It's occurred to me the other day that I'm growing increasingly burned-out on the Internet, despite the fact that I make my living on it. But I couldn't quite put my finger on why. And then it hit me:
The Internet used to be fun!!!
Where did fun go? It has been drowned in a sea of online activism. I can't just go on the Internet and enjoy myself anymore. I can't even do serious research anymore. When I log on, I am now instantly drafted as a member of everybody's personal army.
"Protest this! Donate to that! Write your congressman! Think this way, not that way! Change your mind! You must read this now! Join this cause! Fight, fight, fight! Sign this petition! Impeach that guy! Support this cause! Protest something else! Crisis, drama, wear a ribbon on your Facebook! Retweet this or you're an enemy of freedom! I know last week I told you this other thing was the most important cause in the world, but this week's cause is the most important thing in the world and I really mean it!"
You know those movies about war where they get to boot camp and have a million drill sergeants screaming in their face? That's what the Internet has become.
I'll tell you where fun went. The hippies killed it. Isn't that always the case?
Latest buzz is about ACTA. It's going to end the world. Every cause is going to end the world! Before that, SOPA and PIPA were going to end the world. Remember when the world ended because we couldn't shut down PB after the oil spill? Or how about when the world ended because we couldn't free Julian Assange and make the world safe for Wikileaks? Or when the world ended because we didn't donate trillions of dollars to kiva.org? And that time when the world ended because we didn't get the union laws settled in Wisconsin? How about when the world ends every four years because most of the candidates everybody wanted to be president didn't make it? And remember that time the world ended because we couldn't break up Scientology? And Occupy Wall Street - the universe imploded because of how important that was, didn't it? It doesn't even have to be anything important. The world ended again last year when some woman in England was caught on video being mean to a cat.
What's worse than SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA combined? If the government will end the world by shutting down a few websites, what do we have for an alternative?
The whole Internet is already shut down by the hippies.
It is not any longer useful for entertainment, for socializing, for learning, for sharing, for sight-seeing, for anything else! The Internet no longer laughs, smiles, or frowns, it only screams. It screams and screams and screams in endless rage day after day, about issue after issue after issue, a hundred thousand drill sergeants who are impotent for want of a soldier to order about.
Who needs to fight a tyranny? We have a tyranny of volunteer activists now.
Who needs to protest a nanny state? We have 100 million 4channers who know what's best for all of us anyway, whether we like it or not.
Who needs to speak out against censorship? The Internet hate-machine already does a dandy job of stamping out any dissenting opinions such as my own.
Who needs to decry the loss of our civil liberties? What about my liberty to read a straight, non-opinionated news story without it being demanded of me that I join a war for or against the subject?
Online Hacktivists say that they're fighting for our right to the free expression of ideas on the Internet... but what freedom do they allow the rest of us now? Have you ever gotten an opinion that challenges the status quo to go over on the Internet? Can you even freely ask a question without getting attacked? No, you cannot. Tyranny by mob vigilantes is a great an ill as tyranny by government rule. The tyranny of the online hivemind forbids you from ever questioning the status quo. Users will flame you, mods will bury your post and ban you, sites will not link to you, and you will be heard by no-one but a tiny niche of the open-minded.
Nobody wants to do anything for themselves; everyone wants to try to get the Internet to do it for them.
There is no place left to escape Internet vigilante activism. Every tweet on Twitter, every wall on Facebook, every video on YouTube, every photo on Tumblr, every thread on 4chan, every headline on Digg and Reddit and StumbleUpon and Slashdot, every comment on every blog, is all about armchair generals trying to mobilize their own personal army.
"pejorative term that describes "feel-good" measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction."
In other words, "Vote this up and donate as much as you can and go send this to everyone you know and phone the president and picket in front of the headquarters! While I sit here and scratch my lazy ass."
I'm not joining anybody's army. None of them are any good. I have never seen the Internet do anything good yet when it was waging war for a cause, and I never will. Instead, there are goofy costumes, hundreds of signs held up to webcams, 'money-bombs' to finance idiotic ideas, Anonymous script kiddies run their same old tired DDoS attack against the same old tired websites, some idiot orders a bunch of pizzas to somebody's house, the zealots run around putting you on their witch-hunt list for not sacrificing your life for the cause, and in the end, the cause always fails anyway.
You want some cause to be defeated fast? Put that baby on the Internet! The Internet never wins a fight - never never never never. If the Internet protested Hitler, the entire world would be in brown shirts and swastikas by the end of the week.
(And I know they'll post the denial anyway, but online hacktivists think they won SOPA. Corporations won SOPA, not hacktivists. SOPA was the first time corporations figured out how to mobilize hacktivists to fight for their cause.)
Go ahead and put me on every witch-hunt list while you're at it. I'm an enemy of all of your causes at the same time - even the ones that are opposite to each other! I don't even support causes I happen to respect when the Internet screams at me about them. I will not participate in any marathons, telethons, fundraisers, petitions, pickets, strikes, tallies, or boycotts if I hear about them on the Internet first. I quit supporting anything. If Internet vigilantes are the solution to anything, then I want my problem back.
The only cause worth fighting for on the Internet is the one against activism, and that's my personal army that I'm starting today.
Now who's with me? Who's going to vote this up and picket and protest and get all their friends involved - while I sit here and scratch my lazy ass? Because if everyone who can read this just donated one minute of their time to resisting Internet activism... then I wouldn't have to, and I'd have a better Internet that was fun again.
blog comments powered by Disqus