Cybergothic: the uncanny acculturation of the internet

Bryan Alexander in Mindjack Magazine

The dark and haunted spaces of the Gothic worked well to organize a group of anxieties about networked computers in the popular imagination, especially as hints and guesses supplanted lived and thoughtful experience for many. Fears of an unsupervised space where sexual depravity reigned unchecked, especially terrifying in the age of AIDS, projected well onto the internet’s reality of cybersex. The Gothic’s sexual allure, its creation of narrative spaces for reader titillation and/or exploration, described with surprising aptness the lonely user at the keyboard, looking for images and stories of forbidden or inaccessible bodies.

The shadow of anything is a window to the soul we sometimes reluctantly climb through, and so seeing the whole of the Net as a haunted place is one way of “getting it”. Bryan is onto it! Haunted is not far from numinous.

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