peteg's blog

Jarett Kobek: i hate the internet.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle. On the strength of Dwight Garner's review in the New York Times. Kobek is scathing about the "social media" internet in a tendentious, categorical style that reflects what he loathes. I wonder if he is aware of The Sellout; there he would find a deeper engagement with race in California. Almost all the tropes of geekdom are slaughtered here (Heinlein, Doctor Who, ... — collectively branded juvenalia) and blamed for the infantilisation of emotion and conflict that one finds on the anonymized internet. (Indeed this is something of a book-length expansion of the greater internet fuckwad theory.) Hardy's Jude the Obscure and A Clockwork Orange get some grudging respect. Google's executives are likened to the Greek (or Roman?) pantheon. The closing riff on Galt's overlong speech in Atlas Shrugged is quite funny; I can hardly wait for the women-only internet called for there.

I wish he had spent a bit of time thinking about the rest of the net, where plenty of communities get along just fine. The key, of course, is to come together around non-trivial mutual interest and to tolerate other people's quirks. I guess that involves some loss of anonymity.

Unfortunately Kobek's earlier Atta does not appear to be available as an ebook.