Related to the previous post on online communities’ supposed narcissism, a reader emailed me the following:
What’s particularly delicious is that just before I read this post I was browsing Penny Arcade, which seems like exactly the kind of shallow commercial endeavor Siva is decrying–it’s a webcomic about video games, after all. And what do I see on PA’s front page but this, by the comic’s writer: “As of today, Friday, December the 29th, your efforts with Child’s Play have amassed $963,160(!!!). This is by no means the final figure, nor is it the final post on the subject – there is still a tremendous amount of tabulation to occur, new checks, community initiatives, last minute rushes, and perhaps even New Year’s Epiphanies. I have faith that we will reach a million straight up in donations, and if we do not, I am steeling myself to make a financially debilitating charitable contribution.” It’s not a cure for AIDS, but that’s still a cool million to make life better for hospitalized children. Communities linked by shared interests, even ones that seem shallow, are wonderful things. Civic republicanism can be an attractive vision, but not when it turns into elitist hectoring.