• Member Since 11th Jul, 2011
  • offline last seen 1 hour ago

Aquaman


The campiest of happers.

More Blog Posts151

  • 15 weeks
    Regarding Less-Than-Positive Interpretations of Pride

    Let's get a quick disclaimer out of the way before we really get going: I don't like foalcon. By "foalcon" here, I refer specifically to M-rated stories that depict characters who are very clearly meant to be minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct with other minors and/or adults. Not a fan of it! I find it gross on a personal level, I think it's morally reprehensible that a site of this

    Read More

    37 comments · 1,236 views
  • 25 weeks
    The Life That Was Given to Us (Or: The Unbearable Betrayal of Sincerity)

    Got a comment on my last blog a little bit ago that went something like this:

    "Why not get a life instead of taking Internet horse drama so seriously?"

    I'd like to talk about this comment a bit. Not the lazy insult itself, but rather the perspective it represents, and how I both sympathize with and can no longer accept that point of view.

    Read More

    33 comments · 1,074 views
  • 25 weeks
    Not Being Vague Anymore

    (4/21/21 10:15 AM EST: Slightly edited so as to play slightly nicer with others.)

    (4/21/21 IDK when: more edits from site mods; there used to be screenshots of the original post and a particular comment that prompted mine.)

    Read More

    151 comments · 3,125 views
  • 43 weeks
    Look What I Did Instead of Anything of Substance Today!

    Posh did this, and then Present Perfect and Jake the Army Guy did it too, so now I'm giving in to completely imagined peer pressure to

    Read More

    9 comments · 431 views
  • 61 weeks
    *noises of a horse vagueposting*

    Boy, you have some gullible fuckin' followers, fam.

    Read More

    27 comments · 764 views
Apr
22nd
2021

The Life That Was Given to Us (Or: The Unbearable Betrayal of Sincerity) · 8:06pm April 22nd

Got a comment on my last blog a little bit ago that went something like this:

"Why not get a life instead of taking Internet horse drama so seriously?"

I'd like to talk about this comment a bit. Not the lazy insult itself, but rather the perspective it represents, and how I both sympathize with and can no longer accept that point of view.



Part 1: The Question (Tell Me What You Think About Me)

Here's a shocking revelation: I spent a lot of time on the Internet as a teenager. A weird amount of time, honestly, given how much of a jock I presented as (and still present as) out in meatspace. But could you blame me? I was a fledgling storyteller who'd stumbled upon a whole community of people writing stories about the same properties that I loved. I didn't even know that was a thing, this "fan fiction," and here was a giant site dedicated to it that had existed for years, and had forums for discussion on top of that!

I'm referring, of course, to FanFiction.Net, which is where I cut my Internet teeth at the age of 15 and did a lot of... let's generously call it, "growing up" instead of "taking on Lovecraftian psychological damage" from exposure to all the various types of things people on fan fiction sites write about. And when one "grew up" on the Internet in the late 2000s and early 2010s, there were certain things one learned to get used to--things like sock puppets, trolling, and the incredible freedom and ostensible power that anonymity in cyberspace could grant you. Unsurprisingly, my awkward teenage ass was a straight-up bully on FFN, reveling in the fact that I could string sentences together better than the average user and taking no small amount of pride from my membership in "The Literate Union" group (if you know, you know). 

But in the end, I only spent a couple years really entrenched in that particular web domain. The bulk of my writing life, and my Internet life by proxy, has been here on good ol' FIMFic, talking and writing about magical horses. And by the time I stumbled ass-backwards into this fandom in 2011, I had actually--against all the odds--matured a bit. I'd received some talkings-to from FFN users who were older, more experienced, and smarter than me, I'd done some introspection on how small the difference was between the taunts I once dealt with from middle school classmates and the clever diatribes I penned online, and I stopped being such a stickler for what "the rules" said was acceptable online behavior. While finding intrinsic self-worth outside of writing skill would come later (much later), I had at least learned the most important actual rule there was to know about sustainable online existence: don't get mad on the Internet.

