The Spirit Of The Internet

You won’t believe who has it.

Photo: Thomas Hawk

Someone made this point yesterday, but given that a prolific user of social media has a popular tweet this morning it is worth repeating: The untrammeled spirit of the Internet is narcissism, bigotry and lies. Does this mean that this specific prolific user of social media is in fact the untrammeled spirit of the Internet? I will not make a definitive ruling but I think the thing speaks for itself.

As to whether or not this man’s continuing stream of consciousness, broadcast to an audience that cannot turn away, is either a cunning plan to distract you from his more unsavory and destructive schemes for the world or simply an illustration of how his impetuousness and lack of impulse control render him critically unfit for the massive authority he is about to acquire, allow me to offer a third possibility: Perhaps he himself is a prisoner of the same social media addiction that enslaves so many of us these days. He may, in fact, be its most prominent victim, since while many of us fall prey to its charms simply for the quick ego rush of a few hearts and RTs, his reward has been the leadership of the free world. You can see how it might be a problem. As one of the ancient philosophers, probably Socrates, once said: Χωρίς τη σάλτσα ένας άνθρωπος έχει χαθεί αλλά ο ίδιος άνθρωπος να χαθείτε στη σάλτσα. It’s difficult to disagree.

In any event, it’s probably a good time to review Balk’s Three Laws:

Balk’s First Law: Everything you hate about the Internet is actually everything you hate about people.

Balk’s Second Law: The worst thing is knowing what everyone thinks about anything.

Balk’s Third Law: If you think the Internet is terrible now, just wait a while.

If you have spent any time on the Internet of late the precision of these laws has been so indisputable as to render them commonplace. They are at this point nearly clichés, assertions that once seemed as if they were exaggerated for effect but are now if anything understated in their acknowledgment of the horrors we encounter each time we find ourselves online. (Balk’s Third Law is the most frightening law because each time someone says “How much worse could it get?” the answer is very swiftly apparent.) I have no positive solutions to offer you at this point; I am simply looking for credit. And maybe an apology from everyone who said I was too bleak. There is very little else left in this world to hope for, reward-wise.