By John Asante
You've probably said it to yourself or your friends at least a few times...or at least thought about it. I know I have. Sounds crazy, right? I'll log on to my laptop, send a few e-mails, and before I know it, I've spent an hour looking for the best prices for Canon D-SLRs on Amazon. As much as we all love staying connected digitally, sometimes you just gotta give the World Wide Web a rest. But of course, this is easier said than done. Just ask cartoonist James Sturm, and he'll tell you this:
Over the last several years, the Internet has evolved from being a distraction to something that feels more sinister. Even when I am away from the computer I am aware that I AM AWAY FROM MY COMPUTER and am scheming about how to GET BACK ON THE COMPUTER. I've tried various strategies to limit my time online: leaving my laptop at my studio when I go home, leaving it at home when I go to my studio, a Saturday moratorium on usage. But nothing has worked for long. More and more hours of my life evaporate in front of YouTube. Supposedly addiction isn't a moral failing, but it feels as if it is.
So what's a 45-year old artist doing in order to live out his middle-aged life to the fullest? Giving up the Internet. Cold turkey. No computer. No phone. No connection to the World Wide Web. Although he's received some ridicule from friends and family, Sturm wants to give his eyes a rest, spend more time with his kids, and work on his drawings. For a man who directs the ONLY two-year cartooning program in the nation, which requires a lot of online correspondence, this is quite a daunting task. If you're wondering whether he or now he sticks it out for those long months without Facebook and Flash-based game sites, you can follow his progress -- illustrated with words and pictures" on Slate.
So, could you live without the Internet for a month? A week? A day?