North Coast Journal


Fool ex machina

by Howard Seemann

IT BEGAN LAST JANUARY WHEN OUR SON LUKE began posting on the Internet what he has called "the usual themes of my generation: loss, longing, snobbery and cynicism." He had dropped out of college for a year to work in Boulder, Colo.

He has created a personal Home Page, a collection of almost 100 essays by now. I prefer to call it "some insights into the mind and heart of my younger son." And I recommend it to parents as a way to understand and get closer to their children because it offers an opportunity, not for exchange, but to witness the revelation of what young people really think about, what's vitally important to them.

Perhaps someone someday, if a psychology graduate student hasn't already, will discover what it is about the World Wide Web, the most graphical of the Internet tools, that encourages people to reveal a part of their inner selves that they wouldn't dare to express if they sat across the table from you.

Here are some examples from his web page, titled "Fool ex Machina":



Do I recommend that parents get an Internet account? It may not work for everyone. But it does work for us.

There's something about the anonymity of the Internet that gives us the freedom to reveal those inner thoughts we are too afraid to share when we are face to face. I'm grateful for this opportunity to get to know my children better. And someday, perhaps, the history books will record the era of the '90s as the time we as families were drawn closer -- ironically it happens at the same time we share our most personal thoughts with the whole world.

If only we had had something like this back in the '50s.

Luke graduated from Eureka High School in 1993. After two years at the University of Oregon, he will attend Northwestern University this fall. His dad has been a journalism professor at Humboldt State University since 1969 and copy editor for the Journal almost from the beginning.

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