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Internet Thugs

by Phumlani Pikoli, Illustration by Rico / 31.01.2011

Beauty is: the internet’s offer of complete freedom and anonymity it. The revelation that the porn game does in fact get two fists deep. The opportunity to make up an entire persona; the chance to name yourself say things one would never dream to say in real life, for fear of getting beaten up, fired or sued. The opportunity to be proudly racist, misogynistic, vulgar or anti-establishment depending what flavour best suits you. We drool to read the explicit content that continues to push boundaries saying things in the name of being provocative. It’s not worth reading or writing unless it contains the words fuck and cunt in the first three words of the sentence.

The splendor of the net is the comment thread. Mahala itself has a pretty rough neighbourhood running below the kif or kak signs. Depending on the article one can find either stimulating intellectual debate, straight up hating and more often than not; some or other socially inept sourpuss writing for the sake of writing and putting in as many cuss words as possible. It’s a way of saying “Screw you!” to the folks. Some of these internet thugs cast themselves as either Super Heroes and Villains. In essence our super heroes and villains are a blend of cool nerds looking to intellectually validate themselves as cerebral champions of argument with an entire world of information at their finger tips. To put it more simply it’s like having an open athletic sporting contest where anyone and everyone is given the steroid of their choice in the competition.

A generation of meanies without guidance or decorum for what is decent. People looking to be constantly edgier than the next. No morality when it comes to insults. Brainy children with their vocabularies and intellectual capabilities as their weapons. Who cares what you say and to whom you say it, it’s over the internet, the person can’t see your face and you can’t see theirs, so tell them that suicide would be a good career move. It can’t be taken personally. I think Ben Stiller’s character in Greenberg best captures the essence of what I’m trying to say, though I find myself a part of the generation he’s talking to in the film.
“You’re mean. The thing about you kids is that you’re all kind of insensitive. I’m glad I grew up when I did, cause your parents were too perfect at parenting. All that um… baby Mozart and Dan Zane songs. You’re so sincere and interested in things. There’s a confidence in you guys that’s horrifying! You’re all ADD and Carpel tunnel, you wouldn’t know agoraphobia if it bit you in the ass and that makes you mean. You say things to me someone who’s older and smarter with this light air. I’m freaked out by you kids.”

Comment boards are some of the most entertaining areas on the net. People just have a knack to go for them with a relentless need to make a point no matter how moot it is. A cyber fight club where no one needs to be physically bruised. “Can’t we all just get a long?” the words of Rodney King after taking the beating that sparked the 92 LA Riots. Check out the comments on these video’s. Powered by Youtube! Again you gotta love the internet it’s where the anonymity of bigotry thrives.

It’s pointless to have a sound argument only to kill your point by allowing your emotional baggage to filter into it. Personal spats behind pseudonyms (no matter how cool they are) are completely juvenile. It’s a nice laugh to read retaliations to how big aka1’s mother is, but at the end of the day it lacks substance. Personally, should you want to express an opinion, you should also be willing to put your name on it. Not so people can come after you in the streets because you dissed an article, a band or just cause you’re an idiot. But because what good is a position, if you don’t have to occupy it? Tony Montana says it best in the bad guy monologue in Scar Face. “So say goodnight night to the bad guy!” Cause you’ve never heard of a bad guy with a pseudonym this good!

*Illustration © Rico.

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