The internet’s propensity for time-compression fosters a sense of palpable immediacy. One no longer wants things soon, or, quickly, but now. As such the desire for a suitably curt response is fed into a matrix of intensifying entropy. As information processing capabilities increase so does the corresponding speed at which the information being processed can be transmitted; as the speed of the information being transmitted increases so does the speed of the responses to said information. A brief example of the phenomenon of systemic informational entropy can be seen in generative language fragmentation; one breaks up the lengthy pronunciations and de-syllableizes the words to reach for the core meaning the better to more quickly to communicate. Thus, in place of the affirmational text, “Okay,” one substitutes merely, “k,” precisely because k is more economical and is also understood to be representative of okay, which is itself a colloquial shorthand for “alright,” “very good,” “very fine,” or “that is fine.”
This principal is, perhaps, pushed to its limits by online “meme” pushers. The obnoxious and inherently baleful variety include such examples as the right-libertarian’s Helicopter Pilot For Pinochet rigmarole (a typically half-ironic proclamation of the intent or desire to liquidate communists) as well as the more broadly established right-meme of Communists Aren’t Ppl. Then there is the ubiquitous “reee” image of a crab-man wailing, a encapsulation of “autism.” Then there is the ludicrously absurdist “Flying Spaghetti Monster” (which looks exactly like it sounds) oft employed by progressive atheists in a effort to mock the deity (or deities, depending upon your theological persuasion) of the Abrahamic faiths. Then there is the “tips fedora” gif or jpeg, a image of a fat, ungainly man with messy facial stubble smugly tipping a trilby (which isn’t a fedora but a different type of hat altogether, by the way) which is utilized as a counter-punch by the faithful to rebuke the irreligious or materialistic.
What all of these popular hieroglyphic representations of ire share in common is their propensity to reduce every single facet of, not just a individual’s, but of a entire coherent group’s attributes to one linear, mono-singular character trait. Therefore when one is posting the “tips fedora” man what one is really doing is saying that the targeted individual is both a member of a particular irreligious group and that he shares a projection of their imagined traits. It, of course, is very rarely a accurate representation, anymore than the Flying Spaghetti Monster accurately represents the views of the faithful.
Of course, such memetic derisionary tactics are not meant to actually foster a dialogue they are merely meant to spit venom, merely a digital placeholder for “you’re a fool,” or, “fuck you, idiot.” Therefore a discussion of the hieroglyphics of ire with anyone who is not actually interested in fostering and reciprocating a dialogue is completely pointless because the purveyors thereof have ceased to retain any semblance of individuation and have instead subsumed themselves into a pure machinic process. They are not really the generative force behind such messages (given that popular memes are typically created by but a single individual and are then passed around and around until they fall into obscurity ) but rather only a envoy of another’s message. They are purely mouthpieces carrying around the word’s and ideas of others without any capacity to realize that their “social” signaling – in maximizing speed and recognition – utterly sacrifices any depth or breadth of communication. The response to any naysaying regarding such aforementioned hieroglyphs is always met with “its just a joke” but this is obviously not true, especially in any case where no one is laughing.
There is a pervasive assumption that because the majority of a user-base upon any given platform acts in a certain way (usually absurdly and crudely) that the whole of the purpose of the platform is just that. Therefore if people are curt and strangely sadistic on Twitter, that is the whole of the purpose of the platform. If people are coddling and emotionally fragile on Tumblr then that is the whole purpose of the platform. And so on and so forth. Of course this is absurd, indeed, patently false, and it is false precisely because the individuals who operate and utilize these platforms do not control them. They might declare their rights (and they always have ever so many – an obnoxious cornucopia) but they have no ability at all to enforce these “rights” they are largely at the mercy of the operators who own the monopolistic companies that control the sites (which is precisely why so many individuals are now clangorously raising their voices to declare them public utilities and have them regulated as such). So when someone tells another that X site is just for lulz (which is just a excuse for juvenescent and puerile behavior, a catharsis for mundane repression with which they cannot properly contend) that may well be their aim but it is not necessarily others. It is certainly not mine, as I much prefer conversation to digital, imagistic vomit.
3 thoughts on “Hieroglyphic Ire and Monolithic Representation”
In my mind these heiroglyphic representations of ire are only acceptable when used against those already not discussing or arguing in good faith. When there is no productive discussion to be had and no compromise that can be reached, these shorthand psychological weapons can be used to demoralize and anger the other side, and to rally ones own side.
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Yes, that’s right. I was referring to those whose first response to anything is always some kind of memetic disparagement. What I think they miss is that is isn’t good for them (in terms of serious political engagement, in the long run.
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