chapter  31
GOTHIC AND NEW MEDIA
ByJason Whittaker
Pages 10

The appeal of information and communication technologies has often appeared to be in direct opposition to notions of the Gothic. In advertising and commerce, companies such as Intel, Google and Microsoft promise a postmodern mix of happy, connected workers, white goods and the occasional absurd mascot (to show that the technological behemoths of the twenty-first century possess something that could be misconstrued for a sense of humour). Theorists and critical commentators are often more concerned with the experiences of social net - working in a global village, where shared electronic experiences can contribute to a potentially liberatory public sphere – though one, as Papacharissi (2002) observes, compromised by inequities of access, fragmented political discourses and the demands of international capital. Despite such disadvantages, the characteristics of such a virtual sphere tend to cluster around open communication and democratic participation. Cyberspace, however, has its own Gil-Martin, a doppelgänger of violence, pornography, crime and extremism that is often fixated upon by a sensationalist media as evidence of what Sardar called the ‘psychotic inner reality’ of rootless individuals ‘hoping that the next page on the Web will take them to nirvana’ (Sardar 1996: 25).