Hangover Archives: 2021–05
What May, Will Say
The Internet has given us unprecedented and nearly-infinite access to mechanisms which allow us to communicate to anybody on Earth in an instant, and incidentally, has given us the nearly-infinite ability to be ignored. There has long been a disconnect between the means to speak and the desire to be heard, where comment is free and yet transforming your comments into holy truth by virtue of you saying them is an arrogance which exists chief among those who have been temporarily listened to. The existence of “influencers”, who influence nothing and will be seen by future generations as an embarrassing fad akin to today’s realty television stars playacting fake lives in a dying medium, is proof of this perpetual non-influence inversely proportional to the amount of attention one receives. On a global scale, all communications can be tuned into everywhere at any time by anybody for any reason, and we have the privilege to be a part of this global conversation for as long as the Internet is up and our Wi-Fi connections don’t get knocked out by a humming microwave reheating a frozen burrito. But there is too much noise, not enough signal, and our communications might as well be incomprehensible mumblings — for on a global level, that is what they are.
It’s been said that for every person who speaks up, one hundred remains silent. Is this true? Perhaps, considering how only 22% of United States adults use Twitter, 69% use Facebook, and of those numbers there are far less percentages of individuals who actually post anything anybody gives a toss about. It’s obvious that social media penetration is not nearly as influential as we take it to be; the average frequent Twitter user is young, highly-educated, and not terribly motivated to tweet. For all the Americans hem and haw about social media’s influence in shaping world politics, it’s obvious that getting our news from Twitter, a platform which 78% of American citizens aren’t even using, is getting our news from the tiniest, non-representative slice of what their countrymen actually think and believe. Is it such that this 22% superminority are speaking on behalf of everyone else who stays silent by choice? Or, considering that 22% of the United States population is still over 72 million individuals — just shy of the 74,000,000 who believed that Donald Trump was the man most qualified for the presidential office of the United States of America — does the percentage even matter when such a swarm of people are still all so loud?
Too much noise and not enough signal might as well be the motto of the Internet, since we used up all our snark about cat videos and porn. The trouble with democratising speech is that there are too many people and not enough interesting people; the trouble with the Internet is that there’s too many voices and not enough interesting words. The second motto of the Internet might as well be to never read the comments, because we all know what happens when we give a platform to people whose contribution to world culture exists only as an anonymous comment on someone else’s web server. You don’t need a doctorate to log into Twitter and start saying stupid shit, and it takes even less effort to post an anonymous comment on a random news posts, where your ideas are of such low-quality, representing the lowest babblings of the proletariat fit only for consumption by the bored and depressed, that they become indistinguishable from automated propaganda activities from foreign governments drowning out Western media sites with derivative misinformation campaigns. The idea that everyone deserves a platform to comment — that anyone deserves to voice their opinion on your work — is misguided. Do you know what my motto is? People are morons. It’s not always right, but it’s a hell of a lot more right than any idealistic platitude about the intelligence of anonymous Internet morons.
Even so, my works have always been about encouraging you to avoid the tempting mediocrity of consuming bad media in favour of finding emotions unbound in truly great works of art. The lowest of low art exists in the rumblings of unimportant idiots commenting on works they had nothing to do with invoking spurious arguments on websites they have no hand in the design, maintenance, or continued existence of. Criticism, for all its appeal, is an art form just like any other, and where we would not write our lyrics and poetry under someone else’s instrumental song, we would not write our criticisms in little postcards under the projection screen at the movie theatre — and if we do, they are sure to be the laziest art we can be bothered to create. YouTube comments are notorious for their low quality, where even after sixteen years of tackling the issue of how to make them less omnipresently cancerous, YouTube’s moderation tools are woefully inadequate and its automated systems for detecting bad comments are proven worthless by going to any video and sorting comments by new.
The idea that user comments exist at all is absurd. DigiBronyMLP, in a video they created and is now deleted alongside all other goodness under the sun and moon, said the entire idea of Internet comments is flawed because of how it professes a so-called right to random people to express their unsolicited opinions on topics they had zero hand in the creation of. Put bluntly, DigiBronyMLP said the reason they can’t take criticism is because the vast majority of criticism they receive is bullshit — fitting enough, because another one of their quotes is “people like bullshit”. What is bullshit? Criticisms which are already addressed in the video, criticisms which have nothing to do with the video, criticisms which have been published so long after the video’s release that the uploader’s opinion has already changed by the time they read it, criticisms which are repeatedly expressed and addressed dozens of times by other commentors, and complaints which aren’t even criticisms at all and are basically bitching about random things the commentor cares about to the detriment of all other relevancy.
And yet, because of algorithmic concerns about “user retention” — which is a fancy way of saying how long you can get strangers to stare at their computer screens — YouTubers can’t disable comments on their videos because it would drastically reduce their visibility in search results and recommendations, meaning they’re forced to endure the paradox of either ignoring user comments entirely while they’re allowing a hive of scum and villainy to grow under their noses, or reading the comments and being subject to a form of discourse so lowly that it makes Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement look like Robert’s Rules of Order. As I alluded to above, if you went to a movie theatre and were privilege to randomly being exposed to the opinions of people you don’t know, don’t care about, and will never care about in your entire life, your experience with the movie would be distracted and the only interesting thing about the opinions received would be the idea that you actually give a shit about what they have to say.
There is this delusion that having a comments section open, whether on YouTube or anywhere else, professes the right to be listened to, the right to be agreed to, and the right to believe your opinions matters on any scale at all. They don’t, but you get to believe that because man is a fickle, status-drive animal who will burn down a children’s hospital to win a argument with a stranger on the Internet about the liberals being soyboy snowflakes who are too afraid to murder children. Reality is such that the vast majority of human beings are equally interchangeable with each other and have nothing special in their lives that differentiates themselves from each other, even from other so-called special individuals. Look, here’s an article from 2017 showing the 19 types of proletariat ramblings you will find on every YouTube music video. Nothing has changed since then and YouTube comments are still shit. This is fucking ridiculous. These are living, breathing, literate human beings who genuinely think anybody gives a single fuck about how old they were when they listened to a song, what country they’re listening from, or what they have to say about anything worth a damn about anything ever created on YouTube or any other Internet platform. What’s more rediculous is that people actually spare the physical effort to move their mouse cursor half a centimetre to the like button and upvote this drivel. Who’s the worse human being — the mindless rambler, or the mindless enabler?
Hey, listen. Strangers on the Internet. I’m not your friend. I’m not part of a relationship with you at all. I have no business with you whatsoever and I have absolutely zero obligation to listen to any of the inane bullshit you feel the need to spread into the infinite cesspool of Internet comment sections. The reason people listen to each other talk about stupid bullshit in real life is because they understand enough of the person to know that their random comments are just part of a larger personality placed into a specific context which is consistent with every other opinion they will ever have across a long and healthy relationship. Even though some of their ideas might be lazy and stupid, we assume the reason you hang around your friends is because they have the capacity to be interesting once in a while — or failing that, to offer you some benefit in the future, such as comfort, companionship, and the understanding that somebody genuinely cares about you and is presenting the best version of themself they know how to be. We listen to our friends and they do the same for us because we care. And friendship, as we know from a particular children’s program which generated 140,969 pornographic images of its main character, is magic.
When you post something in a comment section on the Internet, you are broadcasting to the world that your opinion has such little value, that what you say is of such little interest, that the definitive way for you to express your ideas out there in the whole wide world is to post a random comment on somebody else’s content alongside hundreds of other random commentors who are equally uninfluential and idiotic. By expressing your opinion in these quarters, you are revealing that you have such little faith in what you have to say that you have to couch your opinions alongside prolefeed such as kekking epic dank maymay copypastas and those guys who ask about the year, month, day, time, and evolutionary epoch you are listening to the current song in. You are revealing that you are not special, you have nothing unique or intelligent to say, and your opinion exists only to be broadcast alongside an infinite sea of guttural screeches and subsequently ignored the instant it was created. All Internet comments are miscarriages, carried to term out of their parents stupidity and immediately terminated due to their carelessness. If everything you’ve ever had to say can be wiped out of existence in an instant just by installing a stylesheet, then did you have anything to say at all?
But the sad realisation about this confluence of the easy, effortless ability to write random guttural utterances into the great, and the subsequent affirmation gained through imaginary Internet points, such as your upvotes, your likes, your karma, your 4chan gold, is that this behaviour isn’t representative of any mental illness or abnormal narcissism. This behaviour, this whoring for attention one level below those Facebook posts where one like equals one prayer for starving African children? This is primal. This is just what humans do. We are the single most desperate species alive in terms of how we demand attention from other people — even people we don’t give a single shit about. There existed a vending machine in Russia where you could buy Instagram likes for the low, low price of one American dollar for 100 Internet points, and the worst thing about this enterprise is that it actually made some money. Our desires for human contact has made us resort to paying literal robots for fake engagement on whatever irrelevant garbage we produce, because human contact is so meaningless in the 21st century that fake engagement we spend real money to obtain is exactly equivalent to real validation which takes actual work to achieve.
And that’s why we read the comments. That’s why we write those comments. Because we are desperate, stupid animals, with nothing to show for our lives, and are so starved of validation and meaningful human contact that we take any victory — any perceived increase in our imaginary status among anonymous peers — as worthy of feeling good about. We read them because we want our opinions to be validated by people we have no understanding of whatsoever, and we write them because we want to know we aren’t alone in having our fleeting, unimportant ideas about arbitrary topics. We have nothing interesting to show in regards to our hobbies, our careers, our experiences, our heritage, or anything that makes up our particular human existences which differentiates us from fellow man. As a gay space rock once said, humans lead short, boring, insignificant lives, so they make up stories to feel like they’re a part of something bigger. It is pathetic. Utterly, truly, pathetic. I hope my species dies within my lifetime.
But there is hope.
Brothers. Sisters. Anonymous Internet idiots who will never achieve anything in their lives and will fall into their graves and be forgotten within the decade. We have the technology. I have another way.
