“Virtual Love” by Meghan Daum: Critique.
American University of Beirut
March, 16, 2014
Meghan Daum, born in1970 in California, is an American author, essayist, and journalist. Her article “Virtual Love” published in the August 25-September 1, 1997 issue of The New Yorker follows the author’s personal encounter with cyberspace relationships. Through this article the author presents to us the progress of an online relationship that after seeming entertaining and life changing at the beginning becomes nothing more than a faded memory. In fact she even ends the text stating that “reality is seldom able to match the expectations raised by intoxication of an idealized cyber romance.”(Daum, 1997, P.10) Daum concludes that online-dating or virtual love rarely survives the physical world when confronted by its obstacles such as its pace, idealization, and mainly expectations. However, although the message of the author is true, yet the way by which it was conveyed is found faulty.
The title, “Virtual Love”, is good for it correctly defines and restricts the subject and the general field of the article. It also doesn’t give away directly the author’s stance; at first we don’t know whether the author is against, with or simply explaining virtual love. However, it is so simple and unoriginal that it doesn’t attract the reader. A more creative title could have been something like “Love is blind; literally” in reference to how her love for PFSlider disappeared the moment she met him face to face although she was deeply attached to him during their online conversations. It could have also been: “My Prince Charming lives online” in reference to the fact that she created a perfect mold for the person she was talking to online. This explains why that person, no matter what he really is, will turn out to be a disappointment for no one is perfect and Prince Charming that we see in fairytales movies don’t exist in reality.
The article, as it was mentioned earlier, was published in the New Yorker which is a well-known magazine with a good reputation. So on this account it would be the logical for the reader to consider the article as credible. Yet as it will be revealed, the article lacks credibility. This is due to many reasons. First of all, it is stated that the Daum is a “freelance writer” that works independently. Secondly, in the article itself Daum refers to herself as still being a child who had to pull herself “into some semblance of an adult” (Daum, 1997, P.10). This indicates that she lacks experience in this field in which she is writing. Finally, all along this article Daum only refers to her personal experience. She fails to refer to other sources or writers nor even to other examples and experiences. This, along with the absence of statistics and facts leaves the writer skeptical about the credibility of the author. So one can wonder whether she bases her conclusions and analyses of virtual...