Why the Internet Makes Me Closer to My Kids: Or how Jimmy Hendrix moved me toward the more utopian vision…

I think I'm an optimistic dystopian, because I have a much greater affinity for dystopian writers than utopian ones - but I believe we'll muddle through no matter what "happens".  Yet, I've often worried (as have scores of other more qualified than me) that the internet was making it so easy for extreme people to become more extreme.  The political strategy of seeding the echo-chambers of opinion with "boom boxes" of content to amplify the anger of those simply looking for confirming evidence for their own views is alive, and growing. 

But, this morning, I stumbled upon a YouTube video of Jimmy Hendrix playing the introduction to Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.  And Hendrix, like Picasso, was one of those rare artists who could simply ingest another's work morph it into something different and cool like some artistic Borg, and spit it back out "better"  or at least new.  Only a few geniuses can pull that off. 

I sent the link to two of my five children -  the two who love both the Beatles and Hendrix the most, and I know that they'll enjoy it.  There is something about YouTube, and the myriad services that act as one great cultural memory machine - as my friend Gordon Bell's new book My Life In Bits so readily points out.  With the aid of this memory machine, I feel closer to those I love because I can dredge up something that has meaning to me and send it to them.  It allows me to take many of those memories which were so individual and isolated (especially TV which is "consumed" in the alone/group state), or celebrated some time ago, and make them socially mashable - thus enabling me to create a new context that we can both share, thereby making them closer to me and my experience of the web a more utopian rather than dystopian resource. 

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