Date: 2016-08-08 01:00 am (UTC)
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (0)
From: [personal profile] morbane
Yes! Good.

Aw, this made me smile! I was caught up in that too; by 1998 I was online, though I can't remember if at the time I'd read this story I was still mostly just using askjeeves and altavista for homework (I was 12) or if I'd progressed to Pokémon through Geocities and Tripod. But I could already recognise some aspects of my online life in this story, and it has continued to resonate in that way. (Yes! You are my internet friend. You are also simply my friend.)

But I also love coming back to this story and thinking about the negative aspects: when you lend your strength to something bigger, are you also abrogating responsibility for what is done with that strength? People want to do nice things - and that desire to do nice things can be manipulated; people can be led to do things that are unethical if it helps them maintain that self-image of kindness and generosity.

And I love best at all that that negative aspect has not dimmed the positive aspects of the story for me. This is a really human-centred story, and it's not wholly positive or negative, because both those choices are available.

I love the moment with the coffee: I am a sucker for people who navigate multiple identities and spaces, and yet whose identities come to intersect in powerful and uplifting ways. I love that the message for the guy who needed the coffee can be translated as you have always been surrounded by friends. That moment of the person you don't know is actually your friend is, well. I'm running out of words for how much that speaks to me, how much power it has.

Yeah, I'm all tangled up about Cat Pictures, Please! I have a lot of criticisms of it, and yet I can see some cool things it's doing, too. And I wouldn't feel so emotional about the criticisms if it weren't shortlisted for a major award.
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