This is a response to Imani Perry’s “Of Degraded Talk, Digital Tongues, and a Commitment to Care.” I was asked to respond to this article in terms of whether or not I share Perry’s anxieties about the digital space.
First of all, I felt that Perry’s view toward the increasingly digital world was not overly negative. While she expressed some fears at the beginning, she seemed to embrace the space at the end, viewing it as a vehicle to spread cultural awareness and musical appreciation. (I’m not really sure where that came from. On the whole, I found the article to be more about cultural studies and art rather than anxieties about the digital space.) Those anxieties she did express were ones that are a necessary evil when dealing with language; language, in order to be effective, must adapt to fit the needs of its speakers.
How does the evolution of language relate to the digital space? I guess because it means anyone can influence language, and with much more ease than before. This is something that fills me with excitement—not anxiety. I embrace digital life because it has brought me closer to so many things: friends, family, my studies, other cultures, and the vast world around me, much of which I would know nothing about without the Internet. Anything that has the power to educate as well as bring people together can’t be totally bad. So what if “selfie” is in the dictionary now? To some, as Perry points out, that shows a decline in the sophistication, so to speak, of the language, but I think that it shows how we shape our own environments. We are the creators of this new digital world, and that’s overwhelming—in the best way possible.