March 18, 2023•337 words
In "Promiscuous Fictions", published over 15 years ago, Tyler Curtain neatly summarizes the fantastical fears and anxieties felt when thinking about bloggers and their blogs (a new-ish phenomenon by then):
The nature of the threat's not known, but by many accounts the Blogosphere is a dark, murky ball; gazing into it for too long makes one lose a sense of self. It is better that the mass of humanity stop writing, creating and reconstructing in a form that creates and unmanageable or indescribable public - if not many fragmented publics - in that way that only indiscriminate publication can do.
The fear never really went away. It was bloggers back then. Then it was the Dark Web - replacing one "dark, murky ball" with another. In the UK, right now, it's encrypted communications. (In Florida, it's bloggers again.)
Fortunately, the writing never really went away, either. The reason why many folks are in a rush to decrypt your messages or make a register of bloggers, but not to regulate your bullshitting chatbot, is that the chatbot's bullshit takes away your initiative to write - and by doing so, deprives you of the puissance you get from being part of a dark, murky ball: from the joy of writing, connecting, addressing others, and being addressed. Tyler Curtain again:
Friendships and relationships develop across words and images by people who have never met face to face, and a story emerges about a public, created from links and commentaries, thoughts, reactions, and words. It is a potent fiction with real consequences for desire and affect and learning among and from strangers.
Don't give up on your dark, murky ball just because someone calls it dark, or murky, or woke, or not as effective as AI. There'll always be dark, murky balls in your life, and folks who want to take yours away will only too readily provide ones of their own making. Might as well own the one you spun yourself, the one that makes you feel things.