Well, I’m using it right now, if that says anything.
Right, well, the thing about internet is that it has become
well-nigh indispensable and is frighteningly ethereal. I mean, it isn’t like you can hold a music
download in your hands, or carry your picture files in a notebook. They’re all digital. One wrong flick, and whoosh! Everything down the drain.
For someone at college, here at MC or elsewhere, the
internet is a godsend. Hundreds and
millions of sources, secondary and primary sources, at your
fingertips! No more dependencies on huge
musty books in dusty libraries! So many
Well, it seems that way.
But the internet is like anything else.
We use it as a form of communication, as a way to relax, to have fun, to
work, and to do nearly everything else. These
days, even our phones are actually miniature computers, ready to bring us the internet
wherever we are. There’s less need to
learn the painstaking handwriting styles of the past, with computer type. Less need for letters with email, IM, Skype,
and any number of other near-instant communications by-way of internet.
It seems like a blessing, right up until your computer
crashes the day before your huge paper is due.
Right up until some virus steals all of your passwords. Right up until some internet hacker robs you
Okay, so maybe I’m over-dramatizing a little. But really, I find it depressing that the
hallmark of a library now is a computer database, and not a bookcase.
That isn’t to say that I don’t use the internet. I do.
I watch movies, listen to music, read and write and get my information
online just like everyone else does. I
just also value the things I can use without having to make sure that the
little connected sign in the corner of my screen is blue.
Books. Books, books,
books. Books that you can spread out over
a table so that you can refer to five different books at once and scribble notes
to tuck into the pages. Books that you
can use anywhere, no matter if there’s WiFi or signal or anything. Books that sit on the shelf and look beautiful. Speaking of books, I recommend Mercedes
Lackey to fantasy fans, Anne McCaffrey to sci-fi fans, Pillars of the Earth to
history fans, and The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix to anyone who hasn’t read
Music – on CD, on DVD, on just a music file double-saved to
my computer and flashdrive. Music that I
can listen to and music videos that I can watch all the time, without pulling
up Pandora or YouTube.
And then there is the staple of the disorganized student –
the pencil and paper. They tend to float
and flutter about my bedroom like mad birds, really, pencils on the piano and
papers stacked and scattered across stacks of books. Scrawled notes tacked to the wall to remind
me of things and dates and stuff like three assignments for French and start
the darn assignment for English already!
Graphite-smudged pictures drawn during and between classes, poems
carefully curled across lined pages.
Stuff that needs to be signed and stuff that needs to be copied and
stuff that just needs. Paper and
pencil. Really, the most important
things in my life that aren’t books.
So, yeah, the internet.
We’re so much more dependent on it than we need to be. We use it to do things that we’ve been doing
for years, decades, without it – counting the zeros in one billion, looking up
a person’s name, finding the exact definitions of parietal lobe and ethnic and pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis.
Have you ever taken a no-internet day? I’ve done quite a few. It feels surprisingly good, to know that you
can go for over 24 hours without the bright screen in your eyes. There’s actually a week for it, I think… I’ll have to dig through my brother’s back
issues of magazines, I think I read that there.
So really, when it comes down to it, I think that we think
we need the internet more than we really do.
And because I’m feeling particularly daring right now, and
in the mood to stand up to just about anything –
Devil went down to Georgia. He was lookin' for a soul to steal.
He was in a bind 'cause he was way behind. He was willing to make a deal
When he came across this young man sawin' on a fiddle and playin' it hot.
And the Devil jumped upon a hickory stump and said ‘Boy, let me tell you what.’
‘I bet you didn't know it, but I'm a fiddle player, too.
And if you'd care to take a dare I'll make a bet with you.
Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy, but give the Devil his due.
I'll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul 'cause I think I'm better than you.’
The boy said, ‘My name's Johnny, and it might be a sin,
But I'll take your bet; and you're gonna regret 'cause I'm the best there's
- The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Million
Mile Reflections (1979), Charlie Daniels Band
Okay, it was just because it was in my
head. So sue me! I’m resisting the siren call of the internet
as I sign off and go to bed.