Maura Magazine | Precipice


Back in the dialup era, February was notorious among the denizens of a bulletin board I frequented; without fail, it would be the month when so many long-simmering disagreements would boil over and catch fire, causing multi-post back-and-forths, resigning of conferences, snipey private-conference messages, and, sometimes, real-life dissolutions of friendships. The story went that even though it was the shortest month on the calendar, it was the most brutal, what with the cold (the BBS was based in New York City) and the resultant cooped-upness and the bad feelings surrounding Valentine’s Day for the coupled and uncoupled and the accelerated cycles of various bills and other factors. And then March would come in all lion-like, no doubt in part because of all the fomenting angst that February had caused, and most of the bad feelings would blow away with the flowering of spring and all its attendant new beginnings.

Today is the final day of March 2013’s third week, and I daresay that as far as Internet Conditions go, this month is not all that better than its nasty, brutish, and short predecessor—and it has the added detriment of being three days longer. Outrage cycles have moved along at a constant pace, with actions and reactions bumping in to one another—the Steubenville verdict and certain media outlets’ victim-blaming reaction to the Steubenville verdict, Michelle Shocked’s live-tweeted monologue about her feelings on homosexuality and her long, painful campaign railing against the reaction to it, the announcement of Google Reader’s death and the panicked reaction from people who still read words on the internet. Plus your usual debates over free culture, institutionalized sexism, institutionalized sexism in the tech world, free culture and the tech world, and the tech world itself. Heck, I had to remind myself that Enlightened got canceled only 48 hours before this issue went to press. Even though the news elicited a tweet from me in which I said “fuuuuuuuck you” to a corporate entity’s Twitter account. (Very mature, that.)

Appropriately, then, this issue is all about people on the verge. Not of snapping, mind you (could you imagine a whole issue about that?), but rather on the edge of discovering important things about themselves and their places in the world.