We are aware that anyone who posts a comment on the Internet has absolutely nothing to say about anything meaningful in life and can be safely ignored like the scum they are. However, what if we were to take those same opinions, transplant them into a more presentable format, and offer them to a particular audience of like-minded people who are willing to read your comments in a more formal matter? What if we had a way on the Internet to, perhaps, log our thoughts on the Web in a way which allows people who want to view our opinions to do so in a single, concentrated form? And what if we were to use this technology, perhaps through some sort of “Web logger”, to create our own websites with which we can express our ideas on subject matter in a way which allows us to use the infinite capability of the Internet to write them down in as much detail as we like, to format them how we like, and to catalogue them in a way which allows these opinions to be viewed as a single entity that we are totally responsible for creating?
And perhaps, if there is such a way to upload videos to the Internet, perhaps on a personal “tube” which you could upload videos for free to, in order to use this new Web logging technology to visually represent our ideas in a medium which would more accurately express the candour and charisma we possess in real life — maybe using a sort of “video logging” format? And if merely talking into a camera seems visually uninteresting, might we instead use some video editing software in order to add visuals to the medium to express our ideas in pictoral form, adding imagery and footage to enhance the ideas we are attempting to express? Maybe we could even take inspiration from traditional medium and create our own video series on the Internet — a sort of “Web show” for our “personal brand”.
So this suggestion is obvious, sardonic, and patronising due to how omnipresent these technologies are in our lives. We already know how to make a blog! The trouble is nobody gives a shit about blogs! I would know! I’m writing one right now! And what’s this crap about making a YouTube channel? Oh, yeah, just let me “vee log” my ideas like some dickhead, disregarding that some of the most successful YouTube channels ever created are literally just staring into a camera and talking about their opinions on stuff. One dude has 3 million subscribers for picking locks. He points a camera at a desk, has a lock on it, talks about the lock, picks the lock, and has gotten three million subscribers for doing this shit for over one thousand videos at three minutes a piece. For picking fucking locks.
So if all of these ideas are so fucking simple, obvious, and easy-to-achieve… then why the fuck are you wasting your time and effort spending it writing comments under other people’s hard-earned content spouting simplistic ideas for hours on end, ridiculing anyone who disagrees with you, and generally fostering divisiveness, cynicism, and a lower level of public dialogue? Fuck, one of the most popular YouTube channels of 2015 was recorded using a crusty-ass cell phone and fucking MS Paint. Look, that link contains four gigantic YouTube channels anyone could made, and they’re all about dicking around and effectively doing nothing. That video could have been made in 1995, and yet nine million people watched a stick figure with a gigantic chin eulogise — in a fucking slide show — about all the excuses people make when it comes to reasons why they can’t just go out and create whatever the fuck type of content they want to see exist in the world.
I need you to understand something, and I want you to burn this into your skull so Uncle Ebert doesn’t have to haunt your grave: it’s not what a movie is about. It’s how it’s about it. If you have a genuine interest in a topic you care about, and you’re able to express that interest in a genuine and approachable fashion, then people who have the same interests as you will be willing to keep coming back and watching whatever opinions you have on that topic. What topic do you enjoy that hasn’t been covered in a legitimately entertaining way in a low-budget format? Cartoons? Anime? Albums? Video games? Book reviews? Long-form media analysis? Absurd Internet oddities? Staring at couches? Left-wing political echo chambers? Random rants about anything that crosses your mind? It’s all been done before, it’s all been done on the cheap, and the doers have been very successful in their enterprises. Don’t get me wrong, making videos requires a ton of time and effort, especially in the postproduction phases. But it doesn’t matter what something is about. It’s how it’s about it. If you genuinely have a desire to bring your opinions to light, you will find a way to convince people why they are correct. You don’t have to be Tom Scott and travel to Iceland to swim in nuclear waste. You just need an idea, some charisma, a lot of free time, and a dream.
And don’t give me that shit about how nobody will care about what you’re making. Who gives a fuck! Who gives a fuck if anybody looks at what you make as long as it makes you happy? I wrote one million words — a million fucking words! — across five different websites, and I have not received a single sponsorship deal, a single shout-out from an eCeleb, or a single taxable cent on anything I have ever created across this five-year stretch of time. I don’t write because I’m making a shit-ton of money and I can spend it on cars, bitches, and Dogecoin. I do it, and this concept may be unbelievable to you, because I like writing. For all that I’ve bitched about how fucking terrible this hobby is, I keep coming back to it. Because no matter how much work I do, no matter how much I strain myself, no matter how meaningless the effort ultimately is, I like writing. That’s why I write.
If you have just 100 people viewing your work a day, just one hundred lost souls who sought everything all across the Internet forever and decided that, among everything their eyeballs can be grepping each and every day, that your work is what deserves to be most looked at, then you are doing better than 99.99% of human beings ever will in their entire lives. Yes, 100 viewers a day sounds tiny compared to some Twitch thot who flashes her ass on camera and rakes in 100 times that, but you misunderstand me. The Internet is big. Fucking huge! You may think your local Walmart is big, but that’s peanuts compared to the Internet. Those thots represent only the top end of the total number of eyeballs you can get on your work at any time, and those random influencers who post clickbait YouTube videos and get 10 million views a video, per day, for the most cancerous and lowest-common-denominator content represent only the highest slice of an ever-fleeting demographic of fickle consumers who have no personality or coherent sense of self beyond what they are told to consume by the main media wing of a multi-billion dollar tech corporation whose business model is in manipulating what you see, hear, and experience while you’re using its platform. The YouTube trending tab is the worst invention ever devised by mankind, worse than the dude who fucked the monkey which gave us AIDS, and Fortnite Monopoly. I don’t feel bad about linking that for fear of it being out of date, because I guarantee, no matter which day, month, or year, the YouTube trending tab is always going to be cancer.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. There’s this random VTuber — Virtual YouTuber, if you don’t know what that is then good luck in the brave new world — who’s name is Lily Hops. Her gimmick is that she’s a variety streamer who presents as this frog-themed little girl who uses the absurd juxtaposition between her persona and her autistic ASMR-like ramblings about arbitrary subject matter that it creates a ludonarrative disconnect between her aesthetics and her vocal delivery which results in cathartic fascination. Like all VTubers, she is horrifying, and yet her devotion to the bit is so astonishing and her performance so entrancing that I respect her even more than the eldest of all VTubers, such as the Annoying Orange and Têtes à Claques. Her YouTube channel has 1,070 subscribers — pretty obscure, innit? The only reason I know anything about her is because she gets shilled on 4chan’s /s4s/ board, which is their dedicated shitpost board for memes so isolated and incestuous it’s like Australian evolution gone wrong. It is a nice board.
Some random dude named Doremifag, who is so named because he has posted screencaps of the children’s magical girl anime Ojamajo Doremi on a daily basis for over five years while also running an art account in which he draws birthday art of the characters from this anime and you can see why I don’t talk about this board, decided to take his talents, start shilling this not-a-little-girl-yet-playacting-as-a-little-girl-for-the-twitch-clout VTuber, and then got her a sizable little cult of froggy followers who are willing to watch in awe and horror as they realise what they are doing with their lives. This is one of the most fascinating blots of culture ever spilled on the Internet’s canvas, and yet this would not exist if some woman somewhere thought that being a VTuber was a terrible idea that nobody would like. If we are afraid of random Internet commenters, and their bullshit complaints, and their bullshit criticisms, and their bullshit generally, then we lose out on this culture, and we lose out on something great before it is even gone.
Is the lesson to be learned here to have some random autistic dude on a Korean mail-order physiotherapy telemarketing forum shill your work just because he has some clout among other random autists? No. The lesson is this: no matter how stupid your work, no matter how absurd your gimmick, no matter who you are as a human being, somebody, somewhere, is going to think it’s the best thing they have ever seen in their entire life. Now, if your name is Jake Paul, that person will be the wrongest human being in the universe, on par with that guy who thought that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic would never generate 140,969 pornographic images of its main character. If you create something you think is great, and you know it’s great, and deep in your heart you know you did the best you could do with the skill and resources available to you, then you are morally righteous in sharing that work with other people and helping them understand what they enjoy seeing and why they like being alive at all. Because somebody, somewhere, is going to care.
And if you can find friendship through that, and one day even find fans, then all that effort, all those years of work, all those million words you put onto a random blog on Neocities without any expectation of ever getting anything out of it? That will be worth it, and you can die knowing your life has not been wasted.
May The Sixth Piss Shit You
Happy Star Wars day! Or Star Wars Two Days After The Epic Quote From The Star Wars Franchise Which Named This Day Two Days After The Day This Day Currently Is, titled “May The Fourth Be With You Day”, where “the fourth” sounds like “the Force”, which is Star Wars shorthand for homegrown asspulls and plot devices so convenient it upgrades our plot armour to Captain America’s Shield. That’s another epic corporate culture reference, with the epic Marvel movies owned by the epic Disney corporation who also owns Star Wars because the free market is a fucking sham, and why not round off this celebration of multi-billion dollar media companies by bringing attention to the prior MAR10 day. You know, March 10, which looks like “Mario”. From Super Mario. The Nintendo joint. Super Mario Run? Anyone remember Super Mario Run? I sure do enjoy playing my bing-bing wahoos on my Nintendo Switch, to the point where I have developed paranoid schizophrenia and am unable to relate to any calendar date without relating it to a corporate mascot of some kind. Instead of May the fourth, how about May the sixth, as in you may freely shit your diaper, you infantile corporate slaves. I guess that’s unfair, since a company would never stoop to using child labour in order to shill cheap crap to idiots in countries that aren’t so poor that child labour becomes a more economical prospect than not using child labour which steals jobs away from the same lower-classes who have no purpose in life beyond working to die and the purchasing of meaningless crap to ascribe meaning to their impoverished lives which have none at all. The capitalist would never stoop so low. Otherwise that would mean our current economic system is flawed. And, you know. It isn’t. It just isn’t, okay?
