Frontline Samizdat

I click through sludge

When I’m online, I trudge as befits my position. I am but a footsoldier. A footsoldier of the culture wars. It’s not fun, I tell myself, but it is my duty to watch bad movies like Cuties and read bad novels by JK Rowling. On the wind and from over the hilltops, I can hear the Reds screeching. 

‘Nevertrumpers’ might well vote for him this time, just you watch. All that needs to happen is for this election to be fought as a race war, and for the suburban WASPS to go weak at the knees. He knows what he’s doing. He has his political heuristics. He’s funny. Might not like it, but it’s true.

The winning and losing will get done online. Online worlds have grown from four years past, and now that everybody’s gone brown in their houses, I sneak this one piece of prattle through your letterbox – (I whisper it past the sleeping moustachioed internet sensor) – Do not engage. Nothing is as it seems.

Nothing? Nothing not anything at all? Yes, for our purposes, yes, nothing not anything at all. Case Study: ‘The Echo of Truth’, North Korea’s new Youtube channel, with Mario Kart Music, 90s transitions, and Crackly Audio. What about this? Surely this one counts as sure footing. We know everything that comes out of the DPRK is DPRK propaganda. What’s not to know here?

NO! Trust nothing. Check the comment section of the ‘The Echo of Truth’, the DPRK’s Youtube Channel, and you’ll find a whole community of bots each trying to convince you that the decadent West with its Bullshit jobs (true) is a far poorer place to be than Pyeongyang (false). To be expected. Case closed? Or… perhaps not. Perhaps… perhaps these bots are being created to convince their DPRK superiors of the channel’s success so that their creators don’t get a bullet in the head, rather than because the primary aim is to convince anybody. Or… maybe these bots are Westerners – decadent Westerners trolling away in perfectly poor English. I’ve seen too much. I trust nobody. Not even the North Koreans.

Radical Sceptics. That’s what’s needed. The internet has fragmented into different habitats: the hyper-sensitive Twittersphere, the sickly Instagramaxy, the sycophantic plains of LinkedIn, the CCP cauldron of Tik Tokery, and the infinite Youtubeiverse of spiralling addiction. Each habitat has different communities, and each community has its own language, and learning these languages are gateways to culture war battlegrounds.

Complete immersion starts out as undesirable. Then, before you know it, all semblance of mind ecology has been blown from your nose-holes. Truth is, nobody knows how to navigate these waters. Our boats are radically rudderless. We jump ship. Total immersion seems easier. Culture War soldiering becomes a full-time job.

Once this era of madness is over, how will we cope? We’ve seen Paree. Who would dare keep us down on the farm with promises of a possible family life, once we’ve experienced glory on the troll-farm? 

A Culture War Panza is the ‘Red Scare Podcast’, where, in the ‘Burgirl podcast’ episode, the dirtbag dominatrix Anna Khachiyan frames this inability to dodge the draft as a crisis of identity. Antinatalism, she says, could just be a post-hoc rationalisation to make ourselves feel better about how none of us Millennials have the opportunity to have pensions or houses. Have we all jumped headfirst? Do any of us intend on coming up for air?

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