That's still the prevailing rule today: don't take this seriously, it's just a joke, getting actually butthurt and earnestly engaging in an online argument is an automatic losing condition. Lord knows, I've even poked at people for it recently, and obviously vice versa. But over the last decade or so, something interesting happened to the Internet, the place where anything could be true and nothing ever really mattered. Namely, the real world found us, and suddenly decided that the dorks hunched over their computers had something addictive, potentially profitable, and eminently exploitable in their hands.

When I joined Facebook as a high school freshman in August 2008, there were about 100 million users on that site. Today, there are roughly 2.8 billion monthly active Facebook users. The biggest company in the world is Amazon, because it's the premier marketplace for buying things online, and the whims of various Twitter hordes can steer the development of news cycles, shape public policy, and--whatever buzzword you want to use for it--lead to real-world personal and professional consequences for individual users. When I first became introduced to the capital-I Internet, it was at the very tail end of its underground phase, still wholly separate from and even actively repellent to society at large. Now, society is the Internet, and the Internet drives society, often in directions that would be baffling and terrifying to someone snatched up from any point in the past prior to the W. Bush administration.

But come on, you might want to say, it's still the Internet. It doesn't matter how many normies wade in and don't understand what's going on; they can't change what's been here for years, or impose some weird sense of morality on us that can't work in a space where nobody knows anyone else's real name. Certainly, if nothing else, a few random Internet posts can't have any meaningful effect on the cultural zeitgeist, and anyone who thinks otherwise just isn't strong or smart enough to handle the abrasive and irony-drenched language that true denizens of this place speak.

I wish that were still true. I swear to God, I really do. It's what I know from growing up here, from tinkering with my views of the world somewhere everything and nothing could be true all at once, and I could try on different ideologies without any concern that it might hurt the feelings of people who weren't even there to see my ramblings. But over the past ten years, real life didn't just invade the Internet--the Internet became real life. Especially right now, after a year of pandemic living in which virtually all our human interactions had to pass through sterile online connections, the Internet has inextricably blended with IRL, and saying something online is functionally indistinguishable from saying it in person. 

And this is where we circle back to the central question here: why don't I get a life? To which the simplest answer is simply this: there's no other life to get. I've met Facebook friends, Twitter mutuals, FIMFic authors and future employers and adopters of pets I needed to rehome in the real world after making initial contact solely online. I am my Internet persona, and my Internet persona is me, and there's nothing left to do but evolve along with the world at large.

But here's the more complicated answer to the question you're really asking: why am I not happy with the life I've got? Why am I breaking the code, disobeying the cardinal rule of all things World Wide Web, by getting IRL mad about something someone said on a website? Why, if I claim to be of and for the freedom of the Internet, do I care so goddamn much about something I know doesn't mean anything real?

Because it does mean something real. And it's not--entirely--our fault that it does. The concept of Internet statements having real-world consequences is not something we came up with ourselves, nor is it something the people who were online in the 2000s and early 2010s necessarily wanted to enforce. This was, to pointedly use an oft-maligned buzzword, our "safe space.” On the Internet, no one was shoved into lockers for liking cartoons or not liking sports, and we could meet others who liked the same things but lived thousands of miles away from us, and nobody came in with any societal advantages based on income or height or gender or even genital size. Everyone was anonymous, a person was only as powerful as their ideas, and their ideas could be anything they want at any given time. We could coexist here, in a truly equitable analogue for society.

But "equitable," as I so often explain in work assignments regarding the asset division stage of divorce, is not the same as "equal,” and while the Internet perhaps used to be equitable, it was never equal. And that’s why getting mad on the Internet makes us uncomfortable: because it destroys the illusion that the Internet is now--or ever was--both.

Part 2: Who Can Take a Cheese Grater, Strap It To His Arm...

CW: Some real nasty (in the sexist/racist way) song lyrics behind the spoiler tags

When I was in college, I joined the school's rugby club and played for all four years of my undergrad education. I loved rugby--I'm still friends with most of the guys I played with, and more than anything I couldn't get enough of the culture intrinsic to the sport. On the pitch, rugby is as violent an athletic contest as exists on planet Earth. Fouls results in "scrums" where sixteen men slam against each other in two coordinated packs, players commit to tackles at full speed without pads or helmets or sometimes even mouthguards, and "blood subs" were the unofficial term for when someone couldn't hide the fact that they were bleeding well enough to keep the ref from noticing and forcing them to leave the game. 

