People and the Internet

by Noise Pollution

With the tenor of discourse on the internet, it’s no wonder I’m a nihilist. Viewed from behind a computer screen, human nature is inherently repulsive. There is no way to believe that people are supposed to be good, when all of this evidence points to the fact that we’re actually all terrible.

The fact that we all spend so much time in an environment where liking something someone else isn’t into is considered bad and wrong by that person is unsettling. The communities that the internet tends to foster are no different than circles of elementary school bullies. “Oh, you like Pokemon? Pokemon is for babies!” and then you get laughed off of the playground.

I mean, on the one hand, the internet has opened so many doors for people of all ages and gender identities and races to be into whatever they want. Seeing someone else who doesn’t fit the “target demographic” of a particular game or movie or book or anything be into that thing gives people confidence that they can, too.

That’s cool! But it’s a lot cooler in theory than in practice. The reality of the situation is that people are scorned for liking the things that they like. They’re scorned because of their age, their race, or their gender. They’re scorned for awful, xenophobic reasons, and the people doing the scorning are hiding behind flimsy excuses for why it’s okay. They’re accused of pretending to like something, or not being into it enough. They’re told that they have some sort of political agenda, whether or not they’ve made any comments in their direction. Just by being someone on the internet who doesn’t fit into the box some folks have defined as “people,” they are making statements. And they suffer for it. People send them death threats, harass their families, and post their personal information on the internet. It’s disgusting.

And you can take this further than the major social issues, too. Just by saying you like something, you’ve managed to become less than human in someone’s eyes. You are suddenly part of a “group.” You become one of them. The enemy. Just by being into something! It’s ridiculous! If someone hates Doctor Who, and you like it (which I personally don’t by the way,) you’re suddenly “one of those Doctor Who fans,” and not Jason, or Victoria, or even xxx_smokedog420_xxx anymore. You’re just a part of a machine that they don’t like. And you’re offending them. You’re contributing to the death of content they love! You’re a death knell for whatever it is that they’re into. Somehow. I don’t know how that works, but that’s the accusation being made.

It’s very hard to believe in the goodness of human nature when the internet has exposed something so disgusting about it. We strip away the humanity from those who we see as “different” from us. They become part of something else, and we want to dismantle that something else. The internet is a truly unhealthy place to be. For all the unbelievable good it has done, it’s really made me depressed about what people are.