Data Peasant

Internet Hot Takes

The internet is full of hot takes. People live and breathe this stuff, even if they're too embarrassed to say it. But most takes are too dramatic and self-serious. Why not be a little more playful about it? Here are my own takes, packaged into tiny capsules. Take one when the internet gets you down. Or down the whole bottle if you'd rather end it all.

Captain of the football team

People love to watch Twitter spats. They scratch the same itch that sports do. We admire courage and effort in others, even if we lack these virtues in ourselves.

A reptile dysfunction

Many fear being publicly shamed online. It is believed that this stems from "entitlement" or "coddling". But people fear snakes too. The pillory is an equal opportunity deterrent.

Getting self-involved

Political organization requires real, meaningful sacrifice. It takes time and money. It takes discipline, strategy, dedication and risk. Posting doesn't require any of those things. It is fun though.

Crusader things

Much is made of online discourse being "tribal". But Twitter beefs only vaguely resemble warring factions. Words are not violence. Most heated threads do not even require thick skin.

"Is this cult organic"?

Guilt by association is less meaningful on social platforms that largely determine your associations for you. Most grifters have fans before they even become professional performers.

Diction, tone & syntax

The concept of a civil discussion presupposes restraints on speech. What these restraints are should be up to discussion - preferably a civil one.

The end of history

Intelligent unnamed officials report that cancel culture has wormed its way into academia, as well as into tech and news media corporations. Rest assured though, if these supposed institutions truly have theories of mass destruction, they will probably be self-destructive.

Born this way

Its tempting to accuse your online opponents of faking it, of being a performer, of doing things merely for love, adoration, and internet points. This kind of argument is not really possible to rebut. Esteem is something all humans crave, and none of us can change that.

Cancel order, please

Some argue that cancelers are mostly powerless, and therefore cancellation does not meaningfully exist, or is at the very least overblown. These people are ignoring the sun. A cursory glance at any Twitter feed will plainly show impetuous, vindictive whining. If cancellations never make their way to human resources, they are still insufferable - at the very least, they have the power to make our evening commutes suck.

The internet IS real life

The desire to be "seen" and "heard" is not an exclusively internet phenomena. Identity has driven political change across the globe in the 21st century.

Throwing logic to the wind

If you ever feel the urge to tell a complete stranger a fact online, do yourself and everyone else a favor and repress that desire.

Artificial intelligence

A lot of the time, online organizing is not very organized, nor is online activism very active. Don't let people browbeat you for not taking part in a farce.

Alternative medicine

Strategies for "battling misinformation online" are usually way too complicated. Try this: get the person to trust you first. That's what conspiracy theorists do.

Memes of production

The internet trains you to know just enough about a group of people to make fun of them. This behavior might be antisocial, but it does make for efficient meme generation.

The gut gets what the gut wants

Maslow tells us that respect is just below self-actualization, but from what I can tell, a lot of people online haven't even met their physiological needs. This leads to two possibilities: 1) people need to get their priorities straight, 2) our need for respect comes straight from the lizard brain.

Charity never faileth

One of the easiest ways you can mischaracterize your online opponent is by assuming their explanations are justifications.

Into the void

There are an infinite number of subcultures online. Most of them are discussing issues most people have never heard of. That doesn't stop their adherents from believing their obsessions are of global importance.

Can we talk?

The most experienced posters are also the most cautious. They say they've been hurt before, and don't want to be hurt again. You'd be a dick to not believe them. They anticipate hidden motives, even where there are none. Newcomers call it hyper-sensitive, but the seasoned veterans call it adaptive strategy. Far better to assume bad faith from the get-go. Far better to just play it safe.

Social distancing

Internet theorists have a whole host of hypotheses to explain anti-social behavior online: anonymity, lack of context, non-verbal communication, etc. Its all the computer's fault. Not surprisingly, these material explanations for trolling do not satisfy most people. They want to know the ideology, the motivation. It seems unncessary: a much easier way to distinguish yourself from others is to just assume it!

Super fragile chiasmatic experiential doses

Entrainment is the mechanism whereby the physiology and behavior of an organism synchronizes with its environment. Temperatures fall, hormones rise, oscillating gene networks kick into gear. A lot of the science is still unknown.

- 4 toasts