virtually one, actually the other

The tune

"To all my people, just lift your fist
Seem like it ain't no peace, no justice
How you want it, the bullet or the microchip?
Either way you got to lift your fist; we get it down like this
To all my people, ball up your first
Seem like it ain't no peace, no justice
How you want it, the bullet or the microchip?
Either way you got to lift your fist." (14)

The Internet aspires to remove difference, deny the realities of the layers that complicates human existence. So deliberate dialogue is the only way forward on-line, a dialogue that recognises and values difference, creating the forum where art can be made, a forum that simultaneously acknowledges the maker and the audience.

As Todorov points out in his essay, 'Bilingualism, Dialogism and Schizophrenia', hierarchies are complex, and splitting the self is hazardous. Until the desire to recognise the different constructed states (economic, political, sexual, social, racial, orientational) people take appears, it will be impossible for the internet to be more than a tool for the technologically and politically powerful to entrench established orders under the banner of parity.

"I wonder if a bilingualism that assumes the neutrality and complete reversibility of the two languages is not an illusion, or at least an exception. If its emancipatory use would not require both a common ground shared by whoever utters in either language, and that the same time, an articulation, a significant gap between the two, a strict division of duties - in a word, a hierarchy. Silence and madness appear to me at the horizon of man polyphony and I found them oppressive, this is undoubtedly why I prefer that measured space of dialogue." (15)

Perhaps choosing a new body is not that innocent after all. Even the makers of Kureishi's new immortals cannot escape the ravages of the society they created:

"Can I suggest something? Said Ralph 'You might for a change want to come back as a young woman.' [ . . . ] 'Or you could choose a black body. There are a few of those' he said with an ironic sniff. 'Think how much you'd learn about society and . . all that.' " (16)

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