Not fade away: on living, dying, and the digital afterlife
Maria Bustillos writes for The Verge on death in the digital age with artwork from Steve Kim.
The machinery of human affairs churns blindly on and on, no matter what, in a manner absurd enough to send even deeply grieving people into gales of uproarious laughter (years later, the phrase, “your excuse,” etc., still has the power to reduce both my mom and me to helpless guffaws.) The system, the bureaucracy, the forms to fill out. The alarm clock rings, appointments to keep. The crazy futility of it all is a little bit sad, too, the way perhaps all truly hilarious things have to be. That Kafkaesque sensation of tragicomic futility has now acquired a new and larger dimension of weirdness, because the seeming permanence of the Internet is so crisply, coldly digital, and therefore so entirely at odds with the messiness of real life. You might say that human beings are analog creatures with certain digital tendencies, and that the digital and analog parts of our nature are inevitably at war with one another.