Thursday, June 6, 2019

So, You Want to Be the Voice of Your Generation…

Dear Mr./Miss [YOUR NAME HERE]

Congratulations! You have made a wise decision, no doubt after much consideration and with no malice aforethought. You want to be a representative of your generation on The Internet. Good for you!

In today’s hyper-realized mega-culture, too many voices constantly clamor for our attention, leaving us numb to any sort of reasoned thoughts that might exist in the aether, and often incapable of recognizing those thoughts when we stumble across them.

This is where YOU come in. Yes, you! Are you not chock-full of the attributes that constitute your arbitrarily and narrowly defined “generation?” That makes you the perfect person to step out of the crowd and make your voice heard over the din! Be an “influencer!” A “taste-maker!” Why, if you play your cards right, you might one day become “an Internet Sensation!”

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? But, hold on there, Eager Beaver. Before you go running off, nilly-willy, and start banging on your keyboard like a belligerent grotesque, there are a few things you’ll need to know in order to be the best, most intensely saturated version of your digital self that you can be. These simple principles will ensure that you appeal to the broadest possible swath of humanity, who are most often going to experience you in their worse possible state of mind, such as sitting on the toilet, or waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

1. Try to base your opinions on as few facts in evidence as possible
In the fast-paced modern world, no one has time to learn anything. That’s why cat pictures are the most passed around digital files on the Internet. Facts are for intellectuals and professor-types, and they are used to confuse people and challenge the status quo. Always remember: You ARE the status quo! And you are perfect, right now, and should be preserved in amber, until the end of time. As today’s youth often says, “Change is for suckers, and learning is for squares.”

When making claims in any digital space, remember that your experience is the only valid experience that matters. No one need tell you any different. If you don’t like Kung-Fu movies, and yet you want to write a thousand words on what’s wrong with Kung-Fu movies, that’s what Voices of Their Generation do! No one is an expert in anything anymore; you can take advantage of that by sounding authoritative and suggesting that anyone who disagrees with you is a morally bereft and ethically suspect person.

This is even more effective if you use some of the vocabulary of the Internet Outrage Machine; words like “triggered” and “[blank]-shaming” and “wrongfun” and “pearl clutching” are great terms to liberally sprinkle into your posts to shut down any replies. Bonus tip: these terms are easy to make up yourself! Try to come up with some! Use them daily for a few weeks! If your word or phrase “goes viral,” then you can write a post about it and “humble-brag!”

2. Whenever possible, rush to judgement
The Internet is fast, fast, fast, and if you want to be relevant in today’s world of “likes” and “smileys” then you need to be “FIRST!” with all of your commentary. Did a new movie trailer premiere online? Well, shake a leg, little camper, everyone’s going to want to hear your thoughts on the as-yet-unreleased movie! So, go for it! Use the brief glimpses of the scenes and the way they are cut together to form a complete opinion about the movie and tell us why you hate it! But why stop there?

Don’t wait for the series to end before you wax forth on how terrible it was! Don’t even wait for the episode to end! Take what little you’ve seen and extrapolate it out to the most horrible and insane place you can. If you can invent reasons for your thinking, so much the better. Remember rule number one: you don’t have to know anything about how a book is written, or a comic is produced, in order to suggest that everyone involved planned for their product to be terrible. This is the Internet, and no one looks up anything, anyway.

3. Try to find offense whenever someone disagrees with you
That old chestnut about sticks and stones breaking bones but words will never hurt you is nonsense! Every contrary opinion hurled in your general direction should feel like a searing white-hot dagger in your left eye. If someone disagreeing with you doesn’t make you violently ill, you need to punch yourself in the groin until you throw up. If you’re not offended naturally, then figure out some other way to have the same feelings.

For example, if someone disagrees with your online petition to get a TV show ending changed to the way you think it should have ended, treat that disagreement as if your soul was being forcibly ripped from your body. Take whatever they may have said and see if you can apply it to something deep and private, and in doing so, force them to back off from their position. If they don’t retreat, then you can attack them for “Making it Personal.” This is the best way to stifle discourse and discussion, which is contrary to everything that a Voice of a Generation hopes to achieve.

Remember, in a world where everyone is the Emperor of their own Digital Island, it’s a privilege to be invited into someone else’s domain. Your responsibility is to use that brief window of time to make as large and as loud as statement as possible. Volume is more important than the message it carries. Thoughts need not be coherent, or even cogent; they should, instead, arouse dim emotions and confusion as to what you really mean. It’s much better to be seen than to be understood.

Being the Voice of your Generation is an awesome responsibility. We rely on your presence and your proclamations in order to know where to go, what to experience, and how to do it. How we ever got along without you before the Internet is one of the Great Mysteries of Our Age. We would consider researching it, but we’ve all forgotten how.

Now that you have some basic guidelines, get out there and start opining! We are all waiting with great anticipation for what you are going to dazzle us with next!

Good luck, and best wishes,

Dr. Theodore Snark-Irony,
Director of Sarcasm
The Everyman Institute

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