Ever since I first became woke as a young child due to my parents rejecting my desires to purchase whatever ephemeral paraphernalia I so wished for them to buy, whether they be doo-dads, knick-knacks, trinkets, or other arbitrary pieces of worthless crap that should have never been manufactured, I have rejected capitalist notions of purchasing out of carnal desire, and have spent my time instead complaining about people who spend their money on novelty items indistinguishable from constructions of plastic garbage in all aspects except for price. Where money is a representation of our time and labour spent earning it, to the point where the CEO of the multinational conglomerate you spend endless hours slaving towards earns 300 times more your wage by working no more and no less than 300 times harder than you, we transfer that money into material goods which represents our needs, wants, and random impulses, acting as a manifestation of ourselves and creating shibboleths of our personality surrounding our homes, sometimes worn on our person, and which we look upon and consider worthy investments. Even when they aren’t. Which they aren’t.
There’s this meme that’s been going around the past few years: consoomerism. That’s not a typo. In the same vein as “oomer” type memes, such as the coomers and the boomers, the “consoomer” represents the archetypal ideal of a brainless individual who has too much disposable income and is unable to stop spending their money on liabilites, building a variety of shrines to corporate cultures and capitalist interests by purchasing large amounts of vinyl figures and marketable plushies from billion-dollar franchises, recorded media printed on dead trees and silicon now obsolete with the advent of hard disks and The Pirate Bay, and pieces of mass-manufactured art prints which declares them as special individuals alongside all the thousands of other people who purchased the same pieces of art made in a factory in China whose workers are obviously working 300 times less as hard as the average White man, because otherwise they wouldn’t be slave labourers, right? Funko Pops, anime figurines, physical game disks, posters of popular media, and other false idols suggesting a higher purpose to consumerism all infest the neckbeard nests of the unfortunate consoomers who are too addicted to hedonistic purchases to realise the folly of possessing them at all, to the point where our existing furniture is not enough to hold our possessions and so we purchase display cases and shelving specifically to hold all this excess… financial illiteracy takes many forms, and yet the saddest is the hedonism of the consoomer, for they know nothing about contentment and yet find a false peace in consumerism, being played for suckers by knowing capitalists, contributing nothing to world, spending away their lives.
What do I mean by “liabilities”? Consider its opposite: assets. An asset is anything which gives you benefit in the future, whether that benefit is financial, emotional, practical, or otherwise. A liability is anything which causes you current detriment and will continue to disadvantage you until you get rid of it, whether this be a physical object you can’t get rid of such as a metaphorical white elephant, a cost you must continue to incur in order to possess the liability such as the insurance and upkeep costs of an automobile, or debt you possess which continues to accrue negative interest and will cost you more money the more it goes unpaid. Assets can come with liabilities so long as possessing the asset gives you equal or greater value than the liabilities of holding it; for instance, a bicycle has very low upkeep costs and lets you transport yourself across short distances, but an automobile has several advantages, such as significantly increased storage space and far greater speeds. Even though a car is a liability because it costs you money even when it’s sitting in your garage gathering dust, costing you even more money when you use it because you have to fill it with gasoline or electricity, the benefits the automobile gives you compared to its liabilities may mean it’s worth incurring these costs despite them.
Consider the case of this charming individual, and his excellently-kept room of things that aren’t total crap:
Okay, fine, it’s fucking LEGO. But do you really want me to show you the horrors of the real world when we’re already so familiar with it? If you want to see real neckbeard nests, take a look at this subreddit: /r/neckbeardnests. Don’t browse it while eating. There’s piss bottles. Piss bottles that aren’t made of LEGO.
When analysing this particular minifigure’s aberration against God, we can take a look at his financial decisions which have gotten them into this rat’s nest in the first place. While the neckbeard is enjoying a smart financial decision by parasiting off the goodwill of his parents and living in their basement like the Dwarf lives in mine, he immediately betrays this prudence by wasting the money saved on ephemeralities. His asset of a bitchin’ PC is wasted through its primary usage of consumption of hentai rather than creating economic value, and his folded-10,000 times forged-in-the-fires-of-mount-fuji wielded-by-samurai-over-one-hundred-generations authentic Japanese katana ($12.99 on eBay) is not currently being used to rob homeless people of their hard-earned neoshekels, meaning it’s effectively decoration with no functional purpose. His large collection of sexy anime figurines and occasionally-damp bootleg Fluttershy plush are unable to be easily liquidated to fungible currency, and continuing to purchase these liabilities without return-on-investment is a fool’s errand. Furthermore, the large amounts of money wasted on soda, fast food, and candy also damages his health and physical appearance, meaning he is spending money to damage his health — going beyond mere wastefulness and in fact causing you harm that extends both physically and mentally. The neckbeard’s current conception of existence is flawed on a level which goes beyond mere mortality; it is immoral on a holistic level, a failure to self-actuate their means of operating within reality, and not even bootleg Fluttershy could break him out of this empty shell of his own creation.
What’s further curious is how the existence of this LEGO abomination is an example of the subtle differences between assets and liabilities. While the unenlightened normie will consider LEGO to be mere toys with no appreciative value, there are intrinsic elements to its existence that makes it an attractive asset for various reasons. The toy is less about play functions than it is merely a medium to express yourself, as evidenced by the existence of this horrific cube, and thus has more utility than mere decoration. The timelessness, competence, and extreme success of the brand means it enjoys a 70-year heritage which alleviates it of any faddishness, and there is a thriving second-hand market even for used sets. The pieces themselves last longer than the Soviet Union did and their engineering tolerances are greater than any Nazi tank was ever manufactured to. Second-hand LEGO are sold so often for such low prices that the Federal Reserve should abolish the gold standard and invest in 50-year-old LEGO parts, pegging the United States Dollar to the cost of 100 units of Part 3003 Brick 2 × 2 (Red). Even though they’re ultimately just toys, the strength of the brand surrounding the toys and the usefulness of the product itself means your enjoyment of the hobby is much more wholesome than mindless consumerism, and you can even liquidate your plastic assets if you need more cash. Hell, even the LEGO stock market makes more sense than anything backed by real governments. Set is old? Set looks cool? Set has rare parts unearthed out of the Ark of the Covenant buried under the Dead Sea Scrolls and a flash drive containing that one porn video you came to when you were thirteen and will never find again? That’s money. You can just look at a set and know it’s going to sell. It really makes you feel like LEGO.
LEGO is also curious in how it lives a dual life, fulfilling both the purpose of being a creative toy which you can use to infinite effect and thus become part of a large community of builders who are interested in sets insofar as they can be scavenged for parts, and the purpose of being a consoomer product designed to create plastic waste through creating blocky representations of marketable franchises you all know and love, such as the venerable LEGO Star Wars products and the mediocre LEGO Mario products — a combination so soy that it makes your average Redditor look like Brock Samson. Proletariat parents purchase licensed sets that appease their undeveloped children, and through the profits made, LEGO is able to divest some of those funds into more mature products such as the 18+ sets (sadly not pornographic) which invoke classy design sensibilities and particularly advanced building techniques albeit with the prerequisite licensed tat, the Classic products which are gigantic boxes of bulk crap you can give to your child-or-manchild and avoid the feeling you’re contributing to the decline of Western civilisation, or the horrifying innovation that is “LEGO Serious Play”, which got hundreds of thousands of white-collar workers to knock off for the day and play with LEGO. One article describes it as “being gaslighted, immersed in the kind of shared psychosis and group delusion found in cults”. In all fairness he couldn’t even build a duck. It was six bricks, bro. Just build the fucking duck!
This dual life further showcases how consooming isn’t merely the act of spending money, because you can spend the same money on the same plastic bricks and interact with them in totally different ways. Rather, consooming is a mindset — one which sacrifices self-sufficiency and emotional maturity in favour of expressing yourself through your possessions, having a personality insofar as it can be defined through corporate media, and refining your purchasing habits out of primitive desires rather than mathematically-sound evaluations of costs and benefits. It’s far more insidious than merely being bad with money. Rather, money is the medium used to enable their vacuuous worldview, and a fool with too much of it soon finds themselves broke. Even worse, with the easy availability of consumer debt you may use to leverage yourself into impossible positions, the consoomer might find themselves in a position where their net worth is less than the total value of every piece of moulded plastic they every bought. Compound interest is a cruel mistress, and when money is invested in sound financial instruments such as mutual funds, she will use her power to bring you untold wealth over the whole of your lifespan. But when she finds herself attached to your credit card debt, with additional usurious loans such as car loans, payday loans, and student loans, she will run over every aspect of your financial life, ruining your peace of mind and passing your insolvent ass around different debt collectors like the prison bitch.
Kevin O’Leary, who was a host on Dragon’s Den — currently hosting Shark Tank for the American television producers who think that fat fishy dumbasses are scarier than fucking dragons — and styles himself as “Mr. Wonderful” with a public persona as a hard-headed billionaire who only cares about the cash, wrote a few books on personal finance which showcases both a pragmatic mindset to managing it and empathy for individuals who never learned how powerful money is when properly respected. One of his concepts is “Money Karma”, which is the idea that if you disrespect money in the present, it will come back to haunt you in the future, with the most insidious wastefulness being “Ghost Money”. When you show proper respect for your money by investing it, it rewards you with its presence, giving you more money down the line and giving you all the mental health benefits of possessing it. When you disrespect it by turning it into Ghost Money, spending on all those little purchases you make over time which don’t matter to you a week after you buy them, it haunts you by hovering over your bank statements and credit card balances, a grim reminder of all the money you could have possessed, if only you had not let it slip from your hands. Each purchase you make is a message to the afterlife, where your money is either spent righteously or wastefully, and all those meaningless purchases you used to send those poor dollar bills straight to Money Hell? They remember. They’re coming for you.