But at the same time, you never called the ref anything but "sir," and backtalk would get you chewed out not only by said ref, but probably by your captain and coach too. There was no time to celebrate tackles or long runs; play would continue, and you needed to get back up, get in position, and continue filling your role while only thinking of helping your team succeed. And after the match was over, both teams would gather for a social and drink like fish without so much as a dirty look between us. We'd been trying to kill each other for 80 minutes, but once those 80 minutes were up, we were all just rugby players, and we all liked drinking and laughing and singing together like brothers.

And oh boy, did we sing--all kinds of rowdy and offensive call-and-response shit. We had songs about what we wished the ladies were like (I wish all the ladies / were jockeys in a race / and I'd be the saddle / and they'd sit upon my face), what kinds of shenanigans the S&M Man would get up to (Who can take a preacher / bend him over a pew / fuck him, fuck him, fuck him 'til he swears that he's a Jew), the various reasons why Jesus couldn't hack it on a rugby team (Jesus can't play rugby 'cause he's only got twelve friends--or alternatively, Jesus CAN play rugby, he turns water into wine), and of course your standard bar classics about walking down Canal Street, meeting a whore in the park one day, and what each day of the week was for (Wednesday was, is, and remains an ANAL DAY).

If you can believe it, I'm sharing some of the more polite verses I remember--there were plenty more that were blatantly sexist, racist, anti-Semitic, or some form of -ist we don't even have a word for yet. (I don't know what it counts as to sing that Yogi Bear liking it black on white makes him a panda bear.) But as disgusting as the content of our songs was, it never left the private parties we held with only players in attendance, and it never translated into equivalent rhetoric in real life. We made sure it didn't; nobody on the team would've tolerated sincere racism or sexism from any fellow teammate, or even broadly irresponsible behavior like drunk driving. We played around with these stereotypes because we were all in on the same core joke, which was that these kinds of statements were jokes that were not ever to be taken seriously.

I graduated college in spring of 2016. While I was still attending, the "GamerGate" movement began to take off, and the Internet world began to become more openly hostile to "social justice warriors"--people who invaded spaces they weren't invited to, claimed they were offended by what they saw or heard there, and sought to ruin fun they didn't approve of. In 2015, a rugby club we had played against many times and which had existed at its respective school for decades ended up being disbanded after a recording of ribald songs sung at a private off-campus party got leaked to university staff. I remember commiserating with my own teammates about how unfair it was, how the players we competed with and drank with had gotten a raw deal even after their captains offered to speak with the person responsible for their suspension and clear the air in a neutral setting. 

Meanwhile, on our own campus, you could set a celestial clock by the shitstorm that would pop up every May around exam season in the "Overheard At..." Facebook group which served as a de facto student forum, when a few seemingly oversensitive undergrads would pitch an unholy fit about something like a homemade poster in a freshman dorm showing a bikini-clad woman and captioned "Show me some As, boys, and I'll show you these Double Ds." Our club even briefly got in serious trouble when a freshman player took umbrage to his nickname "Buttplug" (which A) he fully deserved, and B) was not even close to as bad as certain other team member nicknames like "Deep Throat Princess" or, simply, "Racist") and reported us for hazing, which led to a suspension of club activities in a period where universities all across America were starting to take serious heat for not shutting down dangerous fraternity/sorority membership rituals more effectively in the past.

At the time, none of us saw the grumbling public distaste for these developments as the burgeoning reactionary movement it was, the one that would lead to a game-show host being elected President a couple years later and eventually to a deadly attempt at insurrection inside the U.S. Capitol. We were just college kids, messing around with concepts we didn't understand and certainly didn't earnestly believe in, annoyed that people who didn't understand us were trying to police the fun we were having when it wasn't really doing anyone any harm. After all, we certainly weren't actually racists, or sexists, or any of those things the SJWs got offended about. We were just kidding, and it wasn't our fault if some people with sticks up their asses didn't get the joke.

Remind you of anyone?

