The gorgeous picture above is a screen-grab from 1995’s Showgirls, directed by Paul Verhoeven. A lot of meaning and metaphor throughout this post is going to emanate from this picture, so take a good look.
I’m Joshua Morrison and I’m in my first year of this program. I recently completed my MA in communication studies, concentration in rhetoric, at the University of Colorado-Boulder and I am here at Texas State to make myself a bit more skilled in realms that are less academic. I’m a bit of a cinephile so I often think in filmic terms, and my goals for this program are no exception; I want to emerge gaudy, glamorous, and full-formed for the market like the dancer above ostentatiously exploding onto the tackiest/greatest of Vegas stages.
Watching the assigned documentary brought to mind this image as well because learning about the history and promise of the internet instantly triggered thoughts within me about the incredible role that the internet has played in my personal development and the amazing emancipatory potential it wields. Given that I am a queer-as-they-come preacher’s child raised in the deep south it will come as no surprise to you that a lack of community was a hallmark of my experience for many years. I grow up knowing few people with queer identities, and, given that my queerness informed my aesthetic, political, and other sensibilities, I was further isolated from the populations with the cultural commitments and priorities to which I might have related.
And then there was the internet.
How grateful I am to the people featured in this documentary for their genius and ambition. These people laid the brick and mortar for the emergence of an endless stream of communities that could connect isolated people from disparate corners of the world. This included me! Experiencing this was like experiencing the picture above, and it felt simply marvelous. Through the internet I learned the languages, customs, politics, aesthetics, priorities, jokes, and many more features of the cultures I knew I wanted to be part of before I even interacted with members of them! I was able to emerge closer to fully-formed than I had any right to be, and I had people telling me that I, and my perspective, mattered and there were indeed people in the world who could value and affirm my experiences.
Bless the internet.
Oh. And if you’re so inclined you should check this movie I keep referencing out. As a cinephile I’ve always got a recommendation. Looking forward to getting to know each of you.