Throughout history, there have been great warriors and great poets. Times of feast and times of famine. Times of war and times of peace. And through all the chaos and flux, through happiness and agony, the human species could only breathe in the present moment. With means of communication no more advanced than smoke signals, carrier pigeon, or telegram, people could only act in accordance with what was immediately in front of them.
That is, until some moron in the late twentieth century thought it would be funny to ruin it all by linking everyone up in a great big data-chain called ‘The Internet’.
The internet is the single greatest catastrophe ever to befall the human species. Sure, it’s done a few good things, but ultimately, it’s destroyed the way human beings relate by providing us with twenty-four-seven, three-sixty-five communication, and the instant, infinite spread of information. Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to give this kind of opining-hall-pass to creatures who have been known to start tribal warfare over who is shagging who? But the absolute worst thing about this information-communication spume-overload was the introduction of social media in the early 2000s.
Social media is the Bubonic Plague of the internet. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (ugh), Tumblr, Snapchat, and all their sorry derivatives have created silos of word-vomit so repugnant, they should be hoisted up and flung onto the street upon hearing the fourteenth century cry of, “Bring out your dead!”
It is now painfully easy for the stupidest and angriest among us; people who would never, ever, ever have been charged to speak publicly on anything because they were simply more suited to pulling the plough, to use social media to trumpet views that make us all dumber upon hearing them. This incites other equally stupid, equally angry people to spew out the equivalent-but-opposite view (in 280 characters or less), accompanied by a hashtag.
After seeing the first two Angry-Stupids attempt to out-argue (or at least out-hashtag) each other, their Angry-Stupid friends jump in, this time tossing around ‘information’ to back up their claims. This ‘information’ is usually opinion dressed up as fact, such as famous conspiracy theories about Russia hacking the 2016 US election. And around and around it bounces; cross-platform information-communication bile, until it (very quickly) loses its zing and is replaced by the next #IllRideWithYou.
This little pattern is known as the ‘outrage cycle’ a phenomenon unique to the twenty-first century. Don’t hit me with your cries of “but it comes from both sides!” when I point out that it is largely perpetuated by the regressive left. Of course, there are Angry-Stupids on both sides. However, it is the SJWs of the world, levitating on a cloud of faux-morality, whose modus operandi centres on finding things to be outraged by and making a lot of subsequent noise. That is the nature of modern, social-justice-leftism. This is significantly bumped along by the fact that, as admitted by Mark Zuckerberg himself, those who work in Silicon Valley are very left wing. Why else do you think most of the trending political topics tend to be pro-social justice or anti-Trump?
I would like to end this on a moment of hope. That maybe, somehow, human beings will tire of this incessant tirade of information. Perhaps, when looking for ways to pass the time, people will go back to what humans used to do when they were bored; staring at clouds. However, I fear that short of a Luddite rebellion and a Great Unplugging of the Internet, the outrage cycle and the Angry-Stupids are, sadly, going to get noisier and messier.
Just imagine, then, a world without the internet. A world without the incessant chatter of those with nothing of substance to chatter about. A return to the days when you didn’t know what everyone thought of you, and the subsequent anxiety and frustration that comes with that. Some people’s idea of paradise is an all-expenses-paid holiday in the Bahamas. Mine is being stuck on a train in a tunnel during a delay; annoyed I’m going to be late for my hair appointment... but armed with the blissful knowledge that on my iPhone, the dots with 4G splashed next to them have been replaced by the words “No Service”.