The internet as lens for tragedy

The internet is the ultimate buffer to human contact and the realities of life. It’s amazing and depressing to think that you could spend your life without meeting another person and yet amass more knowledge than anyone in any previous age. Yet it’s run by people, obscured as they are behind user names, email addresses, and avatars. And in an event which has humanized the internet somewhat for me, the person in charge of a site I frequently visited has died. This person, by the name of Ice (Jason in real life), ran EmuAsylum, a site which hosted emulators and ROMs for old-school video games, which have been a hobby of mine for years. He updated the site regularly for years, respected the law as far as he was required (it’s a legal grey area), and provided something I consider valuable for free. As it turns out, he was very ill, and early last month he died. I didn’t know him, I never had any contact with him. I don’t know how old he was, what he was like, how he died, or anything like that. But my week was dimmed by his death anyway, and not because the site, invaluable to me, will probably slow down and disappear now. The realities of social contact are changing: we put so much of ourselves on the net, and take so much from it, that it is becoming a legitimate, if sort of nebulous, form of real connection even when two people never meet or exchange a single line. Anyway, I don’t mean to be sentimental, but I just thought I’d post my thoughts on this as a sort of meta-eulogy for the guy. RIP, Jason, and thanks for everything.