As we blow out the candles for the internet’s birthday cake realizing that here in Brazil we have to do that a second time to retire, but nobody really knows how we’re gonna get there, maybe retrospection is a valid attitude after all. Why did we get vanilla? Save that for the fast food chains, throw in some peanuts on top, call in a designer to draw the troll face in edible glitter, order more soda just in case, and the rest goes to the fridge. But what if we could get strawberry? No, too late. No fruit. It’s gonna be too sweet. The annoying, dangerously unhealthy kind of taste in your mouth that gives you a reaction you might not wanna talk about on the web. Just one thing, though: there’s no vanilla cake, unless you’re saving babes from pigs with a shotgun.
“Sorry, teacher, I don’t understand”. Yeah, I’m aware. I’m here to explain, that’s actually my job. I’m not the role model for learning. I was too dumb too chew on food when I was little, my nose used to run with blood and I thought I’d be fine just looking up at the ceiling, I ate stuff I wasn’t supposed to, I never learned to walk properly and I’m typing this text half-naked, being on my thirties now. Noteworthy: still unable to cook. But I do wash dishes. I’m great at it. Still haven’t figured out how I’m supposed to behave while purchasing items in any kind of store, but yep, let’s go with the same boat theory. One thing happened, though: I was constantly playing games when I was young. Every day, all day. For a reason? One wonders. The reference I’m making is to Duke Nukem, Christopher Poole’s favorite game, so it seems, as he used it as a profile picture on his Twitter page for years, until changing his bio after the acquisition of imageboard 4chan, Photoshop skills very visible. This was the guy who copied a Japanese standard code and used it to spread sensitive content before anyone had the brilliant idea of calling it “sensitive”. Also the guy who said memes would eventually bring about the destruction of the universe, the quote that got him to work for Google. Merit?
No, I don’t want to make this a personal attack. I’m a Brazilian young man, or a young Brazilian phony parrot who struggles with adjectives, order and grammar, doesn’t understand how the web was really developed, just like phones, and please let’s not mention any more green birds. I know we went from e-mail to attempt forums and from there to sketches of more complex interaction, which resulted in the advent (and God, I hate that word) of social networks, and to messaging, then to livestream. And because nobody cared how, and everything that happened in between, we’re really fucking lost, though I can’t use this particular word on this particular platform. And that’s the whole problem.
What Chris saw was that something needed to be expanded, taboos needed debunking, and yes, discussions could have longer and more detailed responses even though you were interacting with complete strangers, for the sake of good debate and critical capacity. But hey, we never heard about those mods, pal. Pretty sure they didn’t get a dollar a year. Is it so hard to analyze it that we have to burn shit up to make it virtually impossible to acknowledge that was the problem? Sure, some of those memes were funny as hell, but the lady who was moist was really old, dude. And the invisible dicks might very well come back to haunt some people. But let’s not make it that disastrous, alright? We all go on and off without really travelling to another dimension, unless you wanna play with Star Fox.
So how does the chan phenomenon relate to the current state of affairs, remembering how diverse the forum really was, and looking at those moments of minor confrontation as our great tutorial of how to grow up without your parents? Well… we don’t, because we’re not feeding our own babies. For all the people who are trying to do just that, and in a few years will start thinking about how great it is to have them in college, please allow me to offer some perspective.
In Brazil, we don’t need statistics to inform that less than 1% of the population is writing a blog in the fanciest English you’ve ever seen in your life. We do have creative usernames, some actual names not everyone can pronounce, but definitely not many who get their last one in caps with an invitation to be serious, for the love of Christ. (In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, again, that’s how they show your name when you publish a scientific written work). All of us, not just Brazilians in particular, have become too cranky about the open dialogue we have to endure with unpleasant critics of, let’s say, your face. But how much of that, all of that, sinks in with a teenager who’s just trying to sell something for a modest way of living regardless of their ambitions? Does my degree allow me to share knowledge or does the knowledge that’s not mine, but everybody else’s and ends up sticking to me like some kind of mirror that asks you to smile wide and sexy, stop me from sharing every single thing that I really want to say?
And that’s a real struggle. Information is the good war, but not so much when it comes in schizophrenic rants from a robot. On your next essay, don’t bother to mention the exact date when you emptied your desktop recycle bin, but maybe remember the stuff later when the teacher asks you in public.
Right, ok, less problems. Not everything is all this mess. We can have space for fun, for good ideas, for acceptance, for safe interaction, for curiosity, for art, for curation, discovery, inspiration, emotion, moving life stories, perspective on our history, the healthy kind of wonder, empowerment through language, through self-expression, through collaboration, through and out of respect, for and with younger people, making our mom and dad proud. We just need to help each other. If the discussion is unfriendly, leave it. If someone has bad intentions, block and report, depending on the case. If you have insecurity, depression, anxiety, lack of support, rest assured there’s someone out there who wants to help. You just can’t match the standards, fit in, understand what these people are talking about, know what to do, organize your priorities, see yourself in a better position? Chill, breathe, talk when you’re ready, entertain yourself, cry over a song, cry over your ex, laugh at some dumb meme, and why the hell not, look at her butt.
If you’re not one of those people… it’s alright. We, adults, can get a little weird. You know what I did when I was a kid that earned me a token I keep in my living room and thought of using in the studio where I play for 15 years? I went into a swimming competition, and received a golden bell. I don’t remember how I reacted, but if I wasn’t impressed, I should’ve been. It’s full of ornaments. It’s pretty. The sound is unmistakeable. I can’t swim for real, we unlearn stuff and we update our memory capacity. It’s completely fine to forget. But not drowning is also cool.