The Internet. My first love. Once full of promises, a utopia, what have I loved this Internet. I wanted to be one with this entity, with this rush. So many people, so many cables, circuit boards and hard drives. The connections, technical and human, we can communicate with one another! What a romantic idea, we all can say anything to each other now.
But this idea is only romantic if it is stripped completely of its mediality. To be honest, that everybody can say anything is a really dumb idea. Noone can really want that. And why not? Because this would mean the total abolition of any value system. Language structures our lives. It also has material effects. If anyone can say anything, there are no rules. No rules, no values.
The idea of the imageboard 8chan was that anyone could say anything. No limits, no prohibitions. Completely anonymous. No one would ever be held accountable for anything they posted – and how should they be? You couldn't tell who wrote what. At the same time, this is the ultimate perversion: anyone can say anything, but not as themselves. And so, really no one has said anything. This forms the language of anonymous *chans: a downward spiral of condescending disdain. The unwritten rules for participating in a *chan conversation is to write something that outperforms all previous posts in viciousness, disdain, nihilism or other bad feelings. No reparative modes of communication seem to be allowed. Nothing in this sphere can heal you.
This mode of communication is not confined to imageboards, but enters the rest of the Internet through memes. There is no spell defining the rules of the game like in battle rap. In battle rap, there is a beginning and an ending, whatever is said in between is said and not said at the same time: it's a form of meta-communication. Also, this frame of reference makes transgressive statements possible in the first place. There is no spell on the Internet, as it is a ubiquitous medium.

  • >35
    The downward spiral of disdain works just because it's not clear what has ever been the frame of reference for irony. If anything can be ironic, and you don't know who said what, how would you know what's irony and what isn't? Impossible without a frame of reference.


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