In his novel Rituals Cees Nooteboom says that memory is a dog that lies down wherever it pleases. The same seems to hold true with associations.
When confronted with the task of writing a final project for this class, the idea for the narrative part of the web came popping up in my head. Instead of dismissing this idea as irrelevant, I tried looking for possible connections between it and the material covered in class. Since it obviously is not a cyberpunk short story, I tried to find out what triggered my imagination in the first place.
I was surprised to find many reference points of different quality inside the story. Some of them were really straightforward (and a bit obvious, I fear): the bookmarks, the old-fashioned Adornian critique of mass culture, commercial space in cyberspace or the aimless wanderings. Others, however, were rather hidden: questions of (dis)orientation, doubling of identity, man/machine relations, space and time or the longing for satisfaction.
Besides that, my intention was to keep this narrative as a document of my confusion about the subject(s). The feeling of being lost that I describe thus functions as a part of the story as well as a reflection of my personal experience. When dealing with the issues of hypertext or cyberspace, I was and am wandering around like the character in the story, and I often feel like the old man, trying to make sense out of nothing.
More than that, I am just as confused, appaled, fascinated and delighted by the new media and the possibilities that come with them as anyone else. The fact that I am writing this in HTML does not mean that I support everything on the Web or its appearance. But the same holds true with the print medium. The exponential growth of the Web certainly contributes to pessimistic views of an information overload that soon will collapse. But then again, it is obviously not enough to locate the evil in some place and then turn away from it.
Does the Web actually contribute to a media collapse? I don't know.
Does the plane crash in the end of the story? I don't know either.