thought digest, 11.15.2023
This is so true! And it's not just online..
Consider this often, reflecting on it more so recently. Based off of interactions with Zoomers, who by my reading "get" the circumstances they exist in. There is a "I'm here to get on with it." mentality that seems to be apparent. One hunch is just that the bombardment of self-initiated info-overloading leaves you fractalized against action/meaning in general. Really I think they have want/have nothing to grasp as an anchor point for identity, other than the hazbin's of yesteryear as they extract some mashup of the 80's-10's in a speed-run of prior gens reuptake cycles. Scant pickings for deep meaning or representation there.
It was a sentiment myself and friends were left w/ celebrating my friends B-day at a "Western Weekend" or attending Ren Faires in past years. There is an inability to suspend ones disbelief (Tumblr RP-accounts seem like desperate sock puppets for interaction in that regard.).. maybe we've aged, but in the case of our local one the feeling year after year was a saccharine attempt to comodify and commercialize the "experience" for broad appeal. The faces I used to recognize that had a hint of vital and uncoerced embodiment in their performance. Road gypsies, pre-semester theater/history majors, hobbyist and craft types. All slowly driven off in favor of a well-polished money machine attraction. Current things also have some part to play in all of that, whether it be the consequences or them being at the forefront of mind.
Or has modernity sufficiently effaced the "authentic self"? I dated a girl years ago who was.. yes.. a Furry, but made an understandable but still shocking admission that she "only felt freely able to express myself in-suit." As someone who was not/is not a Furry, you have to get how bizarre that sounds. Your most comfortable point of expression is when you're anonymous as an anthropomorphic pink cat..?
Is my reaction, imagined internally multipled by the broader collective what stiflies people into this fear of expression? Of being so passionately involved in an alternate identity or niche that it's best left a secret against ridicule?
While similarly an Argentine camgirl I pen-pal with understands her persona in the opposite. Starkly put "that is a character, I know that she or anyone she knows cannot save me. They are online, the reality of a street-disturbance isn't stopped by anything fake like that." but identified with the ex I mentioneds need for anonymity for true expression.. despite the work that places her front and center in being perceived?
I don't personally get it, I've been enthralled with the Internet since the first dial-up sign-on, but I've always retained my being me typing into an interface.
I was getting to a point about Gen Alpha.. I've gone from reply to essay so wrapping.. outside of some "course correction" I think they'll be left in more bizarre and difficult to navigate cultural/social landscape than we can know.. Aged Tumblrites have already seen the 2010's-nostalgia-core trend with horror. I think AI was an uncorking of that Spenglerian question whose mere existence marks the turn to decline. "Why have kids?","Why create?","Why play?"
I have been having similar revelations about these pro-family influencers lacking children. A lot of them also seem to be autistic. I hate to say this, but I first noticed this on TPOT rather than on the dissident right. It was through TPOT that childless autistic women appeared to be larping some Jane Austen novel and masquerading as fertility influencers, completely obsessed with gender norms and reproduction stats. As an autistic woman who is about a decade older than these girls, I started to wonder if it was a generational thing. Why were these younger women putting such extreme restrictions on themselves? Being autistic and gender non-conforming is difficult enough. Why were they upping their difficultly setting to 1000? I concluded that trad wife had become the new boss girl and that being a boss girl was actually a lot easier than whatever these new TPOT ladies were manifesting. Thanks for touching on this so I didn’t need to blog about it. The revelation had been on my mind for a while, yet I didn’t want to write another niche article without a substantial audience. Screaming into the void about this stuff isn’t any fun.
What happens when imagination is outsourced? Without true play there is no self discovery, empathy; wire mother, wire personalities, theory of hivemind.
I think internet identities used to be disconnected from our real identities, which made role play easier when there’s little expectation that anyone is showing their “real life” self. now there’s a lack of anonymity, with many people using their real name and posting their real face (this is especially noteworthy on tiktok where people will post obvious lies/trolling similar to 4chan greentexts, and yet have their face in the video). I think the internet is in a strange place where you are expected to be “real”, and yet, the urge to use the internet as a way to experiment with different identities has never left.
One aspect of Identity that I've been considering is the proliferation of this kind of adolescent yearning for the transcendence of simple and discrete categories. there's this concept within philosophy that I have studied called the sublime, where something, usually nature, is so grand and so overwhelming of your sensory perception that it lacks the possibility of rationalization or calculation. In a way, this is what the notion of "queering" aspires to, but also the facetious esoterica of the e-right, which seeks to induce a kind of mind-fucking "shock of the (old)" that assaults contemporary social mores. Everyone thinks they occupy a privileged position that transcends the mundanity and stratification of contemporary social life. it is not enough to have an identity, but also to reconfigure how identity is expressed and understood. In a way, it is perfectly understandable why people with unbridled variety in the media they consume would want to cohere it into something, when inspiration from highly masculine coded and feminine coded media get reflected upon, an anxiety is induced by the kind of aporia about gender, but this is old news. the same could be correct of computer programmers who think they can introduce age old truths from archaic societies into the cutting edge.
I have this vivid memory of stumbling into some online chatroom on my dad's computer, fooling around and failing to understand exactly what roleplay was. Others kept telling me to use *action marks.* I didn't understand, but I kept going until I got fed up and said WHAT THE FUCK ARE ACTION MARKS? I HATE ALL OF YOU!!!! and quit the room.
It's true, though, that in this time roleplay has totally lost its frame of reference. Every thread is an rp thread, every platform is an rp board. Even the purportedly joyous and playful memetic signifiers are impotent but for their autoerotic fixation on how Extremely Important it is to Do This Kind of Thing in order to, I don't know, bring about the correct kind of genocide? Summon Shiva? Get Bernie elected finally? Baristas? Kids in cages? Is that still a thing?
The distinction between adopting an image out of affinity and cultivating a personality that reflects actual experience is that only one of those offers any expression for what you really need from life. The other, ultimately, is only, and at its best, cope. But none of us have any experience of life anymore. We're all just trying to put together some Megabot assemblage of images and ideas that, we hope, if we just continue to tinker with it, will finally make us feel human, or at minimum, less alone. Only it doesn't work.
At least it doesn't for me.
> I’m not the only one who’s noticed that a significant handful of the most vocal pro-family Internet personalities are missing one vital thing: a family. But that’s the way it goes online. Many of the most vocal, most popular anti-feminists are unmarried cosmopolitans, hustling their way into a subscriber base that can pay their rent.
That's because the people with actual families are too busy with their families to be vocal online.
I guess I don’t think meaning is super real under this definition. Living in the arena was rarely real for anyone and for those in the arena, life seemed gruesome and short