Monday, October 16, 2006
I am online now. With me is my i-pod, playing Bonnie Bailey’s “Ever After” which, after having downloaded from Limewire more than a year ago, still enchants me. Fancy thinking how I need not fork in a part of my allowance to purchase an exorbitantly-priced house music compact disc containing this song as well as other chillout melodies. All I have to do is surf the net for the right sites, search by typing the title of the songs I’m obsessed with at the moment, and voila! The artist with his recurrent bass drum and crystal water effect croons before my auditory sense. I text my friends and drive them envious by boasting that I beat them into possessing the current craze first, and then urge them to check the website so they themselves may reproduce the song in their own i-pods. For those who do not have Apple pods yet, I promise to burn cd’s for them containing the music they can dance to. Talk about distributing goods. Across the global time zones, technology-savvy people likely duplicate what I’m doing for the mean time, conscious that the Internet being a cheaper source of digital information commodity, the better it is for their constrained budget. Why, the present technology merits the probability that exact copies of those contained in commercial digital products may be accessed even by the not-so-experts. I hear Bonnie Bailey whisper “You are my…twisted sunshine!” over my earphone and I recognize that this same girl is the one who rendered the original lyrics I hear in the malls, in the beaches, everywhere. I bet my dwindling peso that even the Net-accessing humans in far-flung Africa and the isolated Pacific can shake their booty to the tune of “Ever After” in their burned cd’s, as do the lower middle-class patrons of Cubao and Quiapo pirated cd’s. The pirates may have stolen the thunder of a royalty from the song copyright owners but hey, reproducing Bonnie Bailey has democratized the world at-large.
A Yahoo messenger interrupts my Youtube viewing of the hilarious Michael V. video “Hindi Ako Bakla.” My States-based classmate says hi, asking how things are going in the Philippine Islands. I’m pretty sure CNN has already informed her and the rest of the world that a miracle happened when the latest storm wandered away from the Manila just when it followed the heel of the other typhoon that battered Bicol Region. I tell her about the fugitive weather disturbance anyway, happy that everyone’s fine and would she love to send a video of her come Christmas so that the other high schoolmates may be updated on her way of spending the yuletide as an expatriate student. A little while and she is sending a bulky file of what proved to be a video. It makes me want to laugh and cry simultaneously to witness a slideshow of our old-time pictures back in high school, a product of her longing to be hanging around her reliable friends half the world away, more than of the dependability of the technology. Before chatting goodbye to one another, I request for her to inquire on the distance learning module on a certain graduate degree not for myself but for my sister who has just earned her degree from the homegrown State University. Owing to her demanding work in a giant media network, my sister laments that she can’t physically pursue graduate course offshore, so she opts to grab the next best thing: to join the growing clamor for online studies whatever Western institution offers such.
I don’t at once resume my video Googling after chatting with my trans-Pacific friend, for a buzz and a series of kissing emoticons bombard my computer screen. I am brought to chuckling when I discover that it is my male friend whom I just had class with hours ago. Not as if the kisses mean any more than a friendly gesture, but it cross my mind that the icons showing emotions make the person at the other end online seem next to me, smooching me with puckered wet lips. All the better if kisses were done online, for I don’t wanna be smothered by the saliva of the countless people sending me online kisses. The cyberspace is heaven-sent for its neither-here-nor-there space reality. The in-between-ness clips distances and, at the same time, prevents maniacal chatters from showering me with authentic goo, never mind the million times the circular yellow icon swells in the lips to deliver virtual smacks.
At the last minute, an e-mail from my teacher informs me and the rest of my Yahoogroup classmates that the deadline for our paper due the next day was moved, owing to vigorous complaints from most of the class. Thanks heavens as well as Yahoo site! Without having to bother myself rushing for the said paper, I am saved from going sleepless the night through just so I will be able to beat the arranged time. See, unlike when I have to go to school bodily, I do not have to get really dressed up to know about this class development. I imagine my teacher and the rest of the online classmates to be just like what I am in: pajamas and oversized night shirt. Funny how institutional problems get solved with people concerned not in their expected power suits, but in their lousiest clothes instead. When online, I do not have to look really immaculate with neatly combed hair and made up face under the pains of not being paid attention to by my class crushes; the grace under pressure is lax when I’m chatting while in the comfort of my home.
“__________ has tagged you!” screamed the next e-mail. That virus-infested message again, I thought. My friends desperately protested that such a mail hacked into their account, so I am rather cautious not to check on it lest I spread hate instead of love. Apparently, virus developers do not stop at trying to down virtual systems the world over, but I remember that a Filipino college dropout beat them to it. Years ago, the spread of the I Love You virus hacked into the US Pentagon, no less, among other global institutions from Japan to Scandinavia. Such mischief can only be lauded by the diabolically mad, or at least an idiot of a president. Instead of criminalizing the said malicious hacker, that would-be deposed president even tapped him as a genius worth taking care of. No law hauled the “genius” into the prison cell, and I vaguely heard he is now under computer training abroad since his expertise cannot be used hereabouts. To the people behind the guy’s training, never mind if the virus developer caused the sufferance of the soft files of parliamentary governments, banks and personal e-mail accounts. When I return to reality, I zap away the virus e-mail into the oblivion of cyberspace and proceed in Googling other hilarious videos over at Youtube.
So this is the Friendster-like testimonial of my young life as a technology-dependent geek. I’m absolutely certain that not a few geeks like me will find parallels to my experiences (even our lives are, like, duplicated if not fileshared, tsk tsk). After all, it is we who compose the information society, a society wherein people from all walks of life across the enormous world get together in one tiny global village, exchanging and accessing information all in the name of knowledge. Not many of us mind any more of the moral-ethical repercussions of having to copy the copy of the copy of the copy, ad infinitum, of the original, which is more likely to be patented for intellectual property. We are the information society delivering hi’s and hello’s and how are you’s over the cyberspace, defying time zones because we are located in different hemispheres and practically debilitating the snail mail and other slower forms of communication. Only, we have this virtual communication as a favorite substitute for genuine same-time-and-place bonding. This information technology generates not only benefits for but also menaces on the society relying on it, complicating life but whose owner is willing to negotiate if only because the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages. Who or what is to blame? The modernity? The Internet? The addicted users? My fast-paced time does not allow me to answer the question above, for I’m preoccupying myself watching my all-time favorite “Toxic” video by Britney Spears and her court of hot and spicy guys. Her big splashing return to the pop scene is a more pressing issue than the scapegoat thing for many geeks out there. Why not, she has filed divorce from that Fed(erline)-Ex guy and is now seen cavorting Hollywood with new “bestest” friend, pop rival Paris Hilton. The latest news, as I expect, is churned out from Yahoo.