Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The good of the web

Your humble Devil has had a couple of experiences such as that articulated, beautifully, in this brilliant piece by Dennis.
I have of course never forgotten Rachel, and from time to time wondered what became of her. She had an unusual surname. One day last year I suddenly thought of her again and Googled it. There was a single chance reference, on a page about an elderly and very distinguished academic who had been pictured at the wedding reception of Rachel X and [insert name of groom]. I then Googled her full married name. Sure enough, there she was, on a professional site, in one of those 10K profile jpegs. She now has an impressive suite of qualifications and is an eminent medical researcher. Her husband is even more qualified and eminent. I found a picture of him too, and he looks like, and by all accounts is, a very nice fellow. From a few words on her profile, I gleaned the impression that she is happily married with a family and lives comfortably in the country.

At this I felt a surge of unalloyed affection and pleasure. I saw that he has given her exactly the sort of life she needed and would not have found with me. My bitterness, which long ago had shrunk to almost nothing, now disappeared entirely as I realized that I had, despite everything, loved her as she deserved. She had made the right decision.

My investigation was the converse of cyber-stalking. Without the internet, I almost certainly would never have known what became of her. Now I do. I have no wish to make contact; there is no point; I have moved on, and when a certain lady presently in Arizona comes to read this, I know she will understand. I shall not intrude again. Something has been resolved, released. I have learned a little more about myself and about Rachel and the way we parted.

For all its dangers, the Web is a force for good. It connects people in more ways than can be imagined. The intensely personal paragraphs you have just read are published anonymously: I can write without inhibition.

I shall, of course, not elaborate on any of mine for your humble Devil's anonymity is tissue-thin these days; but suffice to say that I have since had contact (at her instigation) with at least one of those people whose situation is now similar to Rachel's and she is just as happy as she seemed—and I feel the same gladness for her as Dennis does for Rachel.

Do go and read the whole thing, for it is the sort of elegant and heart-felt writing that one would never find were it not for this blogging lark—and it is the joyous flipside of all of the ugly and angered ranting.


IanPJ said...

You really can be a big softie when you want to...

Good on yer.

Anonymous said...

I would never have even known my fiancee (seventeen years younger than me and from five thousand miles away in South Carolina) if we hadn't both joined the same online forum, and discovered that we had exactly the same interests and a similar sense of humour.

Yes, commuting is expensive, but we can still talk for 0.5p a minute (or even for free with VOIP) for hours, thanks to the web.

And I've learned so much in the past four or five years or so that I've had an internet connection. If it hadn't been for the intarwebtubenets, I'd still be sitting in front of the idiot box and getting all my news from the BBC.

Sure, there's a dark side to the internet. But frankly, if you're willing to give your bank details to someone calling himself Honest Kwame, who's promising to deposit a million pounds in your account, then you shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a tin-opener, never mind a computer.

Oswald Bastable said...

Yes, I know the feeling exactly...

Jon said...

Mr Devil, I must insist that you pick up that pitchfork again this instant.

Vicola said...

Look at you being nice! Are you drunk?

I've done a similar thing involving an ex, after we finished we were best friends for a long time but his new girlfriend made him choose between being friends with me and being with her. Needless to say he didn't choose me. It needled badly, wondering what became of him but having got in touch with him on Facebook and found out about his wife (he married the cow), his army career and his children I am now at peace and my slightly obsessive stalking in an attempt to find information has now stopped. Thankfully.

Letters From A Tory said...

The internet can be a powerful force for nice people and complete bastards - that's the problem.

It has exacerbated both sides of the issue, so now everyone has more opportunity to 'hunt people down'.

Anonymous said...

I thought the angered ranting was also joyous.

Anonymous said...

This whole post is gay. Real Men don't have feelings (other than anger, obviously). I find the idea of grown men twittering on about how lovely it feels to stalk some wench to be frankly nauseating.

If you find yourself pining for a woman, the solution is in copious alcohol and a bar fight or three.

Getting some stitches to your face in a Glasgow casualty unit on a Friday night: *that* is the mark of manliness, not queering about like a mong writing hearrfelt poems about totty.

The only thing a man should feel in his heart is the cholesterol that accrues from regular consumption of manly food.

Deadbeat Dad said...

Thanks for flagging this one up, DK. Well worth reading in full.

Faerie Lady said...

I knew it! You have a heart although you try desperately to hide it.


Anonymous said...

Sorry guys (and gals), creepy.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

First girl I loved,
Time has come I will sing you
this sad goodbye song,
When I was seventeen, I used to know you.

Well, I haven't seen you, now, since many is the short year,
And the last time I seen you, you said you'd joined the
Church of Jesus.
But me, I remember your long red hair falling in our faces
As I kissed you.

Well, I want you to know, we just had to grow;
I want you to know, I just had to go.

And you're probably married now, house and car and all,
And you turned into a grownup, female, stranger.
And if I was lying near you now,
I probably wouldn't be here at all.

Well, we parted so hard;
Me, rushing round Britain with a guitar,
Making love to people
That I didn't even like to see.

Well, I would think of you.
Yes, I mean in the six sad morning.
And in the lonely midnight,
Try to hold your face before me.

Well, I want you to know, I just had to go;
I want you to know, we just had to grow.

That song just came to mind.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 2.40pm is genius

Anonymous said...

Indeed, anonymous (at 8:59).

I was nodding along sanctimoniously with the general thrust of the post (and the unusually high percentage of sensitive commentators) until I read anonymous's blistering deconstruction.

Fortunately, I had recently voided, so the moment did not develop into a full trouser wetting situation, fortunately.

Am I an emotional cripple ?

Anonymous said...

what a&e nurse said!

James Higham said...

That's the sort of thing which gets you here.

Anonymous said...

Good old internet, I say, and good old Facebook especially. I cant imagine how hard stalking must have been in the old days when you had to go out and meet people

Anonymous said...

Fucking weirdo stalkers obsessives the lot of you.

the ink slinger said...

Dear Devil,

Can we have your cast iron guarantee, please, that this plague of niceness is only a temporary affliction? We don't want you infecting the entire internet.

Nice piece though, which is all the praise you're going to get from one who has never found anything charming.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Thank god for the internet - it certainly saved me! Without it I'd never have found out via Google that my (now ex, thankfully!) mail-order fiancee was actually Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyons, after a sex-change and a bit of re-animation. The apron really should have been a give away.

wonderfulworld said...

great blog my friend

Hacked Off said...

Dennis writes like dolphins swim. Apparently effortlessly and with extreme grace and an abundance of exuberance.

Fucking bastard makes my efforts look even worse than they might otherwise.

An everyday visit is recommended.

The Penguin.

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