Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Internet Will Destroy Us All

Sometimes you discover something on the internet that makes you rethink the greatness of all this inter-connectivity. It's happened to me before when I've been written about by a friend or an ex and sure, I could link to those instances right here and now, but that would further whatever agenda the person writing had, so I won't, because I'd like to preserve at least a modicum of dignity while I still can - *cue laughter.

I'm thinking about personal space on the internet for two reasons: Yesterday my roommate had something posted about her that wasn't too earth-shatteringly awful, but it was something that she, nonetheless, didn't want spread allover your T1 line. Ultimately, the person who put the offending material up had the good sense to take it down, but not until after a day full of Katie wracking her brain over who'd seen said offending material and how she was going to do damage control.

And then there was this weekend when I discovered an online memorial to my mother. Mom died back in 2000 but it's taken me this long to find an eerie little slice of world wide web dedicated to the woman who bore me. God only knows when this baby was put up, but I do know that my father's sister created the "online grave site"... no joke about the name, BTDubs.

I suppose I'm not really offended that this thing exists - it's the thought that counts and at least people care enough to think about her - but I do have a problem with the fact that this thing is so fundamentally tacky. Tell me, can an online memorial ever be tasteful? I tend to think not. I don't know what it is, but it seems that when it comes to the dead, people's lose all control and their emotions get funnelled into the most god-awful displays of excess known to man. Pair that with a shoe-string budget on the internet, and you've got a deadly* combination.

Case in point: I've more than once had to reign in family members who wanted to deck out my mom's real-life grave site with all sorts of hot mess. Garland for Christmas, shamrocks for St. Pat's, plastic hearts for Valentine's... what have you. Not to mention it's like the most precarious of situations to be in because you don't want to upset your loved ones who are already having a tough time of it with the whole dead thing, but you also don't want your mother's grave looking like something that came out of the Lillian Vernon catalog.

I realize that I'm complicit in all this since I write about people I know here, but I can at least be proud of the fact that I've yet to post a single online memorial to anyone.

Wait... does writing about Heath Ledger count? Okay, so I say no because I'm not submitting that post to an electronic graveyard. Ooof. And sucks for families of celebrities like Heath Ledger. If I have one word of advice to Michelle Williams or her daughter, it's that you shouldn't go trolling the internet for traces of deceased family members because you'll more than likely not like what you find. Unless of course your sensibility is of the Harriet Carter variety, and then in that case, go forth brave soldiers into that dark, dark night.

*No pun intended, I promise.

1 comment:

BG5000 said...

I highly approve of that picture.