In this sense, the consoomer’s existence is like the Hollows from Dark Souls, consisting of a total ignorance for all money everywhere by using it to buy worthless garbage to fill the black hole of what was once their soul, and they have lost their humanity through being so disrespectful to the natural forces of Money Karma that it has enacted holy retribution by turning the consoomer into Ghost Money. They walk the Earth as a spiritual warning of the dangers of being wasteful and failing to regulate our primal desires for toys and baubles, and we must not look at them with pity, but with paranoia that we may one day become them… for they have chosen their fate, and they have already been damned by Karma.
There is a difference between an expensive purchase which provides genuine utility to you, and a purchase which you buy out of impulse because you feel you are not emotionally satisfied until you have it. Even if that expensive purchase is made for entertainment, such as a large television set or a thousand-dollar personal computer, you’re not in the wrong for purchasing something which brings you joy over a long period of time; entertainment is as essential to human health as food and water, and boredom as damaging as any mental illness. And if you spend a lot of money on items which significantly improve your quality-of-life, such as purchasing a new mattress for better sleep or high-quality running shoes for better excursions to meatspace, then how can you complain about exchanging money for contentment? It’s when the finances are too onerous and the purchases too spurious that you suffer the opportunity cost of purchasing things which might actually matter to you in favour of buying what simply alleviates your temporary desires, which always, always come back in the end. A large purchase made once is much better than small purchases made dozens of times. The former is carefully-considered and leaves no lasting damage to your psychology or finances. The latter leads to an unexamined financial life, and the unexamined life, as we know, is not worth living.
The money I most regret spending in the past three years was a small amount, but enough to scar me nonetheless. Magic: The Gathering Arena is a trading card game without the trading cards and yet you can still purchase them virtually. The net effect is that you’re subject to the same format changes and set rotations which make your cards useless after two years time, but you get the privilege of having never owned them at all! In 2018 I made the decision to purchase $300 worth of virtual trading cards from Wizards of the Coast. That’s $300 of real value on a video game I no longer play and which I will never, ever get back, and that money will haunt me to my grave like the ghost of John Maynard Keynes asking why I didn’t invest that money in sustainable low-income real estate trusts at income-dependent marginal tax rates. This was so out-of-character for me that I look back on this period of life like an alcoholic, much like I look back on that period of life when I was actually an alcoholic. I understand I sent those hundred-dollar bills to Money Hell, and I understand my increasingly-large collection of sex toys might qualify for Money Purgatory, or perhaps a Money Florida where they get a house on the beach but they have to shoot the occasional Money Crackhead. But we can repent for our sins, promise not to make those same mistakes in the future, and live knowing a dollar spent for a good purpose is a dollar sent to Money Heaven. Or the Money Atheist Equivalent.
Even with other bad purchases I made, such as spending $800 on alcohol over last year before I quit drinking, I still got life experiences out of them I wouldn’t otherwise have. I don’t even regret spending $700 on personal training for some upscale gym in my neighbourhood; I got advice and technique over three months that I otherwise might have stumbled through, and though the price may not have been worth the knowledge and labour involved, it was still not a waste of money like spending $300 on digital trading cards objectively is, and I got more out of the deal than I ever did sitting alone at my computer playing commercial card games with strangers on the Internet. Also, the gym had, like, two squat racks. Seriously, that’s all anyone gives a shit about. Squat racks and barbells. Every gym in North America has a critically-low mass of squat racks, and this conspiracy has been running for the past three decades. How about getting rid of those shitty exercise bikes? You know what you could buy instead? A real bicycle! By the way a $2,000 bicycle is not a waste of money. No I’m not defensive, shut up carcuck.
There is also a difference between interacting with corporate art, such as your American animus and Chinese toons, and becoming obsessed with it to the point where you cannot imagine your life absent of constant reminders of your devotion to media created for the purpose of being sold. We are not scum when we enjoy everything life has to offer, even if we enjoy stupid things such as Hollywood blockbusters and cartoon pornography. All art is corporate; if it’s not sold for money it’s whored out for attention, where art cannot exist for anybody without it being seen. Artists have always had a direct relationship with people who had the means to purchase art into existence, and business is just the natural state of an artist’s career, assuming they make art for money. The outpouring of commercial art made by studios for mass consumption is merely the natural evolution of the Renaissance workshops of old, and prior to that, the patrons who demanded great sculptors and mosaicists enshrine nobles and emperors in material form. Some of the greatest pieces of artwork ever created in human history were made in the past century, under systems of capitalist influence broadcast through mass media, and we can’t decry all corporate art merely because it was made by corporations. Some people say the medium is the message, such that it’s impossible to separate the art of movies from the systems that allow them be seen. I have a more pragmatic opinion. The medium is the medium. The message is the message. If great messages can exist through bad mediums, how we can condemn the medium for carrying them?
As Stoicism teaches, we are not morally heinous for feeling pleasure, but we are morally righteous for our ability to limit what pleasures we feel, where virtue is the greatest goodness and the euphoria resulting from virtuous thought is greater than any hedonic conception of life. Whatever virtue means to you is your own personal definition, and the restrictions on pleasure you assert on yourself depends on finding the right balance between living freely and living Stoically. We avoid feeling good mindlessly so we can instead be mindful of what we truly appreciate, and through that, we will feel better than any ignorant hedonist ever will. We become scum when we fail to reign in what we enjoy and thus become overtaken by it, being unable to live without pleasure and thus shy away from doing hard things as a result of our self-softening of our own bodies, hearts, and minds.
The trouble with anti-consumerism, despite how virtuous it is in teaching us to regain control of our physical desires, is that it has been co-opted by a strange and reactionary undercurrent of unsavoury individuals who use this value to condemn people for being fans of what they don’t like without regard to the nuances of how they relate to what consumerism, and consoomerism, actually is. We’re all consumers to some extent. The old wisdom is that there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, and when the clothes on our back are made with Bangladeshi child labour, how are we supposed to believe we’re truly anti-consumption? What we should instead be is against mindless consumption, such as the type consoomers display on a constant basis, and we should take this moral interest and further use it to speak in favour of topics which lead to good financial sensibilities, such as self-sufficiency, childlessness, and support of sex workers who are entrepreneurs of their own bodies.
And yet, when we look at a popular anti-consumerism subreddit such as r/consoom, what do we see? A strange hodgepodge of right-wing ideas combined with a nihilism towards any enjoyment of corporate product at all and more Wojaks than the schizoposters on /qa/. While the sub is a nice circlejerk of making fun of stereotypical soyboys who feel excited for spending their disposable income on childish things while also condemning the corporations they patronise, the subreddit also takes the piss out of any variety of topics which are related to modern capitalism, such as hobbies which are only possible with the support of brands (LEGO?), fandoms which only exist because of mass production of art under corporate regimes (LEGO anybody?), video games and other mediums in industries which require billions of dollars to produce and support (LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System at $229.99?), and expressing yourself within a capitalist system because of the difficulty of doing so without directly contributing to the creation of furhter corporate culture (LEGO Super Mario Odyssey For LEGO Nintendo Switch With LEGO Soylent Drink?). Obviously, due to the nuance of the ideas expressed, it’s difficult for anyone to do much about our state of society without resorting to posting funny memes and making fun of manchildren. Also, this is Reddit we’re talking about. They aren’t exactly, you know, literate.
Particular strains of right-wing crankery permeate the anti-consoomer subculture, such as repeating old canards about pornography being bad for you (it isn’t), complaints about filthy whores selling their bodies for cash when they have little other economic alternative, saying that childfree individuals are immature for not wanting to waste 20 years of their life and $300,000 on raising a skin baby whose only contribution to the world is in destroying it through overpopulation and the climate effects of existing at all, and making fun of people who smoke a lot of marijuna, because… alright, I’ll give it to them that weed culture is annoying (DUDE, WEED, LMAO). Now, the whole point of this article is that mindless enjoyment is a waste of your life and should be avoided at all costs, and that mindful enjoyment in accordance with a well-lived life should be your ideal means of living. But we can’t take our own personal biases and throw them in other people’s faces, especially when those biases are pseudoscientific in nature or are couched in our own illogical ideas. I believe it has to do with the delusion that just because you personally don’t like something, nobody else should be able to enjoy it. But, ultimately, it doesn’t matter what other people do with their lives. You can live Stoically, create a minimalist living space, be wealthy, healthy, and wise, and preach the good word to other people as to why they should follow your objectively-superior lifestyle… but they have to want it for themselves. And for your average consoomer, who knows nothing of superior lifestyles, this is a task akin to convincing a Christian to deconvert. It is impossible. It’s just human nature to hate yourself.
The flip side of understanding that other people aren’t our problem is in understanding that we still have the opportunity to offer people a version of the life they’re currently living absent of the negative parts they willingly experience because they know no other options. Yet this generosity only works when we have a full enough understanding of other people’s lives to know whether or not something is truly good for them. Alright, spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on Funko Pops is objectively a horrible decision and you should be shamed for doing that. But what if I’m wrong? What if there’s some alternative explanation for why someone has purchased so many of these charming figurines, revealing something strangely mature and — hahaha, I’m just fucking with you Funko Pops are garbage. But my point is this: when we don’t understand enough of someone else, can we really impress our own philosophies onto them and expect them to care about what we’re saying? Maybe other people are wrong. As I like to say, people are scum who don’t know shit about anything. But we could be wrong. And if we aren’t wrong… why can’t we just let other people, who aren’t us, be wrong?
As I prior stated, all product is corporate product, and it is impossible to be anti-consumption in our current economic system. Furthermore, to have an economic system where we are only given the bare necessities of life and are unable to purchase anything for our own personal enjoyment would, quite frankly, be boring, puritanical, and would lead to more mass suicides than the modern era already suffers; it’s hard to imagine there ever being government-manufactured fleshlights. We are not slaves for experiencing pleasure. Stoicism is not Cynicism, and if you want to see the excesses of Cynicism you can look no further than Diogenes. We are slaves when we allow pleasure to enslave us, and the consumption of corporate product without regards to its quality, usefulness to our lives, or what we get out of it as human beings is a consumption which is an alluring infantilisation of our soul which promises freedom at the same time it locks us into the chains we slipped ourselves into. Corporate slavery is only physical when you’re working for the corporation. When you’re buying the products of the corporation, failing to consider alternative uses for your money? Those chains aren’t locking up your legs on the outside; they’re locking you up on the inside.
