The Internet has brought many amazing and wondrous things into our lives – music, boobs, Netflix, boobs, the ability to talk to people halfway around the world, boobs – but let’s face it, it’s also ruined a lot of things for everyone. From the ridiculous and petty to the holy shit, this might actually ruin the world, the following have all suffered at the hands of our new god, the Internet.
Look, this isn’t about whether you’re a cat person or a dog person or whatever the hell those weirdo bird and fish people are up to. Whether you love cats or you hate cats, I think it’s time to acknowledge that this has all gotten terribly out of hand (out of paw?) I mean, come on, that poor Grumpy Cat is an actual celebrity now, entire Twitter accounts are devoted to tweeting and retweeting pictures of cats living the cat life, and I just wrote the phrase “living the cat life.” We’ve gone too far. And I haven’t even gotten into the goddamn I Can Has Cheezburger shit and the insane trail of tears that’s inspired over the years. Fuck you, Al Gore.
Hipsters have always been with us, and I’ll be honest with you – hipsters are not actually that bad. Okay, okay, settle down. What I mean is that hipsters have their place in society. They’re a necessary counterbalance to the square normies who make up the majority of the population. They drive culture forward instead of letting it stagnate. But here’s the problem: the internet has completely ruined that delicate balance. Hipsters are everywhere now, driven by social media and the desire by nearly everyone to be in the cool kids club. Hipsters, posers… call them whatever you want, but instead of being a counterbalance, they’ve become the ones squatting right in the middle of culture and it’s goddamn annoying, isn’t it?
Look at it like this – hipsters are the seasoning on a nice meal. You’ve got your main course, it’s a little bland and so you add some salt and pepper. But now, thanks to the Internet, we’re all eating meals consisting of nothing but salt and pepper. If nothing else, hipsters made me come up with that horrible analogy, and for that alone, the Internet has some answering to do.
I’m not specifically talking about Chuck Norris here. He’s just the most blatant example. You know what I’m talking about – people taking celebrities and ironically celebrating them and turning them into ridiculous memes that are amusing for roughly six seconds (I timed it because I believe in the scientific method) and then become obnoxious free-for-alls and pile-ons that end with your lame-ass uncle posting Chuck Norris Facts on his Facebook page every goddamn day. Fucking Chuck Norris.
Sports, TV shows, books… you name it, and the Internet has fucked it up. That’s because the Internet has given a ridiculously loud voice to crazy people, and then those crazy people flock together and pretty soon, all of sports fandom sounds like the shittiest of sports talk radio and every TV show fandom is huddling around the Tumblr fires telling creepy fan-fiction and jerking off to My Little Pony.
Sure, that fringe element has always been there, but the Internet has turned it into the norm. It’s become a giant nerd gang war, with furries protecting their turf and sports fans sending death threats to dudes for missing field goals. I don’t even want to think about what’s going to happen to poor George R.R. Martin if he doesn’t get that next book of his out soon.
Hundreds of years from now, scholars will sift through the ashes of the Internet and find a bunch of pidgin speak and conclude that at some point we were conquered by the apes. Look, I’m not saying I’m innocent here. We all use text speak from time to time. That’s b/c it’s just easier. U knw wot Im sayin m8? But there is a whole generation of people growing up with this shit, and eventually that’s just going to become the norm. That’s how language works. It’s adaptive. But it also means that we’re essentially regressing to the days of cavemen scratching crude drawings on the wall. If you don’t believe me, just check your phone’s emoji history. The good news is that those scholars in the future won’t be in any position to judge us because none of them will be able to read anyway.
Sure, the Internet has been great for consumers. We just get everything we want for free. Or close enough anyway. And if we do need to pay for something, we just order that shit and a dude (or pretty soon, a drone) just drops it off on our doorstep. Meanwhile, Best Buy has been reduced to dudes and lady dudes in blue shirts rattling beggar cups at people passing by, the record industry has been forced to abandon their business model – and entire reason for existing – and local bookstores are currently being used as toilets by hobos.
I’m not criticizing anyone here. I do this shit too, but the Internet has essentially turned us into a gang of pirates, and while we’re downloading sea wenches and surfing Amazon for bargains on eye patches, the economy is becoming a flaming ship we’ve pillaged that’s constantly on the verge of sinking. On the plus side, there has been a massive boom in both the hand lotion and pirate analogy industries, so it all balances out I guess.
Chocolate Ice Cream
Wait… what? The problem isn’t with chocolate ice cream itself, you see. It’s that the Internet has jaded us to the point where we can’t be entirely sure if it’s chocolate ice cream or… something else. Those two girls and their cup… I… I can’t go on.
Comment sections are basically the equivalent of a Panamanian prison these days, where only the vicious survive and the weak are eaten or paraded around in crude dresses to be used and abused. But that’s just the most obvious way the Internet has turned us into a bunch of rabid jackals ready to chew each other’s throats out. We can’t discuss anything anymore without turning it into a huge show in which everyone just tries to win points. We don’t talk about things anymore, we just try to culturally signal so we can prove that we’re on the right team and that, by extension, everyone else is on the wrong team, and the wrong team can go to hell and take all their ideas with them because they’re worse than Stalin and Justin Bieber combined.
We get outraged by anything and everything. We declare holy wars over jokes, write massive think pieces about the misuse of 8th tier characters on TV shows, and sic our personal armies on anyone who dares to disagree with even a word of it. We call out all those who question the current dogma, get people fired if they step out of line because it makes us feel satisfied and accomplished for 2.3 seconds, and we turn everything into a constant battle of Us vs. Them, in which the “Us” are universally good and decent and the “Them” are horrible slime monsters from planet Shit Opinion.
And if you don’t agree with this, then fuck you, I’ll see you in hell. Right after I call your boss and let him know what you’ve been up to. That’s just how we do it on the Internet.
Man using tablet image by Shutterstock