The Internet Is Killing You And You're Begging For More

Because you’re an idiot, like everyone else.

Photo: Alan Levine

A couple of days ago a friend of mine, who had kept herself away from Twitter for a few weeks, gave in to curiosity and looked to see what was happening. “It made me hate myself,” she said. “You can tell everyone on there is sad and anxious, and they don’t understand why, but it’s because being on Twitter makes you sad and anxious.”

“Maybe it’s also the election?” I asked.

“No, it’s Twitter. Twitter makes you sick.”

Another friend announced that she had “deleted Instagram from my phone because it was giving my soul cancer.”

I can’t even imagine how people who are on Snapchat all the time feel, although maybe they are somehow okay, Snapchat being the platform for the youngest and dumbest among us, the lucky souls who are so vapid and sanded-down to the horrors of digital existence that they don’t even notice how they are being eaten away from the inside.

Anyway, the point here is that the Internet is poison. It is a point I have made before (see: “Being on the Internet is like drinking poison”) and will continue to make again until you people FINALLY LISTEN TO ME. You won’t, though, because you’re too far gone. You need the poison like you need the air. “If I don’t have another reason to hate myself today,” your stupid brain tells itself so quietly that you can’t even hear the conversation, “I’ll just die.” And then you think, “Gee, let me look at Twitter,” and you’re sad for the rest of the day, but you don’t know why. It is because all the promise of the Internet turned out to be lies. The Internet makes you depressed by showing you how you and everyone around you look at your worst, which is how you and everyone around you look most of the time. The Internet is a mirror that reveals the worst things about us, because it’s a mirror, and we are mostly worst things.

So Andrew Sullivan has some thoughts on this. I sort of skimmed through it, there’s a lot of stuff there and if you’ve ever read Andrew Sullivan before you know exactly how quickly “the guy’s got a point” turns into [MAKES “JERKING OFF” MOTION SO HARD THAT THREE KINDS OF WRIST AND SHOULDER SURGERY ARE REQUIRED]. I mean, he waits a little longer than usual to mention Michael Oakeshott, but damned if he doesn’t bring him up near about the halfway mark. Does he say some indisputable things about how awful the web is now and what kind of damage it is doing to us? Yes, yes he does. There is a whole lot of other stuff that is considerably less correct, but you are encouraged to read it for yourself, if only so I can make it clear that there are a growing number of voices telling you how terrible the Internet is and it’s not just me shouting into the void.

Andrew Sullivan: My Distraction Sickness – and Yours

Sullivan’s piece focuses more on the distraction and loss of focus that our terrible addiction to constant connectivity breeds, but, at the risk of repeating myself, there are so many other terrible things about the Internet. It makes you lonelier, and less likely to have real friends. It’s eating our children’s brains. It’s only going to get worse. Even if you remember how good it was it just makes you that much more depressed about how awful it is now. It’s a big fucking trough of heartbreak, vomit flakes and asswater, festooned with quizzes, Jew-hating frogs and soul-crushing itemized listicles signifying nothing but sounding furious. There is no escape. Merely pointing out how awful the Internet is results in any number of idiot men who think they’re geniuses for noticing that you’re on the Internet talking about how irredeemable the Internet is taking their thumbs from their buttholes long enough to type out a tweet where they point out your supposed hypocrisy as if they were blowing the lid off of Hillary Clinton’s body double. It’s enough to make you wish we were all condemned to silence for a year. You know what? That doesn’t sound so bad.

How Silence Works: Emailed Conversations With Four Trappist Monks

Hahaha, isn’t it pretty to think so. In conclusion, fuck the Internet. But also, we’re fucked, by the Internet. I have no hope to offer you, for we have burned off all our hope in constantly praying for hearts and shares. There is nothing left but despair. What will survive of us is puppy clips and impenetrable memes and detailed descriptions of meaningless dreams and photographs we took to show everyone else how just how happy we are, how totally terrific our lives are turning out to be. When the Internet has finally finished us off we will still be there as spectral presences, sitting by the sea in front of an amazing sunset, which we mostly missed because we were busy taking the picture. We deserve everything we’re going to get. It can’t come quickly enough.