Fuck the Internet
The Awl is dead. And to that I realize I have but one response: fuck the internet.
Yes, yes, I know: how very very to post 'fuck the internet' online. But really - consider for just a moment, won't you, that perhaps the time has come. The time to fuck the internet.
It's not just that it has so clearly fallen short of its early promise. The point of Utopia is that it does not exist, and the internet was never going to free humanity from itself. This is not about taking your ball and going home when you don't like how the game is going. It is about setting fire to the ball and shooting the ashes into space when it turns out that the ball is covered with weaponized disease-tipped spikes and no one can play with it without damaging themselves and everyone around them. It's not that the internet is not Utopia, it's that it is a cess-ridden dystopia that vitiates everything it touches.
In 2010, Prince said “the internet's completely over” and everyone laughed at the little man with the weak mustache game. Well, Prince is gone now, and in case you hadn't noticed, nobody is laughing any more but the trolls, and theirs is the laughter of sick desperation.
At a time when gate-keepers had control of everything that the wider populace could see and hear, the internet was going to democratize distribution. And it has. And it turns out that democracy as a workable, sustainable system relies on the participants being half-way informed and responsible individuals. Guess how that works out.
The free marketplace of ideas does not see the 'best' rise to the top, but the most virulent – just like an unregulated free market rewards those businesses which keep costs down by ignoring pesky environmental concerns. Information wants to be free, and once it is free, humans tend to let it fly away entirely and argue over the significance of the splatters of dung left behind, copromancers of conspiracy.
I read about the evolution of a decentralized internet revolution on the horizon, made up of small groups of idealist individuals creating platforms of egalitarian access and I think – that's how this whole thing started in the first place, you idiots. The definition of insanity etc.
So I don't mean quitting Twitter or changing Facebook privacy settings or using DuckDuckGo or whatever. What I mean is instead of visiting YouTube or Soundcloud to find bands, maybe visit the local pub. What I mean is instead of getting bills by email that you pay online, maybe get paper bills in envelopes and mail a cheque. What I mean is instead of making a best guess at whether that item of clothing on that site will actually fit and look the way on you that it does on the model on the screen and then sending it back when it doesn't, maybe go see what's for sale at the goddamn physical store and try it on. What I mean is if Game of Thrones is only on Foxtel and you refuse to pay money to Rupert Murdoch to get it, well, then maybe you just don't watch Game of Thrones. What I mean is if you want to go somewhere unfamiliar, learn to read a map. What I mean is if you want to know what's going on, then instead of opening an app full of click-bait headlines for articles optimized to interpret events in a way calculated to make you feel secure in your pre-fab worldview and covered in auto-play video ads that follow you as you scroll down the page, maybe read some zines while there are still some left, or join a community organization or two, or even maybe talk to some people (I'm certainly not going to start talking to people, but it's an option).
The internet is actually killing pornography. The industry has been pirated to the point that it's started to eat itself. What kind of hell hath the web wrought when it threatens the existence of porn?
What I mean is: fuck the internet. The whole thing. What has it done for you lately, besides spy on you and feed you the mental equivalent of a Big Mac?
I'll tell you what: nothing. That, and creating an environment where now The Awl is dead.
Fuck the internet.
(PS I am 100% sure I will not actually fuck the internet, and neither will you, and that is why we get what we deserve. If we look up from our glowing screens, we may see the moth, smashing itself against the porchlight. Over. And over. And over. And over.)