When personal computers first became the rage in America, their advantages were all that most people cared about. College students no longer had to type and retype term papers because of typing errors; the text could be reworked as much as desired before printing a perfect page. The drudgery of mathematical calculations and(possibly the bane of all existence, the balancing of the personal checkbook(became a snap. Life in the technological age was certainly easier and more efficient.
What wasnÆt immediately apparent, though, was the fact that the technology came with lots of strings attached(strings to our feelings, our culture, and our mode of communicating with one another. Technology became part of the fabric of our everyday life, and thus integrated, it forced us to decide exactly where it belongs for each of us.
S. Paige Baty explores the role of technology in her own life in E-Mail Trouble. A self-confessed e-mail addict who admits to sending as many as 30 e-mails a day, Baty gives us a detailed view of the complex symbolic imagery her addiction gives rise to, as well as her personal relationship with technology, which seems to take on the character of an actual person for her.
For Baty, her description of her e-mail addiction is reminiscent of descriptions other addicts give of their addictions. ôàthe matrix wasàabout comfort. In the matrix, I did not have to live in my body. In the matrix, I could be whoever I wanted to be. In the matrix, I could travel across time and space and just be some words on a page. I am that blank Paige who wrote herself in the matrix and danced(like the dazzled Madame BOVARY(into disaster.ö (Baty, 1999, p. 7) As evidenced in this quotation, however, Baty incorporates female reproductive imagery and plays on words into her relationship with technology. Madame Bovary (think ôovaryö), the matrix (think ôwombö), and e-mail trouble (think ôfemale troubleö) are intertwined w...