Here's how my version of this story ends: a couple years after graduation, I came back to campus for Homecoming, and since our alumni vs. students friendly match was called off due to poor field conditions, we just sat around and drank all day instead. The night before, though, we had enough vets in the just-off-campus rugby house raring to relive their college days that we rolled through every song in our age-old book, picking up with our favorite verses as if we'd never left them behind. 

And once we finally wound down after an hour or two, the current captain of the team waded into the middle of the crowd and asked us--politely, respectfully, as only a rugger could chasten another--to never do that again. He'd just had to chase down one of only a few new recruits they'd managed to get that year and try to talk him out of quitting the team. The kid was of Asian descent. We'd sung gleefully about spreading an Asian girl's "silky thighs" and fucking her "til' she opens up her eyes" right in front of him.

We agreed to stop for good with hardly a complaint, and even complimented the captain on standing up for his team and to us, the hallowed vets--after all, this was still our club, and we wanted to see it healthy. But lest you think this was a sign of our maturity and gentlemanliness--it wasn't. This wasn't the first time this had happened, far from it. It was just the first time someone had called us out on it. 

We had Black members on the team when I played for it--Asian members who laughed and sang along with the same verses that (as far as I still know now) cost a struggling team one of its rookies. We were never truly singing in private, never truly joking in a place where everyone was in on the joke. We just thought we were, because we had never been forced to reckon with the damage a bunch of dumb, mostly white, financially-secure kids could do by saying shit they didn't really mean.

Even if you're just with friends, even if you're completely anonymous, you never really know who can hear what you're saying. But just because you're not aware of the harm you're causing doesn't mean it doesn't exist--and it doesn't mean it won't have consequences that you can't walk back.

("... fist her, fist her, fist her, and make pussy parmesan" is how the rest of that verse went. Seriously, some of these songs get dark.)

Part 3: An Elephant’s Faithful, One Hundred Percent

To someone who grew up online at the same time I did, sincerity is intimidating. That's not to say it's scary, per se, or that Internet users exposed to it will always overreact or shy away or lash out for lack of understanding. Most of the time, it just produces a nagging feeling that something is off, that the person you're interacting with isn't doing what they're naturally supposed to be doing. 

And why wouldn't you feel that way? You have to be sincere all the time in real life; speaking your mind around certain relatives or coworkers or even random passers-by might start an argument you want no part of, and if you say something dumb or easily disproven to them, it might linger in the air around you whenever you encounter that person again, a permanent scarlet letter that has irreversibly altered their opinion of you as a human being. The Internet is supposed to be--was designed to be--a place where that wouldn't happen, where ideas reigned rather than preconceived biases, and when an identity that took on too much baggage could simply be abandoned and replaced, ensuring earnest experimentation didn’t result in disproportionate consequences.

And that word really is the crux of it all--consequences. The Internet, historically, is not a place where those happen. Structurally, they can't--what is an account ban, or even an IP ban, but a mild inconvenience that's easy to circumvent if you know what you're doing? It's why getting mad online has always seemed so silly. You can't physically hurt anyone with typed-out invectives, or stick anything to them that a different username or tripcode can't remove. And if that's the case, anger has no purpose other than proving you've let pathos supersede logos. You're making an appeal to emotion in a place where logic rules, and that means you're trying to bring real life somewhere it doesn't belong. You've lost by technicality before the "argument" even begins.

You see this line of thought just about everywhere someone posts an opinion online. From this point of view, any publicly viewable statement is an invitation for logical debate, because that's what the Internet's core purpose is. And I don't know, maybe that's what actually happened early on. Maybe in the halcyon days of Usenet and IRCs and whatever else the ancients used to call each other names on the computer, people engaged in debates online because they genuinely enjoyed the art of discussion, and relished the opportunity to more deeply understand someone else's opinion and, in doing so, make scientific adjustments to their own. 

But in practice, we all know what really goes down: someone makes a big post, another person picks that post apart piece by piece and makes broad assumptions or snide remarks about every segment that each necessitate a distinct response, and the first person to give up and say, "What the fuck are you even talking about anymore?" has lost the battle of wits. This is "debate" online: the art of turning conversation into Calvinball, where there are simultaneously no rules whatsoever and a set of unspoken tenets for proper play that ultimately determine who has owned who. 

