I picked up a copy of today’s Michigan Daily to see if my Transgender Day of Remembrance article ran.  It did not.  I don’t know if they ran it at all (I don’t read the Daily regularly) but I suddenly felt isolated and strange on this campus, I suddenly felt all the good feelings of the past few days from getting recognized dissipate.  We might be building solidarity as a community, but what about the community around us?

Though I guess that’s okay.  It’s fine, because I know somebody read it — I’ve been watching that hit counter, I’ve been seeing that people out in the world are Googling Ian Guarr’s name, and I widely disseminated the article for my friends to read.  On the other hand, I am disappointed I don’t have a print copy clipping to send to Ian’s mom with a letter from me and Emma.  I had really hoped that this very specific, yet wide-brushed stroke of solidarity could have been a Very Good Thing we did.

Maybe that’s very self-absorbed of me.  I have no idea.  On the other hand, I immediately thought about my reaction: my article was not published (three pages on Lloyd Carr’s retirement were), but it has been published here, on the Internet.  I still think there is a reverence, a seriousness about running something like that in a daily newspaper, there is something heavy still to the printed page that you can hold in your hand.  I know that part of this is ingrained in me.  And part of this is the fact that our society is only very slowly adopting an attitude toward Internet publication and its seriousness that is warranted.

To me, this makes the fact that I am stuck on the digital side of the print divide all the more troubling.  Am I important enough to exist in the physical world, or just the ether of the World Wide Web?  Although what we abandon in cyberspace may float for an eternity as a hulking monolith of dated information, like old satellites, it does persist (see: Internet Archaeology).  Just because it persists, somewhere out here, doesn’t mean that anybody will hold it, the way the kid sitting next to me is holding his copy of the Daily.

What is in cyberspace is retrievable only by people who would like to retrieve it.  I think that’s the thing that gets me.  I want to thump my chest and sound my barbaric yawp all over this campus.  I want to get people to read things that make them uncomfortable, and don’t you know that people don’t seek out and retrieve information that makes them uncomfortable?  There is still such power on the other side of the print divide.

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