Why I won't get off the internet

[I'm eastsidekate and I'm new here? I've been around since the days when Melmanda Marcewen was terrorizing America (sorry to bring it up, tho' I love that graphic). Liss recently gave me the chance to become a contributor. After a weekish of posting, I've finally put together a comprehensive history of my life, as it pertains to the internet.]

:clears throat:

I won't get off the internet because I'm depressed. I play the same damn stuff over and over and over in my head. Always have, probably always will. It's really useful for me to process stuff by putting it into words, getting it out of my skull, and discussing it with other people. It's also useful for me to discuss what's in other people's skulls.

I won't get off the internet because I'm transsexual. As far as I can tell, transsexual people invented the internet as a way to share information about, um, how to survive, as well as a means of starting vicious flame wars. I understand that some people have corrupted the 'net to the point that folks now watch Lady Gaga videos and share large scientific data sets, but that's not so much my fault. Except for the data sets. I apologize.

It would be hyperbole to say that the internet saved my life. Or maybe not. I honestly don't know. I do know that hearing stories from folks who came out without internet access sends chills up my spine and makes me a bit nauseous. The internet is a good thing. I can use it to find people who are just like me. Once I developed skills at that, I used the internet to find out (and gasp, interact with) people who weren't exactly like me. That's been pretty useful, too.

I won't get off the internet because I'm a feminist. I enjoy tons of privileges, including, but not limited to the internet. However, that gender transition? Involves a massive amount of self-examination, and a massive loss of privilege. I've got a lot of first-hand knowledge that I didn't have several years ago, and it's been really useful to discuss that knowledge with others, and put it into the context of other people's experiences.

I won't get off the internet because I'm a writer. I came to Shakesville when I was finishing my Ph. D. thesis, and also trying to find a job in the academy (and also starting puberty-- I don't necessarily recommend that combo). I faced a lot of criticism that I wasn't exactly like a scientist, what with the earrings, and the use of active voice in my writing and whatnot.

The internet can be an amazing place to write. We can be playful here. See Liss' post about neologisms. They're not just for funny-- they're also meaningful. Recently, Sady fucking Doyle wrote an epic post about why she makes jokes on the internet (so she uses this word in the title I don't much like, but I still have a writer crush on her, okay?). If you haven't read it yet, I encourage you to. I'll wait.

And wait.

Hi! One of the women I admire most is the late Molly Ivins, who was effectively forced out of a job with the New York Times (or at least made to feel unwelcome), on account of how her vicious use of the English language was fomenting a pervy leftist revolution or some such bullshit. My dream is for all of us to get fired from the Times.

Lastly, I won't get off the internet because I'm an educator. I don't plan on talking much about my paying job (because I'm professional?), but it definitely relates to the 'net. I teach at a “non-traditional” college. One of the things we do is allow students to receive credit for college-level learning they've acquired in life-- with or without the help of pointy-headed know-it-alls. And I keep learning my feminism on the street. And on the internet. And what I've learned about feminism and social justice and activism is at least as important as anything I've ever learned in a classroom. So, there's that.

I'm fortunate enough to have the freedom to experiment in how (and what, for that matter) I teach. And you can learn a lot on the internet. I'm learning a lot about teaching (and learning) from the internet. In a very real sense, Shakesville is closely related (and perhaps intertwined) with my professional life. With slightly more swearing. I hope.

So that's me. Oh, and I have cats.

I'm really, really happy to be here, because I love this community, and view it as yet another home. Folks here are amazing, and not just Liss and all of the contributors who have been here forever, but also everyone who contributes at any level. That Clay Shirky guy's right, y'all are doin' it right.

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