Sincerity throws a wrench in this whole operation--it's not just something that makes you lose the imaginary game, it invalidates the game's entire premise. You simply can't be both logical and emotional at the same time. Those things are definitional antonyms. And on a more practical level, it's hard to form cohesive arguments--whether you're browsing a forum, chatting with a colleague, or gearing up for a bar fight--when your pulse is booming in your ears and your hands are shaking with rage.

But that assumption--that core premise around which the entire lineage of online debate is constructed--is bullshit. Logic and emotion are not opposites, but neither are they one and the same. In reality, they share a symbiotic relationship: logic tempers and refines emotion, and emotion offers guidance and meaning to logic. A coldly logical person may justify horrific and eminently illogical things based on one incorrect presumption or one incompletely understood variable, whereas a person who follows their heart in every situation may end up in bad spots that they could've avoided by thinking things through. The absence of either creates imbalance; the combination of both is--in a nutshell--sincerity.

And the weird thing is, bronies know about sincerity better than just about anyone. There's nothing logical about grown men enjoying a show about magical ponies meant for little girls, and pure emotional attachment certainly can't explain the staying power of the fandom and the community spaces we built for each other. The novelty of our genuine appreciation that made no logical or emotional sense in the context of the society it sprang from has even been called "New Sincerity"--we literally have our own paragraph about us in the Wikipedia article for the term. We embraced our role as the weirdos willing to own what we liked and incorporate emotion into the purely logical spaces of the internet, and for a while that allowed us to create something truly unique and special.

And then, in the 2010s, real life became the Internet became real life. People from the real world started to bring personal biases into our "equitable" private utopia. Individuals who had never felt welcomed in our "safe spaces" started to ask us why we had built them that way in the first place. And for the first time, we had to reckon with the fact that we were no longer alone in our little universe, and we had to determine what kind of new hybrid reality we wanted to live in.

And now it's 2021, and segments of the fandom are openly hostile to transgender users and minority-led causes while trafficking in Nazi iconography and rhetoric, largely because Internet culture has regressed--or, very arguably, been shepherded by a multitude of attention-seeking and/or power-hungry bad-faith actors--to a more toxic form of its "good old days.” Under this new boss (same as the old boss), anonymity is holy, consequences are profane, and caring is antithetical to the guiding principles around which those communities are built. 

In other words, sincerity is a betrayal of the Internet way of life, and that "life" is something that a post like this cannot coexist with, because I'm not just trying on this opinion to win a rhetorical game. I mean this shit. I worry about what it's produced and where it might someday lead. I've brought real-world concerns into an Internet space--and that means I've ruined the fun.

Part 4: Ointment for Flies

So, circling back around one last time: why don't I get a life? Brother/sister/non-binary homie, this is me getting a life. This is me engaging in a community I've been part of for a full decade, that I've contributed over 380,000 words of writing to (not including blogs), and that I gave back to in the form of a con merch hall bookstore that saw over $30,000 of revenue and exactly $0 of personal profit for me. For better or for worse, whether you think it's sad or not, this site and the people I've met through it are an important part of both my real-world and online existence, both of which are effectively identical at this point. And I think many people here--including the ones so desperate to avoid self-critique and self-examination--feel the same way, which to me is the most profoundly sad part of this whole situation.

The folks who champion completely free speech but define "free" as the right to harass people they find distasteful, who decry online censorship while fervently wishing for violent real-world harm to individuals who do things they don't like, who dip their toes into overtly fascist rhetoric and then adopt a "Who, me?" veil of innocence when that rhetoric escalates in their replies and they do nothing to moderate it--they're all bronies too. They all got into this property out of presumably the same sincerity I felt, and now they're working hard to rebuild an insincere "safe space" where they can once again speak without caring what impact their words have, a place where overemotional leftists won't get on their case for the stuff they obviously don't mean the way it's taken. And then those words echo off the walls of their Internet chamber, and they start to sound less and less like jokes as people begin to repeat them more, and marginalized communities find themselves less and less welcome in a fandom that--logically and emotionally--should be a haven for them. 

