[EAS] Other Selves

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Fri Feb 11 14:49:00 EST 2005

Subject:   Other Selves

(from NewsScan Daily, 9 February 2005)

      A budding romance between a Jordanian man and woman turned
into an  ugly public divorce when the couple found out that they
were in fact man  and wife, state media reported on Sunday.
Separated for several months,  boredom and chance briefly reunited
Bakr Melhem and his wife Sanaa in an  internet chat room, the
official Petra news agency said. Bakr, who passed  himself off as
Adnan, fell head over heels for Sanaa, who signed off as  Jamila
(beautiful) and described herself as a cultured, unmarried woman -- 
a devout Muslim whose hobby was reading, Petra said. Cyber-love
blossomed  between the pair for three months and soon they were
making wedding plans.  To pledge their troth in person, they agreed
to meet in the flesh near a  bus depot in the town of Zarqa,
northeast of Amman. The shock of finding  out their true identities
was too much for the pair. Upon seeing  Sanaa-alias-Jamila,
Bakr-alias-Adnan turned white and screamed at the top  of his lungs:
"You are divorced, divorced, divorced" -- the traditional  manner of
officially ending a marriage in Islam. "You are a liar," Sanaa 
retorted before fainting, the agency said. (The Age 7 Feb 2005)
rec'd from  John Lamp, Deakin U.

(from NewsScan Daily, 11 February 2005)

     Using the pseudonym "Sarcastic Journalist," reporter Rachel
Mosteller of the Durham (N.C.) Herald-Sun newspaper wrote this entry
on her personal blog one day last year: "I really hate my place of
employment. Seriously. Okay, first off. They have these stupid
little awards that are supposed to boost company morale. So you go
and do something 'spectacular' (most likely, you're doing your JOB)
and then someone says 'Why golly, that was spectacular.' then they
sign your name on some paper, they bring you chocolate and some
balloons... Okay two people in the newsroom just got it. FOR DOING
THEIR JOB." The day after her posting, Sarcastic Journalist was
fired (even though it did not identify the newspaper in her
posting). Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life
Project, comments: "We all complain about work and our bosses. And
the ethos of the blogosphere is to be chatty and sometimes catty and
crude. Even in an era of casual Fridays, that is not what companies
want to be portrayed by the world." And labor lawyer Gregg M. Lemley
notes: "In most states, if an employer doesn't like what you're
talking about, they can simply terminate you." (Washington Post 11
Feb 2005)

The issue of identity on the Internet was most comprehensively
treated by Sherry Turkle, MIT Professor of the Sociology of Science
and licensed clinical psychologist, in her popular books "Life on the
Screen," and her earlier landmark book "The Second Self: Computers
and the Human Spirit" (1985). I mention these books as a more
comprehensive framework for pondering, if you are so inclined, these
sad anecdotes.  --PJK

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