A lightning fast gateway to untold wonder, this invention has undoubtedly and fundamentally changed our existence for the better — so much so, that in recent years, there has been talk of granting it as a basic human right, a modern creation akin to voting, or freedom of speech.
And yet, the world wide web is not without a darker side, either. For all the possibility it allows into existence, there lurks an equally large population working to bring ruin and inconvenience. Some, purposefully. Others, simply out of ignorance.
We plan to examine them all over the next hour, so come join us, viewer, as we take a journey into how the other half lives…in The Seven Locations Of Internet Hell.
Imagine heading to your favorite social network, or your regular online community, only to find…everything close to the same as it usually is. The only difference is, you can no longer perfectly make out what’s being said – and while you’re still able to get the gist of it all, the words are in just different enough dialect to hinder dialogue and understanding. Yes, the distinct speech patterns of this strange region exist largely independent of rhyme, reason, tense, or punctuation, coming off more as wild rant than coherent phrase. When confronted, the people of Illiterateville commonly insist that the internet is not a classroom, and that grammar rules do not apply. While that defense can hold true, more often than not, they neither know pronoun from predicate in the first place, let alone the need to have either.
2. Slug Lane
The next location on this list is familiar territory to us all, and a near inevitable encounter for any frequent internet user. Who among us hasn’t had a chain email forwarded from Uncle Dan, been blasted with a poor reply-all or seen an unfortunate acquaintance try to bring back the Harlem Shake? Slug Laners – our parents, our inter-uncultured — exist in the slowest moving regions of the information superhighway. Watching as everything else speeds right by, they are only able to pick up bits and flashes of the memery around them, causing you to wildly roll your eyes in disbelief as they rush to tell you all about that Myspace or show you the Harlem Shake. Don’t rubberneck at the disaster that is their lack of progress. Just keep moving – like those of Illiterateville, the occupants of the Slug Lane are largely harmless.
3. Port Au Plagiar
In the vast lawlessness that governs much of the internet, it is a near certainty that thievery profits. And for better or for worse, the diverse hub that is Port Au Plagiar exists for them to hawk their shoddy wares. Be warned – anything “made” in this watery paradise is not only likely to be of poor quality, but also of questionable origin. A kind description of the annoyingly derivative and list-heavy culture at this Port would be to call it heavily imported. An unkind one would trend toward words like mimicry or doppleganger. Whatever your stance, anthropologists do agree on this: rampant, search-engine-optimized imitations thrive here because the Plagiar have no cultural concept of proper attribution. If you do happen to take a visit, though, do check out their thriving slideshow industry. What happens next will blow your mind and restore your faith in humanity!!
You might be a citizen of Anonymia. Then again, you might not. Claiming citizenship here is up to you, really, in the only section of the Internet where Wilde’s brilliance does not hold true. Come or go as you please, as long as you obey the single law that exists; all men are masked, but no truths are told. A word of advice to all passersby, then: trust none – news, gossip, opinion, fact or fabrication — of what you hear, and even less of what you see, because no one is who they say they are. Experts are amateurs, amateurs are experts, everyone has cancer and is supermodel attractive…even the beggars, sob stories and well-rehearsed Kickstarter pledges in tow, are untruthful. Many an identity has been stolen wandering through these parts.
A spoof come to life, the city of Spamalot bombards visitors and citizens alike, constantly and on end. It does not discriminate with its varying messages, all of little personal relevance – it only insists upon the act of broadcasting it to your ears and inboxes. Actual receptiveness comes secondary. Pray your filters are of mild effectiveness. Deletedeletdeletedelete.
6. Keyboard Gladiator Arena
For unbeatably cheap thrills, visit the Keyboard Gladiator Arena, open 24 hours a day, without exception. Located right in the heart of any internet hub, the KGA has drawn renown from worlds over for its delightful tradition of prepubescent combat. Don’t worry, though — nobody ever leaves a duel with any more than hurt feelings. Here, fights are conducted with the far less physical: blunted wit and tired quips. For a real treat, watch the lightweight division (11-16) duke it out over increasingly graphic insinuations about the other’s parents. Or if your ears easily tire of shrill yelling, you can always occasionally spot grown folk doing exactly the same.
7. Any Given Comments Thread.
If you’ve ever wondered what happens to these champions once they are too old to continue battle, then you’ve gone too far. Turn back now, for you have reached the deepest level of Internet Hell. Better to turn a blind eye here, lest you wish your web-surfing be tinged with brain-wrenching idiocy. Once graduating from combat, the fully matured keyboard gladiator takes the only talent he knows to the only open avenue that might tolerate it: your average comments section. And here he lurks, waiting for any opportunity to exhibit well-honed skills of verbal harassment. Thanks to the possibilities of social media, they are more easily spotted than ever. Best to just not read anything typed by them. Better for your health, friend.
Although to be clear, we should not confuse these matured Neo-neanderthals with actual positive growth. By this point in their development, they tend to exist in a state of mechanical unconsciousness, continuing to function as they shroud themselves in dated, if not outright problematic views – including every ist, ism and phobia you can think of. Surprisingly, these consistently displayed hatreds are only a small part of what makes encountering them so appalling.