This will be complaint number 434 in my series Eleven Hundred and Thirty-Seven Complaints About the Internet.
Not to be all negative. There are several very nice things about the Internet too!
Today's complaint (number 434, have I mentioned that?) I am calling The Fallacy of the Discussed.
Few are the days now that you can spend talking to acquaintances, loved ones, or various social groups, where someone, somewhere doesn't bring up a notable anecdote, telling tale, or item of interest they found on the Internet. I am not casting aspersions upon these short tales. Judging them one way or the other is beyond the purview of this complaint. Indeed, to stack the cards against this complaint let us say that every one of these anecdotes is sterling, illuminating, and revealing. Like, you are having a quiet talk about your mutual fears and anxieties with a colleague you are growing closer to, and they say "You know, I just stumbled on this story about Rilke on the Internet and he said Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
Let's say they're all like that.
This makes the Internet look very good. Every time it is referenced it has performed at some of its highest capabilities and demonstrated the best of it's enriching qualities. Almost every time the Internet comes up in casual conversation it looks great and shiny and clever and accessible. We are like Vegas gamblers who only share stories of our wins. Although at least when you go to Vegas and say nothing people might ask you about how the gambling went, causing you to confess the more common truth. "The main thing is I had a good time. I look at the money I lost as the same as what I would have spent on Hokusai prints on a different kind of trip."
And gambling is the perfect analogy, because roaming the Internet is a gambler's game. With each click you will mostly lose. But the next day, chatting with a co-worker, you do not say "Well, last night I was on the Internet and I saw a bunch of stuff about the director Christopher Nolan. He said I've always been a movie guy, movies have been my thing. I love movies, all kinds of movies."
"What does that have to do with anything?" Your co-worker asks, perplexed.
"Absolutely nothing." You reply. "It's like I took an hour of my life and stabbed it in the heart."