virtually one, actually the other

"He noticed me looking at him, 'you are wondering if - '
'Of course.'
'I am,' he replied, glancing at Ralph. 'We both are, Newbodies.'
'And ordinary people going about the business out there' - I pointed somewhere into the distance - 'are called Oldbodies?'
'Perhaps. Yes. Why not?'
'Words are your living,' he said. 'Bodies are mine. But I would imagine so.'
'The existence of new bodies, as you call them, will create considerable confusion, wont it? How will we know who is new and who old?' " (1)

Hanif Kureishi's The Body allows the aged to acquire youthful strength and a new identity by having their brain surgically transplanted into an appropriately prepared 'young' corpse. The rich and well connected choose new vessels from a rack of desirable cadavers, giving them the exciting opportunity to be whoever they choose.

This appeal of brain and experience retention, whilst reconfiguring the 'casing' is one boon the internet offers to all. However within this swapping spree, the complexities of the body online (as against the online body; which is simpler to address, because it is whatever is experienced online) is consistently engaged with from the standpoint of the illusionary 'normative' white male body. This adversely affects the often alleged Internet's egalitarian nature whilst strengthening the 'norm'. If gender and race are merely social constructions and interpretations of physical difference, and the brain unitarily understands itself, then everyone online should be equal because they are comparable along definable benchmarks.

Paradoxically if the internet's 'standing' population argue that everyone is equal in Cyberspace, that offline (or real world) 'peripherals' maintain as much authority as the 'mainstream' does online, and yet the same 'peripherals' counter-position themselves as being subordinate, it becomes tenable for the mainstream to argue that this represents internalised inequality, for which the 'mainstream' carries no responsibility.