I’ve long had a theory concerning bizarre and often nasty internet comments, and it is this: that the really insane rants are not, as one might have thought, written by the sort of people who struggle every day not to drink an entire bottle bleach, because it comes in such a colourfully alluring bottle; rather, these comments are the product of venting intellectuals, letting off steam after a hard day of thinking and struggling to exist in a society that accepts a complete and utter tit like will.i.am as a member.
To think of this theory as true is easier than believing that a particularly insane comment accurately sums up somebody’s genuine thoughts. That’s why, when I encounter a comment that reads as if somebody’s brain has violently collided with the “have your say” section of a website, I try to imagine that a doctor or meta-physicist has written it. This way I don’t have to acknowledge that somewhere out there—likely wallowing in a dank basement, the walls all covered with cut up photographs of an eyeless Bobby Davro and shit—is an individual so septic that the only way he can express his ludicrous opinions is to strangers that they hate online.
Of course, the last sentence also applies to myself—including the part, unfortunately, about Bobby Davro and living in a dank basement. But I’d like to believe that there is a difference: for starters, I don’t spend my time writing absurd comments below other people’s videos and articles, and I don’t wish death upon certain individuals or blame my frustration with life’s little inconveniences (taxes, stamps, recycling, celery, etc.) on the Jews. Instead, I bottle my misanthropy away until I unload privately, directing my irrational hatred for pretty much all people at myself. I have never—not even once—felt any great compulsion to take to The Telegraph website to voice my disdain.
So who, if not venting intellectuals, are the people writing these comments? Do I know any of these people? Are they family members, friends—acquaintances? Or are they, as I suspect is more likely, the work of shady pariahs living on the very fringes of society, like Richard Blackwood and Thomas Pynchon?
It’s worth noting, too, that not all internet comments are of the insane variety: many also appear to be the work of the sort of tragic pub-dwelling character who, five years ago, would have been condemned to natter on bitterly to anyone too polite to ignore them. How things have changed for this type of person. In this modern age, their views are now read by anyone curious enough to scroll down the page a bit. With their sub-standard Viz-style witticisms and supposed contempt for everyone who isn’t them, they’re living the dream, and receiving all the attention that, traditionally, they never would have received.
Certainly, these people are easy enough to place, but those who are responsible for the stranger comments—the hardcore crazies, if you will—seem to have almost appeared out of nowhere, like a thousand racist, misogynistic and illiterate jack in the boxes all popping up at the same time. It’s as if they’ve been waiting all this time for a platform for their bullshit and dislike of coherent sentences, and now they’ve acquired such a pedestal for their insanity, they’re tearing down the social constraints that have silenced them for so long, and they’re going rogue.
Naturally, as a sort of third-rate journalist, I’ve received my fair share of abuse from these people before. In a review I once wrote of a documentary on the 7/7 bombings in London, in fact, I was taken to task by a “truther”, who insisted that he knew the real cause behind the bombings.
“I should KNOW,” he concluded, trying—I think—not to sound callous, “my brother died ONCE.”
Well, thank god he only died the once, I suppose, and not twice, or three times.
His comment was enough to make me eat my own fist, particularly given that I hadn’t once made reference to who the perpetrators of the 7/7 bombings were in my review. Why, if he really knew the truth, was he wasting his time by commenting on a television review? I couldn’t understand, and I still don’t.
But perhaps that’s the point. Maybe these people don’t have a point at all—who knows? Whatever the answer, I’m sticking by my theory that these comments are the work of a tight-knit community of intellectuals, who are frustrated with the world and just want to relax after a hard day. The internet has the same effect as a bottle wine: it kills brain cells and loosens people up. So if calling somebody a gay face is what it takes for intellectuals to forget their troubles, then so be it.
What do you think? Do you think that I’m right? Let me know in the comment section below. Go on, have your say. The papers and TV channels care about your opinion, and now so do I. Yeah, who needs people who have formed their opinions because of extensive research, when I can scroll down and discover what someone who probably struggles with the concept of canned food thinks, eh? Go on then, have your say. Tell me that I’m a “gay face”. Have your nasty little say.