Tuesday, December 26, 2006
A Place All Our Own
I don't know why this never occurred to me, or anyone else, for that matter, before. OK, every "community" of any note on this planet has a name, something you can call it so that everyone else, least of all the inhabitants, know what you're talking about in reference to that specific location, place, or even state of mind. OUR little, tight knit, diverse and eclectic community deserves no less! So, being the first one to notice this apparently less-than-obvious little conundrum, I, THE Michael, hereby do declare the incorporation of a new town, village, hamlet, spot on the map, insane asylum, special level of hell, or anything else you wish to call it, and while I'm at it, call to order it's citizens to nominate, second, and hopefully, elect a proper title for our new virtual community. Look, gang, we are here, we exist, we matter, we "know" each other, we wave to each other in passing, we share "secrets", cry on each other's shoulders, drink to much, and say things we regret as soon as we hit the "publish" button, so, you tell me, is this not an entity of note? If you prick us, do we not bleed? Have we not waxed poetic and been brutally commented upon by people who love us regardless? I rest my case!
So what if the physical bodies of our citizens happen to be laying around in vastly far-flung locations, some exotic, most not so; we all get rained on, snowed on, or otherwise bothered by some sort of weather we wish would just go away. We are all equally exposed to the evils of climate change in one way or another. We all breathe the same air polluted by the surging economies of the not-so-third world as well as the big bad polluter herself, the U. S. of A. We have all been dragged, some of us kicking and screaming, into the global economy, and probably have a Walmart located nearby to remind us of it. All of us understand English, even if some of us have to suck it up and communicate with it fighting nausea the whole time. Most of us live in something resembling a democracy, even if it doesn't quite live up to the real definition of it. And all of us take a crap sooner or later.
All of us came here voluntarily, even though it might have been a very bad decision overall. All of us remain here voluntarily, despite the effect it has had on our world view. All of us have heard the viewpoints and biographies of people who don't look like us and have come back for more regardless, which might imply most of us are masochists, but perhaps that's an apt description of those willing to walk on hot coals for the chance to get to the other side of a truly bothersome divide, that divide being ignorance, intolerance, and miscommunication. And all of us have discovered that regardless of our race, creed, or color, we are all one species, a species having very little going for it, but one capable of miracles nonetheless.
These are the kinds of people living in our virtual community, and I think that they have earned the distinction of being able to lay claim to an identify, no less than the good people of Cincinnati, Bombay, Bumfuck, Lexington, Paris, Ho Chi Min City, or Sidney. We have every right to proudly proclaim our citizenship of a new shining city on the hill, one anchored firmly in electrons zipping around in silicon, no more impermanent than Los Angeles or San Francisco, sitting so precariously on their geologic fault lines. So what if we don't need streets named after trees or dead presidents, good sewers, decent cable service, or a library? We leave all that mess to the "real" world. Here in OUR virtual community, we exist in a world that caters to OUR needs, such as comradeship, communication, understanding, humor, sorrow, hope, anger and all matters of angst, dirty thoughts, even dirtier thoughts, a good joke or two, validation, and tolerance. We have never agreed on everything and would think it weird if we did, but here in OUR little town, not one of us have felt the overwhelming need to pull out a digital AK-47 and force our singular viewpoints on the collective, like they do in that "other" world, the one that can't seem to just get along. Here, the voices of hatred, unwarranted sarcasm, and outright stupidity finds it's way into a magical trash can where it belongs. Some of my fondest friends in this place have said some things I wish they hadn't, but I have always preferred to hear such things from a friend and suck it up than hearing it from someone convinced of a sense of superiority to the rest of us. I have taken my own lumps, and I wouldn't trade one of them for all the ass-kissing in the world.
So, read this and weep, citizens of our wonderful little community, for you have been challenged; to assume responsibility for who and what we are - recipients of the greatest gift since the Guttenburg press. I now call upon all of you to come here to this temporary town hall, suggest a name for our fine gathering spot, and risk the derision of any or all of us on the off-chance that YOUR idea trumps all others and identifies us to ourselves and the rest of the virtual world. This will take awhile. There will be jokes, contemplation, poetry and idiocy displayed on this blog for awhile, which will be no different than any other concept which has graced the pages of this humble device. Big deal. We can handle it. So steel yourselves and let loose, let slip the hoary hounds of suggestion, and let's see what moniker consensus can craft amongst us. We deserve no less.
However, I must remind you that I will not seek any office. If elected despite this declaration, I will not serve. And if I find myself negotiating treaties with foreign blogs, I swear to Bob you'll wish you'd railroaded Tim into such a thankless job instead.