Honestly, much as I despise saying it, they have a pretty good chance of succeeding at this point. They're most of the way there already, judging by the stories that make it to the feature box and the vote ratios on certain comments underneath some of them. But the interesting, and depressing, and ultimately inevitable end result of this kind of effort is that, sooner or later, everyone misses a step. Everyone becomes emotional over something or other, and invalidates their perspective, and gets cast out for betraying the natural order of things. And on a long enough time scale, there will only be two people left in your purely logical, consequence-free "safe space": you, and the person in the mirror.

When that day comes, I hope you can live with what you see.

Report Aquaman · 1,074 views ·
Comments ( 33 )

An impassioned, well-presented, and devastatingly sincere breakdown of the fandom and the online world at large. I cannot dispute this, though there are parts I dearly wish I could.

Thank you for writing this. And thank you for still fighting.

I haven't got more to say than that, you say it far better than I ever could.

R5h
R5h #3 · April 22nd · · 2 ·

That was a really good blog. Thank you.

Brother/sister/non-binary home, this is me getting a life.

Personally, I prefer 'lads/lasses/and limousines' since it just rolls right off the tongue.

I'm afraid I don't have much to add to that, so I'll just say Well Said, That Man.

Sypher #6 · April 22nd · · 2 ·

Fantastic post, Aquaman.

The core consequence of your actions online is that the ideas you spread end up changing people's views wherever they are. So, it becomes imperative the the ideas we spread are good ones. And, as they say, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. We must fight online in the same way as in person. Anonymous people are still people.

RoMS #8 · April 22nd · · 2 ·

Great write-up, Aqua.

It really hits hard that the insouciance of the early internet era is a goner. On the other hand though, it's sobering to realize that this carefree attitude is a mix of both luck but also privilege. We got to reckon with it now. Maturity comes with its amount of toil.

RBDash47
Site Blogger
RBDash47 #9 · April 22nd · · 3 ·

this site and the people I've met through it are an important part of both my real-world and online existence, both of which are effectively identical at this point. And I think many people here ... feel the same way

I know I do.

Very well said, all of it.

Great write-up. Nailed the feel of the old internet, and how those days are long gone,or how some people just don't get that this is a part of real life, just shows a different side of you.

Personally, I find the statement that these kinds of people express that words don't hurt to be an entirely ridiculous sentiment - if words don't matter, why the hell do we even write fiction in the first place, if not to elicit emotional responses? You're all on a goddamn writing site, words do hurt.

I know we've had our differences, but even I can tell when someones talking true from the heart.

I'm glad you wrote this. I've learned from it. I think I understand the whole "it's just a joke, bruh" internet nonsense better now; even as I disagree with it.

Thanks for the perspective.

Damn. That burns.

Thank you for writing this.

Fantastic blog post! You did a great job explaining the feel of the old internet, or at least what people thought it was, and how it may not have ever really been true. I know for my part, I spent my early days on a now defunct Sonic forum, and I knew the people there. I didn't get the same anonymous internet environment that others experienced, and I never bought the argument that what was said online didn't matter. The people who thought that just thought of the Internet as their safe space.

I was molded by the internet myself when I was way younger. I didn't care or know about politics or social justice issues, I started fights, got angry, argued with my ego as if I was a scholar, cried when the utter dredges of the internet were unleashed on me. There's always been obscene things, depraved material, and evil agendas left or right.

Luckily I didn't take it seriously, but, there was never an innocent time for the internet.

When we were younger we just thought nothing bad happened.

Edit: Not that there isn't ANY good to be found but... it was never a "utopia" it's always been dark.

Aquaman #17 · April 22nd · · 3 ·

5504299

Luckily I didn't take it seriously, but, there was never an innocent time for the internet.

That's exactly my point. As it so often is in real life, some of us were just privileged enough to be able to pretend otherwise for a while.

I like this post. It's inspired me to write my own tonight

I've written and rewritten this comment I think four times now. Here we go.

