ways the internet is making us all stupider. We don’t have to remember things, because the internet remembers them for us. We don’t have to search for things; the internet does that too, which means we miss out on all the things we would have learned if we undertook our own, more arduous searches. The internet supports the rise of a lowest-common-denominator culture where there are no gatekeepers and anyone can publish anything, so the authority of the average piece of writing can never be assumed. Also, it’s destroying our ability to focus and concentrate. And it’s probably wholly responsible for the rise of white supremacy in America and the election of the current president.

But also, the internet brings us everything: new friends, old friends, music, movies, books, games, homework help, advice, cat pictures, instant news, school, an easy cheat to “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” and the basic sum of all knowledge discovered by our species. Can you imagine going back?

I don’t want to go back, anyway. Not if I can’t telecommute, digitally spy on people from my past, instantly discover the answer to almost any question I might have about the world, share my art with 1000s of people minutes after I complete it, and chat, for free, with anyone, anywhere, any time, in a format that allows me to also do 50 other things without the person I’m chatting with having any idea what percentage of my attention is focused on the conversation.

Despite its drawbacks and abuses, I’m grateful for the internet.

 

Dragon Comics 14

OK, I love this comic. I mean, I must have rewritten Rabbit’s dialog in the 2nd panel 12 times, and I’m still not completely satisfied, but this is precisely what I want to be doing: talking about serious things, and then flipping a switch and falling into a punchline.

This is another best viewed as large as your monitor can handle it, particularly the last panel.

When you don't wear clothes, body paint is pretty much the only way to add color to your wardrobe.

When you don’t wear clothes, body paint is pretty much the only way to add color to your wardrobe.

If you are not familiar with the work of Mondrian, check out this quick GIS. You’ve probably seen it, even if you don’t know his name. In fact, I’m only familiar with his name because I was on the forensics team in high school, in the “oral interpretation” division (i.e. reading out loud) and one of my pieces was Harlan Ellison’s “‘Repent, Harlequin,’ said the Ticktockman,”┬áin which Mondrian is a summation of all that’s wrong with a rigid and orderly mandate┬áin a modern, automated world. I’m not fond of the aesthetic myself.

Of course, Rabbit is adorning Dragon with the iconic image of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” which most people are more familiar with. I have the print hanging on my bedroom door. I’ve also seen it held out as a piece beloved by people who took one art class in college and haven’t looked at a painting since then, but, obviously, I don’t have any space to be snooty about art. It’s a beautiful painting even divorced of meaning, and it had a lot of personal meaning for me. It very much is a work that, to me, expresses the kind of deep connection to the universe, intertwined with awe and wonder for the universe, that I feel when I look at a sunset or a storm cloud.

I learned a lot from studying Van Gogh’s “Blue Irises in a Yellow Vase“; from copying “The Starry Night” I basically learned how freaking amazing Van Gogh was. Do you have any idea how many colors there are in this picture? A lot. Even looking at a very good copy (I recall seeing 3D reproductions that actually used scanning technology to recreate his brushstrokes) you don’t see as deeply into the nuances as you do when you get down to the pixels. Wow. Just wow. I spent more time on “The Starry Night” than I did on anything else this week.