Tuesday, February 16, 2010


This blog post by Mary Scriver is an editorial with a lot of judging going on. I want to know why I have to limit my so-called real friends to relationships defined by the past. I do not want my grandmother's friends. I want my friends and who is qualified to tell me that my Internet friends are of less value and that they are plastic like legos. Is this to piss me off? I wish Tim will tell me but he will not. "Tell your story your way," is what he always says. "Mary did. Now, it is your turn." I have found many friends who are good friends and supportive human beings and I have found them through social networks. They are not legos. I resent being called one. I am their friend and I am not a plastic person or a cheap toy and I am not a Rolodex. No one uses a Rolodex no more.

There are other implications like the one where it is judging to say that my social network friends are like fundraising. Just because someone has found Cinematheque through a social network does that mean that their financial support is not supportive? it is safer to be on the Internet than it is to be where people can really hurt you if they have a mind to if they see you as being vulnerable. I am vulnerable. Multiple sclerosis is a disability. It gets worse and worse. Am I supposed to stay in my bedroom a shut in and cut off from the entire world because my Internet friends are not really friends and they are really legos? If the purpose was to piss me off it worked. Am I supposed to say that I am not worthy of having friends in the flesh because I can't always attend social events?

When you started reading this did you say to yourself that this writer is disabled? No because you did not know. I am treated with great equality by my social network friends and the disability only comes up every now and then. They see me as a person first and if they know about the MS it is not like the big deal it is when they know me sitting in a wheelchair. They do not feel sorry for me and I do not need or want their pity. I type with a pencil in my mouth. Does that make me into a thing that can only connect to other things? Why are we things and only people who know other people and are friends with them the old way when there were no computers can be friends and we are not really friends? Because people might not disclose on the social network? People do not always disclose face to face. Mary's aversion seems to me to be coming from a couple of places. One of them is generational where the word friend is supposed to mean sight-to-sight, flesh-to-flesh. In person. That is only one way of communicating. Am I not supposed to use the touch talker on my computer because it is not really talking and it is only a machine? I will not do it. I will use my touch talk machines TextSpeak and I will be heard by anyone I want to talk with. There are many ways to know people. I feel like Mary is putting one of the ways I find friends down and sort of making fun of it with disdain by putting me in the same category as a list. Am I an impersonal person who functions like a snap-together life?

One of my social network friends works for an airline and he has made it possible for me to travel to foreign countries. He has changed my life. He has removed barriers. Am I supposed to say that our relationship has no worth because it started on Facebook? The old way is always the better way. It is not better for me. I love computers. I have friends because of computers. Not many people know this but my friend at the airline has MS, too. We connected through a group. His MS is not as bad as mine and he can work. Are we not supposed to connect because we are just names on a list. Mary doesn't know what she is talking about. It is a complaint. If someone does not want to be on a social network who is holding a gun to their head to do it? But to put down a way many people use to make contact with other people is I think kind of mean.

Mattathias Athanasiou

(Matthathias is a member of Cinematheque in Paris. I have not edited whatsoever.)

1 comment:

prairie mary said...

As aside from Tim Barrus:

I was reluctant about social networking. But I have learned it is not one big commercial. If you're selling something, and writers are always selling what they do, or how do we survive, it is most likely to be about the numbers. I can't make a personal contact with every person who buys one of my books. But I can take them to another level of my thinking.

But I am not Mattathias. What Matt is good at is putting my hypocrisy in my face. Here I am telling him that building a support system is important (and he is awesome at it because he has learned to be) but I was pushing social networking away.

He's right.

There are good people in the world. I just wish there were more of them. How a Mattathias finds them can be done any number of ways. It's important -- especially for someone physically disabled -- to build that system as best he can. His life depends on it. -- t