Capitalism is a golden cage because it offers us the false choice of certain death outside its walls or to experience life within it in modern-day decadence. It is impossible to say we have any freedom when we suffer such blatant gaslighting within this economic system; our choices are restricted merely to different products, different expressions of ourselves which we create labour for the privilege of purchasing, and when the choices are only offered by a market which is content in keeping us unaware of potential alternatives for this hegemony of our souls, how can any of us be free at all? Of course, freedom is an abstract concept, but failing to pay rent is a very concrete one. The threat of homelessness is a much more potent motivator than the promise of utopia. Is it any wonder why the bread and circuses of prolefeed and mass consumption have led us to embrace this system?
The reality of capitalism is that it provides hedonistic bliss for a majority of human beings on the condition they devote gigantic portions of their lives to working for a future that won’t exist within a century, and also aren’t a visible minority. For people whose conception of life is selfish and ignorant, this is enough — and this describes almost every human being alive. The few who struggle within this system, such as the mentally-ill, the disabled, or the arbitrarily-designated-not-human by the governments running the system, are just seen as refuse. Human suffering is a byproduct of false pleasures, and because we have never experienced any true pleasure, we think that’s enough. And maybe, if we have the privilege to be ignorant, it is.
Anti-consumption is then not against all consumption everywhere. When we understand we have been born into a rigged system where exiting it will lead to death at our own hands, we work within what we have. And for what it’s worth, what we have, with all our video games and superhero movies and ability to exist as a stereotypical soyboy without being devoured by predators, is pretty fucking good. We condemn these excesses of civilised society, not because we wish for them to have never existed, but because we understand the dangers of being distracted by these surface-level pleasantries when we have so much more to be grateful for while living inside the capitalist system. Good medicine, decent education, an acceptable standard of living even for the lower-class. A political system that isn’t dictatorship, a government that isn’t autocracy, members of parliament that were elected by your idiot countrymen instead of idiot monarchs. Corporations that have enough power to decide what you think and what you’re shown on mass media, but with not enough power that they can usurp world governments beyond simple bribery. Media companies which produce 99% prolefeed, but with that rare 1% of genuine heartfelt art that makes the prolefeed worth manufacturing. All of these are worthy of being grateful for, and though you have to pay a dime to stay alive, the life we live, on the whole, is better than in any third-world shithole.
The reason capitalism works isn’t that it’s all evil, all the time. It’s that the individuals who are unaware of its evils, the individuals who each support it by continuing to purchase worthless garbage, are inadvertently creating genuinely great things for human beings through wilful ignorance of its evils while those who are aware of its evil gets to appreciate the coincidental benefits that capitalism, on occasion, legitimately does create. While we must continue our social-democratic political action to demand the government create a minimum standard of care for all human beings regardless of their ability to contribute labour, we also understand that for the majority of the middle-class, these excesses are privileges which could not exist under any other economic system. Planned economies lead to dying countries, government-mandated culture leads to ingenuine propaganda, and the absence of consumer choice leads to a society in which all individuals are only individual as the government wills them to be. When we spread power over our countries in the hands of tens of thousands of companies all vying for our individual attention, we all get to pick and choose what masters rule over us, and we get to choose what we deem to be the lesser of all evils. If the government has supreme authority over our decisions, then we do not have even the limited choices offered to us within capitalism’s gilded cage, and complaints about consoomerism is moot, because there would be nothing to consoom whatsoever.
It seems, at least for the time being, capitalism is the natural state of the world and will be for the centuries to come. And though there are alternative economic systems, it is possible they will simply revert us to more primitive states of existence, where our master is the government to the detriment of the interests of the free market, all power concentrated into one incompetent body rather than the bodies of millions of minimally-competent businessmen all competing with each other. It is possible to do good within capitalism. The Nordic model shows us this; the lazy Canadian implementation of socialism is at least some orders of magnitude better than the kleptocratic hellhole that is the United States. But we must demand it, we must only consoom the bread and circuses while we possess power over how and when we do so, and we must not allow ourselves to get too comfortable in a system we were born into when it has caused so much harm to so many untold millions who have been cast aside as economically worthless on the basis of their characteristics and not the content of their character.
We can laugh at idiots on the Internet with their $14,000 Funko Pop collections and their Reddit shelves in a kid’s apartment. We can feel pity for those whose conception of the goodness of life exists only in physical product cynically sold for profit. And we can become horrified at people who have such poor financial acumen that they exist as hollow shells of the type of human beings they could have been. But when we’re presented with such decadence, when we’re presented with a society where we are conditioned since birth to be advertised to, to be sold product, to be forced to work against our wills to buy necessities, to feel the need to purchase hedonistic ephemeralities because we have not been educated as to any higher conception of life… is it any wonder, then, why consoomerism has overtaken the hearts and souls of so many human beings all across the world? The game was rigged from the start, and we can’t blame individual failings when the system makes it clear this is how it wants you to act. This is merely what capitalism does: infantilises its believers and leads those who are against it to die. Late stage capitalism will not be upon us with the destruction of countries and thus the whole of our world. It will be the destruction of our personalities to the benefit of corporations, and the theft of our labour in service of product outside of what is already stolen from us by capitalists. And this late stage, as evidenced, has already taken over human beings just like you. What happens when they take your material and you’ve already sold your soul?
Don’t be a soyboy. Be good to your money. Enjoy what you want, but don’t let your hobbies overtake your wallet and mind. Because money is more intimate than sex, and emotional drama of your own creation has no business in deciding how you should spend it. And if you’re a fan of corporate culture, appropriate it for your own purposes, and don’t operate within the limited realm of existence the media companies want you to live in. Be your own human being. Because we live in a world where everybody in power, whether they be the government or the invisible hand of the free market, wants you to be whatever they think will make you part with your money. And when you’ve sold what little individuality you possess in favour of turning yourself into a stereotype, can you really describe yourself as human at all?
Good luck in the free market. Because if you part with your dosh? Then luck is all you got.
Baby Words For Sale, Never Read.
David Foster Wallace wrote a lot of words. His first novel was published in 1987, and nobody gives a shit about it. At 467 pages, “The Broom of the System” is exactly the type of pseudophilisophical glurge you would expect from that title, and its publication despite its decadence is emblematic of how you could publish fucking anything in the ’80s. This was before all the fanfiction writers dug out their 2003 LiveJournal posts, changed all the names around, and swamped publishers with endless waves of mediocre young-adult science-fiction novels, where the fascist government is defeated by a single teenager with more plot armour than Fidel Castro, who always wields a bow and arrow as opposed to anything like, you know, a fucking gun. He wrote a series of essays about dicking around on a cruise ship, among other things, titled “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again”, which is most famous for being referenced in a Zombie Simpsons episode where they dug up his corpse and propped him in as a background cameo. And he wrote a book about rap, titled “Signifying Rappers”, with someone who does not possess a Wikipedia page, which is like a novel written by Rudyard Kipling and fanfiction.net user lolitapikagirl58. It treats rap like you would expect all White people who write a book about rap to treat rap: with, like, academics and shit.
Despite this underground appeal towards contrarian idiots like yours truly, he only became famous once he got sick of having his undeveloped philisophical ideals combined with White American angst not being taken seriously, and wrote “Infinite Jest”, which is a literary work whose pretentious meme cred rivals that of “Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom”, and Undertale. It is 1,079 pages long, which in literary circles is a novel length properly termed as “a fat cunt”, and is a novel for those who felt that Gravity’s Rainbow and House of Leaves were as simple and vapid as Twilight: New Moon. Now you, too, can throw out your copies of Slaughterhouse-Five and The Road, because you won’t be needing them under the patio shade of Infinite Footnotes, which makes those books look like Itchy And Scratchy: The Movie: The Novel (by Norman Mailer).
It’s been said that a politician is someone who can talk for hours and never actually say anything. Nowhere is this more true than literature, where the loudest and most nonsensical blather gets the most praise, and the largest works devoid of the most meaning are the ones which are shilled the hardest by insecure English majors who want to believe in an alternate reality where they don’t actually have to be good at writing to be successful. This random-ass 3,800 word Goodreads review of Infinite Jest, of all places to find such a review, has more literary merit than what any postmodernist has ever contributed, and may all the writers of the world collectively hang themselves off their own patios for their work never seeing the light of day while this garbage is continued to be praised by WASPy college students the world over.
The nonfiction book “How Not to Write a Novel” has a section directed specifically towards the novels I cite above: “For the purposes of this discussion, postmodernism will be defined as any conscious reference to the author as the author, the novel as a novel, writing as little ink shapes on paper, or anything else that underlines the artificial nature of fiction. It should be immediately obvious that all these things are baldly inimical to the novelist’s goal of writing a story that the reader can believe in. Why then do people keep writing novels in which the author is a character, bizarre footnotes intrude, and typographic tricks remind us of the book as a physical object, which might easily be shied at the head of a smarty-pants writer? Because, every year, someone gets away with it. That person gets scads of extra credit because it is really really hard to do well. Everybody says how smart they are through teeth gritted with envy, which is second only to boatloads of money as the novelist’s greatest reward. If you insist on going this route, betting double or nothing, there is nothing we can say to help. All we can do is let you get back to work”.
For better and for worse, Old Davey doubled the fuck down and won the “getting away with it” lottery until the end of time. The impact David Foster Wallace had on the world is best summarised with this copypasta harvested from 4chan’s /lit/ board:
“I took a creative nonfiction course with David Wallace at Ponoma back in ’94. We weren’t allowed to show anyone our essays outside of the class for some reason. He seemed naturally intelligent, didn’t need to look at any notes or textbooks or prepare for any lectures, he just knew his stuff and was super casual.
