Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Internet and its Culture of Negativity and Cynicism

To be objective on the Internet, you have to hate everything. Everything's cliche', everything's been done before, and don't easily be impressed.

That goes with every kind of interest group online. Movies, games, it doesn't matter. You're a 'fanboy' if you're easily impressed. You've got good taste when you're not.

Its moments like this when I think back to a time when the Internet wasn't around, and it's a whole lot easier to make up your mind about what you think about anything. To me it boils down to 'I like it', or 'I don't like it'. Now there's always the pervading force of "69% do like it" while "31% don't like it", and the pressure that asks you, "What's your taste like?". Implicitly, if you defy the convention and you like something that everyone else hates, you must be insane and should be cast out with monickers like 'Fanboy!' or whatever terminologies the Internet hive-mind has fabricated. If you go along with the crowd, it's a whole lot easier. So hating everything is usually the norm, on forums online.

I guess I could easily just succumb to this and decide to just go with the flow and think exactly how everyone else thinks, but that's not me. I carve my own path and make my choices and I don't really care what other people think. This approach probably won't make me rich or successful or whatever works for most people but at least I can sleep at night knowing that I'm my own person.

This is still a blog and I can still say what I think, so call it a deviation if you wish; it's just something I was thinking as I was perusing different forums on gaming. What stands out to me is the cynicism. I guess you can see that on forums with interests on whatever other things, I just wonder if they also use the term 'Fanboy!' for car fanatics, sports fanatics or other things that preoccupy our time. Perhaps it's just insecurity when someone starts labeling someone else as a fanboy; it's more an insult than constructive criticism. It's more of a reminder that, "Hey, you CAN'T like something that much, it's just wrong..." like you've committed some grave moral error and you'll go to some hellish place when you die for liking something so much. Personally I consider a fanboy as someone who would go to extreme lengths for his hobby, like dressing up as a character or buying an entire collection of collectibles of whatever....now that's a fanboy to me. But to have your own opinion, determination or belief about something....that's a fanboy now? There's no real definition for it on the Internet. It's the retort people choose when they've run out of things to say. Just resort to insults when you've got nothing left, that's what I usually see.

Anyway, having a blog is a Godsend, because, like in that old movie 'the Lawnmower Man' where Jobe says "I am GOD here!" in his virtual reality space, this is a place where I can post what I think and not get flamed for it. (See? Turned off comments. It's that simple!) I do know nothing will change even by posting this here, I guess I'm just venting my frustration at any kind of attempt at decent communication on the Internet. That said, these are just my thoughts, and now I feel much, much better.