George Burns once said it was “Too bad that all the people who know how to run this country are busy driving taxis and cutting hair.” Well now they are all sitting at computers in their pants, and they are voluble and angry.
The internet initially prompts us to feel that we are not nearly as useless as we had suspected: the Banaladons roam freely there, and speak loudly too. You set off feeling comforted and mumbling “there but for the grace of God.”
There, people who cannot write, or think, speak of over population and of the need for an elite to make the harsh decisions, and you admire their acceptance of the need for self sacrifice, until then it hits you: they picture themselves as members of this wise and sorrowful council of culling, rather than one more dollar for the resultant boom in the landfill industry. Those who argue fervently online that there are too many people in the world and that there needs to be some kind of cull, had better hope that a spelling test plays no part in the selection process, and that the dominant notion of wise elders includes plenty of space for college dropouts from shitty towns in the south or Midwestern states of the US, ranters with estranged wives and collapsing clown car lives.
People who couldn’t tell you what a Kibbutz is or whether Iran was still technically a part of Belgium following the Haitian invasion of New Zealand in Nineteen fifty Khrushchev, will speak about global issues with more conviction than I can manage as to whether or not this page is white.
There perceptions become convictions at the speed of light, shit that has been perfectly knowable for decades to anyone who could read is dramatically revealed as part of a secret government plot. Like Donny repeating “I am the walrus” they have no frame of reference, not knowing enough to know that they know fuck all.
If you ever thought you were dumb as a post, the internet can be deeply reassuring. Nowadays, if you say something stupid in front of an attractive woman in a bar, you can go home, look at a few YouTube comments and remember immediately that you are not the world’s village idiot after all. But the solace cannot hold long against that tidal wave.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity
Yeats wrote that in 1919, he had no idea. Now the worst are bursting out of their Y fronts with passionate intensity and what’s more, they know 200 Facebook pages, full of badly designed graphics spelling out why Israel is a fascist state or the Federal Reserve is run by actual demons. Should you be fool enough to challenge them they can, and will, provide you with thousands of links to pages written by people just like them, but with more free time, all notions of objective authority on any matter being dismissed as elitism or part of a sinister plot that is only visible to people who TYPE IN CAPITALS ALL THE FUCKING TIME.
I’m looking forward to the cull by this point, whichever side of the bulldozer I end up on, it can’t be more depressing than this.