“I saw him talking to a girl on campus one day. He uncharacteristically wore a Fila sweatsuit, the kind that looks like it’s made from the same material as parachutes, and trainer sneakers with a matching bandana. That was his pussy hunt outfit apparently. Several times a week, same outfit, I’d see him hitting on women in it. I once saw him wearing it while carrying an identical outfit from the dry cleaners. He had like 4 sets of the same Fila sweatsuit.
“I asked him about it in class and he said we aren’t allowed to discuss anything unrelated to class while inside class, the same way we can’t show anyone outside of class our essays. A student called out ‘but Dostoevsky isn’t in this class and last week you talked about replicating his black tea obsession to test its effects on your own writing’. Wallace stared blankly at the student with dead eyes for 30 seconds in dead silence, then said ‘you just got knocked down a full letter grade. Any other smart asses? Didn’t think so’, and pushed up his glasses with his index finger.
“I remember telling myself this guy will either be super successful or kill himself”.
I bring up this cartoon character masquerading as an author not because I take inspiration from him or that I have any affinity for him beyond my baseline level of fascination for writers who fucking killed themselves. I bring it up, like we all do in our modern era of Reddit Gold and 4chan Emerald, for the meme. Infinite Jest is notorious for being the book you claim to read when you want to appear intelligent and refined in your pussy hunt outfit, alongside other venerable titles as “100 Years of Solitude” and “Garfield Caution: Wide Load”. Another copypasta says “it’s a good book but the people who rave about it only do so because they’ve never read much else, like upper class white kids”, which is at least better than cheugy White girls who only read Harry Potter, Rupi Kaur poems (“The milk and honey author’s use of unspecified collective trauma in her quest to depict the quintessential South Asian female experience feels disingenuous” — Buzzfeed News. Yes, Buzzfeed Fucking News), and that book about the fucking tiger, whose movie adaptation was forced into countless middle schools all across the world and then was forgotten as prolefeed. You know how Nabokov’s favourite word is mauve? Mine is prolefeed. No other word more eloquently expresses my utter disdain for mass media, collective delusion, and the mindless consumption of the waking retards I share essential characteristics with. Yes, I am saying I’m Orwell’s bitch.
And yet, what I find fascinating about this novel is that the author wrote 1,079 pages of what he genuinely thought was the best way to express his feelings on himself, his philosophy, and the world at large... and after doing so, he wasn’t even fucking finished. Behold a posthumous unfinished novel that still clocks in at 548 words: “The Pale King”. To quote Wikipedia: “Like much of Wallace's work, the novel defies straightforward summary”, which is a treatment more diplomatic than the Afghanistani ambassador to the United States on September 12, 2001. After writing 1,000 pages of this novel over eight years, David said “fuck it”, left it on his computer drive, then fucking hanged himself. It was pared down to 548 after he fucking hanged himself, was supposedly a third finished by that point, and some jabronie edited it down to the slightly-less-fat cunt you see today after his widow discovered the work and incidentally designed the cover art with the fucked-up playing card — which is a king, of course, as is the brilliant symbolism of David’s work. Imagine marrying the guy who wrote Infinite Jest and then sorting through whatever the fuck he wrote after that. You might as well publish 548 blank pages and call it a metacommentary on the banality of minimalism.
That’s what fascinates me about his work. The majority of it sucks. Some of his shorter works are alright, written during his brief moments of lucidity after the process of writing Infinite Jest was more corrosive to his mind than the radiation at the epicentre of Cherynobyl. His collection of essays in “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” express his contempt for United States culture better than his fiction ever does. I especially like the first story he ever published, “The Planet Trillaphon as It Stands in Relation to the Bad Thing”, which is about the unreality associated with depression and the various states of mind one experiences during treatment of it — bang-up job making your first shit your best shit, to the detriment to the rest of your career.
And his second most-popular shit might as well be the speech about the fucking fish, which is also his most widely-applicable due to how unchallenging his rhetoric is and how generic the themes expressed. It’s not a bad speech, in the same way oatmeal for breakfast isn’t a bad meal. It’s merely boring, and you get the feeling its popularity comes from people who don’t know anything about its author and don’t know anything about themselves to the point where such an obvious speech about adulting in the real world comes across as insightful and not merely the default state of being for people who have developed more consciousness than what exists outside their own head.
And yet, no matter how much his work sucked, no matter how nonsensical it was, and no matter how many boatloads of money, awards, and money he made from his terrible work, he still always had something to say. You might think this is emblematic of mental illness, even more so than the mental illness which caused him to fucking hang himself. But I don’t feel that’s an accurate representation of his work. I feel instead his work expresses the baseline mental illness possessed by all writers: an illness where you never shut the fuck up, no matter how many long words you’ve written and are then ignored.
I wonder at what point, from the conception of his short stories to his essays to his speeches to his novels, did David Foster Wallace realise the folly of trying to convince the proletariate a damn thing worth at all. Maybe he did realise it, and that’s why he killed himself like that, his body hanging out for his neighbours to see as a warning against trying to do anything unique in this damn world. But who gives a shit about “maybe”? He wrote a lot, for twenty years, and didn’t stop until he was dead. If he wasn’t depressed, how many more novels would he write? How many endless essays? How many speeches about the damn fish? When does an author decide that, in consideration of all the themes they could ever visit, revisit, profess ignorance of, divinely reveal, and actually write about, they have finally written to the point where they have no more to say about the world and can freely kill themselves knowing they’ve satisfied their reason for existence at all?
There’s too much stuff in the world. Too many words to write. Too much to talk about, too much to know about, too much to believe in. All we can ever discuss is the smallest slice of the human experience we have the privilege to exist as a part of. We can talk about our interests and read so much about them and speak the good word to people who are similar to us, but it doesn’t matter, because we don’t matter and hanging ourselves seems like a good decision in the face of eternity everywhere. Our rhetoric is not in pursuit of a higher purpose. We do it to amuse ourselves on the way to the grave, and the readers are merely our pallbearers. In prior parts of human history man deluded themselves into thinking their babbles were the tongues of God and so formed religions professing their right to be the only human among all human beings to represent their illiterate ideas as God’s favourite one. Now we have no religion, all prophets are now cultists, and we can’t even pretend our words are anything more than the mental illnesses that writers inflict upon ourselves in pursuit of the collective delusion that they, alone, have their words matter. And they’ll keep this delusion until their end of days, waiting for death, knowing that nothing will stop them from being anonymous soon enough.
Like all writers, I have a stash of crap which, if it was ever published, would expedite my death rapidly, perhaps by accidentally tripping head-first into a coiled rope hanging off my patio which I set up ahead of time. We hide away our shames because if they were revealed we would believe our readers would think less of us. Bullshit. Our readers already know we’re neurotic idiots who have no idea what we’re doing in life, and authors who attempt to present a respectable public image are disingenuous asshats who are betraying the fundamental scumminess of their own humanity. All of an author’s work is an insight into their twisted mind, and their worst stuff is where they are at when they were at their worst. A bad work done in dark days may not have the same merit as a fine work made in the sun, but it is still your work, and it is fair play for your fans to drudge through all your writings so they may understand you in every mental state you possess — not merely the ones you wish to express you possess.
And even so, what we believe to be our most banal efforts are often interpreted differently by the feral street dogs that make up our appreciators. Regardless of whether or not we consider our work to be primitive, cringeworthy, or just plain lazy, we never know what our fans will think of them. And in the case of our earliest works, there is a fascination in the unrefined work we put out with the genuine belief that we were making great art, and our fans look upon it with warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia, pining for the days when their inspirations were young, dumb, and didn’t take themselves so fucking seriously. It does not matter whether we consider something good compared to our current standards. It just has to be interesting.
I prior published some works on this blog that were collections of my unfinished work, bookended by some strange postmodern metastory where I was the author, the protagonist, and the deuteragonist in a quest to reconcile the banality of what I wrote and the importance I thrust upon the works in question. It started out as a parody of badly-written genre fiction and by the end I was doing incest with my ethereal form. It was fucked up. Smulp Smiction. Smeasure Vore Smogs. Sminsmorious Basterds. I haven’t read any of those since I published them. Because, come on, what the fuck was I smoking? But I don’t feel regret for having published them. I know, someone, somewhere, will find those random-ass articles on this random-ass blog and find them more revealing than anything I’ve ever written on this blog. It doesn’t matter if I disown them, or if I don’t even know anything about them in the months since I wrote them. What matters is that it’s interesting. What matters is that someone will care.
I actually wrote this e-mail to this webcomics author, who longtime Froge fans will know I base much of my outlook on life from. Winston Rowntree, of Subnormality. A few years ago I sent him this article I wrote on Kratzen, titled “Twenty Books Changed my Life”, of which his comic was listed. He replied back, and remarked that it was one of the only times anybody ever appreciated what he was trying to accomplish with his particular comic, “A Christmas Eve in the Future”. Isn’t that fascinating? This successful, professionally-published comics artist was grateful for me for admiring a work they made that nobody else seemed to appreciate. I was arrogant enough to tell him how much I appreciated his work, where doing so in genuine terms scares off amateur artists and is ignored by professional ones. Not him, though. I wonder if anyone has silently appreciated my own work, where I was unaware of it for years, and will never hear from again with my impending froggy retirement.
All this is to say I only have three pieces of forbidden fruit which I want to offer to you cunts before I die. The first one is a rant about self-improvement grifters, which is 13,000 words long and yet I will never finish, titled “The Forever Failures of the Cult of Self Improvement”. The second one is a 7,000 word My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfiction titled “Imperfect Vision”, which is about my neurotic pony OC meeting a divine figure in a dream to dissuade him from feeling sorry about himself. And the third one is an unfinished novel draft written during a period of madness, titled “Solstice Anarchist”, of which I expected to be as long as Infinite Jest and which will never be published since it’s 22,000 words of walking, talking, and a drip-feed of lore so slow and subtle it makes Lord of the Rings look like Mr. Men. The stories of their conceptions are all equally fascinating, and they are the last surprises I have in store for you. They may all be abortions, but they’re my abortions, and although they are out of my head the majority of the time, I can still look upon them and wonder what might have been if I was a different person, somewhere in another universe, able to be a competent human being instead of merely existing.