...Here's the deal. I am a weird person. I have multiple rare mental illnesses and for most of my life have suffered various forms of hallucinations, delusions, dissociation, mood swings, headaches, oh, and I used to sometimes cough up blood. (I'm on good meds now. Things are fine.) I also spent quite a few formative years on the internet, bouncing across a few sites that no longer exist. Do you know what the early internet did to people like me? Young, sick people with no formal diagnosis? They told me I was making it all up for attention.

In those days, the idea of the online avatar was the hip thing. The whole conceit of anonymity was that you could leave your real self behind and be whoever you wanted to be on the internet. I, personally, never saw the appeal. I was never anything but sincere with the internet, and the internet threw that back in my face. They ascribed maliciousness to my every intention and called me pretentious, immature, a liar. I got into fights with people who were so much more eloquent than I was, who spat things at me that I had no framework for countering, and whom I only realized literally years later were narcissists and compulsive liars. I couldn't win because they were playing by different rules than I was. I couldn't win because they didn't care.

So slowly, I just... stopped. I left my message boards. I deleted my profiles. I stopped participating. When I finally emerged back onto the internet again, mostly on this very site, it was through a crafted internet persona. Someone who wasn't me, and was thus immune to criticism. Someone who didn't care.

It came to a head a couple of years ago, after I got into a rousing internet argument (over gun control, if you must know). Things got heated. Insults were traded. And it slowly came out that he didn't actually care about this issue at all. He didn't have a coherent opinion. He didn't care about the real people involved - in fact, he tried to "prove" to me that I didn't care either. He had no passion in him at all. The only reason he was frustrated was because I had dared to disagree with him.

So, again, I stopped. Because what's the hecking point? No one cares. No one has any motivation to learn, grow, or change. Any attempt to enact change only fuels their scorn. Not caring about things certainly predates the internet - I was made fun of more than often enough in my childhood for "taking it seriously" - but the internet is what finally broke me. I'm not sincere any more. I never talk about myself. I don't let anyone bait me into caring about anything. Outside of a small group of people I trust, if there's any way I can avoid it, I don't speak.

For better or for worse, whether you think it's sad or not, this site and the people I've met through it are an important part of both my real-world and online existence

I wouldn't still be hanging around on this site if it weren't for the friends I've made along the way. They're real, genuine friendships, and it always baffles me when people try to devalue relationships that began online.

Anyways, as a wise man once said, "Aquaman, you're a butthead"

5504583
Okay, fine, maybe my LU phase bled into FIMFic a little.

A little.

Thank you for writing this, I hope it makes people take a good long look in the mirror.

And I hope, in some small part, that early part of the fandom that was and still is a haven to the weird and the sincerer remains.

What I wouldn't give to have your knack for words.

Mind if I share this with some folks I know outside of fimfic? I think they'd find it a worthwhile read.

5504583
This quote is worth requoting, as are many others in this blog.

You put words to a lot of different feelings that didn't originally have words ascribed to them. That in and of itself takes talent, and I'll be damned if I didn't relate to most of this.

Comment posted by Trick Question deleted April 24th

The internet has been more real to me than meatspace for a long time. All my best friends are here. I want to keep the Internet, and Fimfiction in particular, a place I can feel good hanging out in.

The part about logic and emotion being symbiotic was particularly apt, I feel.

5504191
Lasses, Lads, and Enby Chads

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Since Chad is usually only used for the very, very male name or the country limousine has just been my go-to because:

  • alliteration is based
  • they are a luxury
  • limos are fun
  • it is more flattering than lima beans
Scampy #29 · April 25th · · 8 ·

Those song lyrics are honestly horrifying to read, especially as a girl. It's a scary reminder of what the vast majority of guys that age see us as--sex objects to be "fucked" without any care for our individual identity or emotional well-being.

As much as I respect you for being upfront about what you were a part of, I kinda wish I hadn't read any of this blog. Reminds me a bit too much of some bad things.

Good message overall though. Thanks for writing it.

Posh #30 · April 25th · · 2 ·

I’m sorry, I want to say something genuine and complimentary about what a sincere and moving piece of reflective writing this is, but all I can think of is...

(Wednesday was, is, and remains an ANAL DAY).

...does this count as synesthesia?

Thank you for writing this, Aqua.

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