I love internet culture. While I’m an American, if there were citizenship for the internet I’d consider myself fully naturalized. Millennials aren’t natives like Gen Z, but we definitely moved online when we were kids. I’m a proud immigrant to the internet.
I engaged in one of the internet’s proudest exports yesterday. After the news about Roe v. Wade hit I was glued to my phone watching for tractions. I spent easily five or six hours Doomscrolling. I’m not proud of it but what else are you going to do when American implodes around a topic as emotional as abortion? Do something sensible like go for a walk. Nah.
Doomscrolling probably doesn’t have a an exact IRL analog. If town squares were still a thing that existed, maybe we’d crowd in and listen to people scream and heckle the town criers. Maybe it’s more like going to the mall and chatting up your peers.
Though I can’t really imagine anyone engaging in the kind of brawling that goes on when Doomscrolling turns reactive. And boy was it reactive when this mess hit America. People were feeling a kind of way. I saw various colors of shock. That surprised me as all I had felt for years was cynicism curdled into disgust. It has been clear where some demographics wanted the issue to land. We had taken too much for granted.
I’ve got an ambition to stay off the internet for a bit. But I know that my reflexive habits will put me back on Twitter if I don’t monitor my usage constantly. When I am anxious I like to surf sentiment. Taking a gauge gives me some sense of false control. That if I can just read the tea leaves right that maybe I’ll protect myself.
But it isn’t really that is it? You know at any minute you could be treated like a second class citizen. That unbearable cruelty could be casualty meted out on your body. And that so many people simply do not care about that pain. And fuck me if that doesn’t shatter your faith in humanity a little.