Six days remain until my death.
Enjoy it while you can.
The End of Froge
On May 20, 2016, Froge was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
In honest truth writing a eulogy for my own execution would be an impossible task. Where other men’s lives are simple enough to be condensed in a small speech about what little value they offered to the world before their passing, the sum and scope of my works would never satisfy any attempt to remark on them, and no matter how much I desire it, I have never been the most serious writer. To act seriously even in my final will and testament would be disingenuous to who I have been for the five years before this date. In the million words I created during this stretch of time, my influences were obvious, their jokes were stolen, my cynical cup runneth over endlessly, and the totality of my works were an exercise in arrogance. Arrogance in attempting to influence thought, arrogance in presenting myself as learned, and arrogance in having sufficient passion for the craft of writing that, despite all my complaints about the medium, and my audience, and myself… I wrote.
The chronology of my work is like this. 2016-05-20: Froghand was created, focusing on privacy and security. 2016-08-12: Last security-related article posted, Froghand transitions fully to rant blog. 2017-02-01: 10kB Gallery is created, with a gimmick of showcasing stolen artwork and altering them to fit a 10,000 byte filesize. Froghand abandoned. Degenerates is also born, wrangling up some of my friends into a free-culture art collective, immediately dissolved due to lack of interest, now acting as a landing page for my work. 2017-04-01: Kratzen is created, reviewing indie video games from itch.io. 10kB Gallery abandoned. Kratzen was the first project where several months pass by without uploading anything to it, in intermittent bursts. 2018-08-31: The last article I uploaded to Kratzen before an eight-month stretch of time where I disappeared from the Internet. Kratzen abandoned. 2019-05-20: Frogesay is created with no clear purpose, quickly transitioning into a rant blog. Design is inspired by Froghand, with front-page “Hangovers” a constant feature. Similar to Kratzen, contains several months of no works uploaded to it. And since you’re already reading Frogesay you might as well look around from here, on this day, 2021-05-20. The end of Froge as an entity.
I prior expressed my reasons for this retirement in “Froge will Die on May 20, 2021”. For this day to fall on Thursday the 20th, a Simpsons reference of all things, shows how much of a joke my career really was. To my credit, I kept this appointment. If I were to delay it, it would not be unusual considering my tardiness in the majority of my projects. But how disrespectful would I be against myself if I don’t even follow my desires to quit this gig? The reasons expressed were simple: I’m just plain sick of seeing you. I have outgrown this name. The chronology of my work no longer represents who I am as a person. And in being overshadowed by it, this irrelevant enterprise on an anonymous Web host, I am unable to pursue my hobbies outside the realm of writing my opinions on the Internet for the world to see. I’m not committing suicide. I’m merely abandoning the Froge persona, and never, ever writing anything under it again. This is the last Hangover. This is the last Hangover there will ever be. And if you really want to see more of my writings? Trawl through all five years of my work, because five years is all you’ll get.
The cliché is for me to say how much I enjoyed my time writing for you guys, how I’ll move on to bigger and better things, and how much I loved you all so much for being my fans and I’m gracious you’re so accommodating of whatever I will accomplish in the future. I don’t want to be hostile, but my experiences were not wholly positive. Constructing these online projects took work, and in tangible terms, I got little out of it. In intangible terms, I could talk about how my writings changed my life and how I’ll never again be the same person I was over this five year stretch of time. And that’s true. They did change my life — for the better, I’ll admit. I grew more mature, level-headed, and with an increased ability to argue my feelings in the face of the world at large. But what does that get me? Money? Fame? An increase in quality of my persistently-unreal life? I’ll tell you what I got. The ability to take any article I wrote, out of the million or so words I wrote, and to look at it, nod my head, laugh on occasion, and politely agree with the points I created because I am so smart for creating them. That’s all I got, and that’s all I’ll ever get. So it goes.
At this final Hangover, at this final junction before I dip into eternity and never write anything again, I could air out my grievances. All of them. Everything about myself, other people, the world at large, drama on the Internet, drama within my own personalised slice of the Internet, and tell all the stories of my impotent rage against the mechanisms of reality which conspire against me. I could also air out my admirations, expressing how grateful I am to be inspired by those few great individuals who I well and truly know are not full of shit, discussing the few good memories I have with my friends, what they’ve done for me, how they’ve improved my work, changed my view of the world, and have made me slightly less neurotic and slightly more interested in aspiring to be a version of myself which I would have thought impossible just a few years ago. I could do both of those. But it doesn’t matter how many people I name-check in these final words, or how much I have more to say about the world, or any other now-fleeting topic that crosses my mind. Because I’m dead.
Do you really want to know what I have to say about my time under Froge? Here it is.
The past five years I’ve experienced under the name of Froge has taught me more about the desperation of the human condition than I ever expect to be privy to again. At the same time that independent artists are the most brilliant, exceptional, talented individuals who create true beauty which is worth staying alive to see, they are also some of the most neurotic, whiny, infantile little milksops who are inconsistent in their personality and values to the point where forging friendships with them is an exercise in gaslighting yourself to see how much of their bullshit you’re willing to put up with before abandoning them forever. They are all at once egotistical, cowardly, duplicitous, dramatic, unintelligent, uncharismatic, and overwhelmingly petty to a degree where it is impossible to forge a relationship with anyone but the most simple-minded, inoffensive individuals who will agree with whatever you say merely to get you to shut up. I am sick of representing myself on the Internet as the most honest version of myself only to be condemned for being one of the few individuals who genuinely speaks his mind — and to the point, I am sick of embodying these very same qualities that I criticise other people for being. I’m tired of getting shit for my writings, my opinions, and the ideas I express, tired of having to justify them to random idiots on the Internet, and I’m tired of contributing to the continued degradation of public discourse through my honest expressions of my own personal philosophy.
But that’s one side of the same story. Because those very same qualities had endeared me strongly to those few people who understood me and were willing to come to terms with the reasons I wrote in the way I did. Just as much as I am an arrogant idiot with an ego which rivals that of any online influencer, I am also, as I have demonstrated in the past, capable of those rare moments of empathy with fellow man and attempting to come to terms with their differences from me in a reasoned and respectable manner. I found those few friends who I did not have to misrepresent myself towards in order to gain a relationship with. I found some people who did not merely reflect my ideas in an echo chamber, but asked why I possess them and made me think about why I thought those ideas at all. Like adolescent bliss, I grew fond of my friends. As time has gone by, I have lost them all. This is acceptable to me. It’s the natural state of the world to lose everyone you ever cared about. But for those moments I got to experience across all these years, I am grateful to those who bothered to meet me on this overlong journey. I may not remember you the whole of my life, but I can remember you now. Isn’t that enough, to be cared about in passing, if not forever?
I have come to terms with the knowledge that my feelings about myself and these artefacts of my own creation are irrelevant in the face of people who aren’t me. The vast majority of my artistic turmoil comes from people misunderstanding, misinterpreting, or showing deliberate ignorance of who I am and why I write what I write, in the way I write it, in the medium I write it in. It has taken me a long, long time to understand this simple truth which is obvious to anyone who has bothered to create anything in the public eye for any amount of time: other people aren’t your problem, and other people’s feelings about you aren’t your problem either. My work is a long, long reconciliation between my desire to present the best version of myself I know how to present in the eyes of strangers on the Internet, and the desire to find acceptance and gratitude among people who are reading my work for the simple reason there is nobody else who is creating my work in the way I create it.
After five years of this public discourse, this public therapy, I have reconciled these feelings. I have become less and less interested in the opinions of my fellow man, because my fellow man is full of shit. Other people’s criticisms of my work no longer hold water with me, as I have gained the knowledge that the only individuals who truly know anything about an artistic work is the person who created that work — even when its author doesn’t hold coherent opinions on their own work, and even when fans of that work dedicate much of their time analyzing it in order to verify their own ideas of the world. It is becoming more and more rare for me to find individual writers, artists, and creators whose work makes me feel the emotions I wish to feel on a regular basis. Feelings that I am witnessing great work are becoming more and more rare as well, and the most insightful commentary I am reading is the commentary I have written in months gone by. My faith in the human condition at large, despite how much I express my genuine affection for those small parts of it, is becoming increasingly misanthropic and I am unable to continue writing for an audience I don’t know and am unable to reach out and understand myself. I am a critic, who after all this time, can finally take criticism. Isn’t that a bitch?
My writings no longer fulfill me, my websites no longer interest me, and I have not created an enterprise that will benefit me in the future. In consideration of what I want to accomplish as a writer in public and as a human being in private, the most pragmatic course of action for me to take is to abandon all further writings under the Froge persona, abandon all further contact with all individuals under the Froge persona, and to abandon all references to it in any works I may or may not create as a human being in any future period of time. I will not make any attempts to alter, archive, maintain, make acceptable, or to change, in any way, the work I have created before this date. I will not write any more words, I will not make any more projects, and I will not exist in any form as Froge, for the future, until I am dead, forever.
In consideration of everyone I had met over the years, who may bear witness to my website by virtue of nostalgia over relationships long gone, I offer you these final messages, in inverse order of importance.
I start with the Neocities users, my home and habitat. Owly, our contact was brief and our time was fleeting. I wrote you an e-mail titled “What is a Furry?”, and you published it, then depublished it after I threw it onto Kratzen. It is immediately and intensely obvious you have changed since then. I urge you to delete your older works so you aren’t accosted by dysphoria forever. Yes, delete them. You can do this because of the stark difference between your current and past persona, where I cannot since I am merely a more refined representation of who I started out as. This is not my first abandonment of an Internet persona, and it will not be my last. I will tell you from experience that deleting all of your work in a delirious afternoon is one of the greatest feelings a human being can ever have. If you don’t listen to me, listen to yourself. You’re your own cunt.
lolwut, our time is similarly brief. I ignored your blog for several years despite knowing it would be one of the few blogs I would enjoy. I was wrong for that. We were never friends, but we had common interests, and that is enough. I am grateful for your criticisms on my article, “4chan: A Song of Kek and Cringe”. They will never be enacted. As you have left Neocities, so has everyone else I have known on this platform. It is a brilliant website, and on a technical level, it has not changed one bit since I first joined in 2017. But the users have, innumerably, and it’s fitting that I am leaving as well. I’m happy for all the comments you left on my website updates, and I’m happy to annoy you in turn. You can feel proud you are the only user I have followed for any length of time since Frogesay’s existence, and know I will continue to represent one of the increasingly-shrinking members of an audience who knows the value of preserving an Internet that will never, ever exist again.
