Thursday, September 21, 2006

Reading Boing Boing

So you don't have to. They just linked to Bruce Sterling's new story over at New Scientist: LINK.

I get down on Sterling sometimes, because I feel like he can sometimes be better in touch with technology than humanity. Stories like Distraction, for example, can tend towards over-simplistic characterization, even while they paint a thought-provoking (if cartoonish) vision of a future political and economic system. I suppose this story isn't terribly long on characterization either, but it is short enough that imagination can fill in the blanks. I really like it. I think it handily sums up a whole set of fears about the possibilities of the internet, that much vaulted space of freedom, becoming a space of control.

If I have a criticism, it is this: does this story still frame the issue at hand as a choice between negative freedom and control? Sterling does a good job of bringing in elements that focus on issues of creative expression - the protagonist's banned hobby of graffiti, for example - but there still seems to be a dichotomy of the "mommy state" vs "the electronic frontier." How do we create space of freedom that are not spaces of privilege, as so many spaces of freedom have historically been?

No comments: