For someone who believes that everything is terrible and only getting worse, and that what we see on the web is both fulcrum and paradigm of that horrific progression, I spend a lot of time thinking about and discussing the Internet and its awfulness. Perhaps it is masochism. Perhaps it is the manifestation of a desire to somehow identify the source of the increasing terror that is corroding our souls. Perhaps it is a combination of the two. Regardless, my continuing examinations into the nightmare of our existence in the digital space and its spillover into our waking life have already resulted in the discovery of Balk’s Law (“Everything you hate about The Internet is actually everything you hate about people.”) and more recently yielded a further realization which, in consultation with a team of advisers, is still being refined, but that I feel is too important to keep from the population at large until it has been fully developed.
I want to repeat the caveat that this is highly theoretical and its ultimate implications have not yet been rationalized, and also warn you that there is a good deal of technical imprecision to the theory as it currently exists, but if you are willing to look past those exceptions we can proceed. Okay. At some point, probably in the ’80s, probably in The Book of Questions or one of the myriad knock-off versions, a query was posed about whether you would actually want to know the totality of what other people genuinely thought regarding your appearance, temperament and behaviors, instead of the sliver that they, bound by the dictates of courtesy and tact, expressed in your presence. The premise behind the question was the idea that society is only held together by a massive state of denial in which we consciously disregard the low esteem other people have for our assortment of generally disagreeable personality traits while maintaining a thick internal file of our various collected disdain for everyone else’s. This is not particularly groundbreaking in its understanding of the cognitive dissonance necessary to avoid widespread psychic paralysis but it was a recent reminder of the question that brought me to what I am tentatively denominating Balk’s Second Law. What I realized was that the worst thing isn’t knowing what everyone thinks about you. No, Balk’s Second Law puts it this way: The worst thing is knowing what everyone thinks about anything. And here is where we see the true malignant force that drives the Internet: It is the purest mechanism yet through which everyone can express every idiot opinion they have about everything to everyone else. I will not even get into all the metacognitive aspects of this or the terrible ways in which we classify all these opinions, the derisiveness of which is its own kind of awfulness. No, for now I just want you to let this sink in for a second: The Internet is poisoning you every day with its constant gush of idiot opinion from the vast waste-ridden tide of people who need to be reminded to shut their mouths while breathing. It is terrible and only getting worse, and the various forms of social media are only amplifying the process and hastening us toward our inevitable end.
That said, even I have to admit that there was something indescribably beautiful this weekend to watching a bunch of Dallas Cowboy fans bitch and moan on Twitter, without any sense of irony or self-awareness, about how a bad call robbed them of a playoff victory. Hahahaha! Suck it, you ignorant sacks! I hope bitterness tastes good, because that is all you will have to eat for another year. Hahahaha! Losers!