Kva64. At one point we had a nice friendship, forged due to circumstances I forgot, and abandoned due to apathy. I became privy to long dissertations about the state of your post-Soviet country, and got to understand and learn more about your hobbies, as eccentric and creative as they are. Through our experiences I was grateful to assist you in whatever advice you requested, and in doing so learned more about myself through learning about you. Our time together is undramatic and has no set resolution, nor do I have any lasting regrets regarding it. To use the tautology, it is what it is, and we will never have anything more than what was.
Strata. Where the hell do I begin with you? You were a close friend for a brief moment in time, and now that this time has passed over the years, it’s like you had never existed at all. You make my neuroticism look like nothing in comparison, and you’ve gone to war against your website more times than Germany has against Russia. Our conversations were long and whinging, we planned to enact projects together, and I even maintain the “rabbit.html” easter egg because it was the name of your website’s landing page. I eagerly awaited every redesign of your website, and I still feel some pain knowing I’ll never get to read your words again. You were honest and interesting, and I don’t know the precise circumstances of why we broke off our relationship. I don’t know the circumstances of why you continually quit Neocities, either. But understand I have kept your influence preserved in my work over the years, and I am happy for that brief period of time I knew you. I have one demand, though. Just leave. Don’t come back to this place. Don’t fucking bother.
I would also like to thank Kyle Drake, founder of Neocities, for maintaining the only Web platform which aligns with my personal philosophies on software and privacy. As evidence of his once-burning passion for the platform, at my request in 2017, he whitelisted GIMP’s XCF format for upload to Neocities sites, which I used on 10kB gallery. The 10kB Gallery is immortalised in Neocities lore through being featured in a blog post about tipping, on a blog which has not been updated since 2019. For all I know, my websites are being hosted on a dead platform which will never be updated again, and it’s only a matter of time before they are nuked from orbit. The current irrelevancy of this platform is proven in there being no results for “neocities” on rule34.paheal.net, despite the existence of a catty futch mascot named Penelope. Maybe I’m right in abandoning this platform when I have. One day a stray cat will trip over the wires and all my life’s work will be annihilated forever. But to the website’s credit, Neocities has been mostly-functional ever since I first started in 2016, and though updates have been slim pickings on a declining userbase, I have not regretted my decisions to set up shop here, and I hope it will continue to be updated so similarly disillusioned individuals can have their words be heard.
I will also give remarks to the hoards of independent artists who I will my life in eternal envy of. Elizabeth Bodanese, whose brilliancy in ink and space is above description. Shane Frost, who exists at the edge of imagination which I will never reach. Zenirix, whose portraiture was astonishing five years ago, imbued with endless character, and continues to evolve the same. fmirsokp, an artist of many names and just as much mystery, who breaks the boundaries of cartooning and shows colours without compromise. Tyson Tan, who proves the value of professionalism in free culture and the ability to create beauty in free software where none prior was. Asura, who always, without fail, always replied to every comment I left on their artwork, and at no point betrayed their appreciation for my doing so. This punctuality matters more to me than any popularity ever has, and I am grateful for this respect given to me. I conclude with Higgly, whose ponies and dogs show spunk, snark, and occasional sadness, whose work was never appreciated as much as I know it should be. You were a friend of two years with a beautiful heart and uninhibited interests, who knew me in a period of life when I did not know myself. I miss you every time I see your art. Those feelings don’t matter no more.
I want to take special notice to thank my friend of many years, SheepishGamer, for accepting my retirement. He is the only person I have any relations with anymore who knows anything about my writings. We have spent years talking to each other on-and-off, and in honest truth, if I knew how little time I would have with him, I would not have taken it for granted, and I would not have talked to him so little. The indie games he created demonstrate wit and imagination that makes mine look inferior, and our friendship began when I had told him about my review, all those years ago on Froghand, of “Tem Dayting Sim”. We made a visual novel together, over three days, and it was named “Three Drunk Pissed-Off Frogs”. Fast forward from the ancient days of 2017, and here we are, breaking up. At my advice, and after urging him to make use of his beautiful artistic talents, he has begun an enterprise of posting comics on DeviantART and on his Twitter account. I suggested this out of the intertwining desires of public therapy, artistic prolificness, and to meet people with a similar worldview as him. He made a comic about me. I cried when I saw it. And those tears will be all that will be left of our relationship.
And to my anonymous, equally froggy friend of six years, whose name I don’t know, who I have abandoned forever, who was subjected to constant dialogues about my emotional state, my complaints on the world, and who has decided to browse this website out of some act of curiosity. You know who you are. You know what you’ve done for me. Accept the memories as they are, and understand you are a part of a period of my life I am no longer interested in remembering. You expected this, and I am enacting it. Above any and all human beings I’ve had the privilege to know and understand, you are the most influential in my life. I am sorry for direspecting you. I am sorry for my ingratitude. It is obvious our decision to remove each other from our lives has been beneficial to both of us in ways we have yet to fully comprehend. My last request of you is to understand when people like me cannot be helped outside of their own desires, and above all, to find satisfaction in yourself in the way you have slowly allowed me to find. This is my final message.
In reverence to my inspirations over the years, whose value is immeasurable to my life despite never knowing me, I will list off some names.
Winston Rowntree, who I hope in future time will be known as one of webcomic’s most thoughtful, inventive, and humanitarian artists, whose art and writings over the years have changed my worldview for the better. Yahtzee Croshaw, who remains the funniest writer I’ve ever read, and whose body of work forms the basis for my humour, my prose, my cynicism, my endless references ripped-off, and the way I write in the style I write. May I hope to find anyone to obsess over like I have him, and may Zero Punctuation run until his last grasping breath. DigiBronyMLP, the greatest voice on media analysis that will ever be spoken, and the public individual who I have been more privy to the private life of than any other. I will not link their work; it was made in a period in their life that will never exist again, and in respect of my own death, I will revere their decision. John Enter, at one point a critic whose words I took to heart at every turn, I now heed with skepticism due to the antiquation of his format and inconsistency of his current output. Seven years ago, he was pragmatic, prolific, and as exacting as it comes, whose fine-combed analysis of cartoons admonished bad work in exhaustive detail and brought faith and joy for the medium when he covered brilliant work. Now I cannot be inspired by him, because I don’t know who he is anymore.
Vincent Pizzapasta, of Vinesauce, who has tirelessly produced the greatest livestreamed content that the world has ever gotten to see, and whose depth and breadth of experiences I have spent eight years of my life in admiration of. Don’t let the bastards get you down. Penn & Teller, whose skill and showmanship is above reproach, and whose tireless dedication to skepticism and debunking pseudoscience will always be welcome to me. videogamedunkey, who continually punches below his weight for failing to express his insights on video games, and who is consistently the most clever voice on YouTube, with a grasp of comedy and charisma that makes my writings look like those of a clown. Seth Godin, whose writings on business, education, artistry, and humanity at large have made him the author whose books I have most read, and I have heeded his words when considering the fears and insecurities I’ve had the whole of my life. And Nina Paley, whose artistic prowess and anti-copyright activism once made her the woman I most admired, I list as a caution against idolatry: her transphobic obsessions has tainted forever the work I once looked up to, and I dedicate my writings to my queer brethren to the detriment of the inane ramblings of obsolete artists.
There are more names, of course, but these are the important ones.
I know my readers are here for various reasons. Interest in technology, media analysis, socialist rants, cringe culture, and so on. What they all have in common is that they have a maturity and respect that is absent from the vast majority of Internet fanbases. They are smart. They are honest, kind, and genuine. They care about themselves, and they care about others. For this reason, I have one demand of you before my death. I ask that you support your independent artists, that you give a compliment to them. I ask that you send them a message and say what their work means to you. I ask that you be direct and forthcoming in your feelings, because your feelings matter, and I know you know enough about yourself to make them known. If you have the means and ability to make your voice heard, whether as an artist or an audience member, you have the privilege to change someone’s life for the better, even if it’s in a tiny, tiny way. Please. Don’t be afraid to be better than yourself. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone. Because if I was too afraid, back when I was younger and dumber, to show people what I thought of their work in honest and direct terms? I wouldn’t be here showing you all these brilliant people, and I wouldn’t be trying to make you as brilliant as they are.
I will spend the rest of my short life in pursuit of emotional highs, artistic depictions of my emotional lows, and attempting to find balance in this inherently imbalanced medium of existence itself. I will reach out to the stars and aspire for greatness despite the dirt I trod on, and I will find comfort in individuals who understand me better than I could hope to understand myself. I will trawl across the entire palette of human experience in a silly, simple belief in the value of staying alive, and I will throw myself into any affair which makes me feel like my journey to the grave is one worth trekking. I will find great things as I live as my mediocre self, and if I am given the generosity, good fortune, and determination to continue my life in the way I want to live it, then I hope to be cemented in history as a human being that other human beings can look up to and feel bad for not living the life I have lived. I will spend my limited time on Earth in pursuit of the ideal that others can find solace in my words, inspiration in my actions, and understanding that I, among all humans, was nothing more than a man — in all the goodness, and all the evil, inherent in being one.
My final desire is for all mankind to find comfort in learning and knowledge of self, peace with their feelings and perceptions of self, and to make this world beautiful where the people within it are all so very ugly.
There is nothing more to say.
With ♥, from Froge.