Here is an article. Soon, it will appear on Facebook. At that point, the general public will be free to post their comments beneath it in a completely egalitarian forum for public discourse, where every voice can be heard.
So, how many comments will be posted below this very article until the first one that says “Die”? I can almost guarantee you it will be five or less. It’s such an incredibly unoriginal statement that appears below every single article and video stemming from this website that even the person posting can’t, at this point, actually think it’s worthwhile. And yet, it will happen. If you’re reading this, it has probably already happened.
But how long until the first racist or homophobic remark? Within 30 comments, certainly. Regardless of the content of this article (which is quite literally nothing) a sizable contingency of people will still feel compelled to either shoehorn their bigotry into the present topic somehow, or just chuck their hate under this article, apropos of nothing.
How long until the first mention of President Obama, either in terms of the incredibly tired joke of ironically thanking him for something he has nothing to do with, or out of actual dislike of him and his policies — again, apropos of nothing? I’d wager good money that something like this will appear within 15 comments.
And how long until some slur or insult or vague threat is leveled at the author, simply because the anonymity of the internet makes personal attacks free from consequence and divorces such statements from the realities of face-to-face confrontation? If this article racks up 50 comments, at least five of them will fall into this category.
At what point do you think the first commenter will tell another commenter to kill him/herself, or incorrectly explain what satire is? One would have to imagine that will be in the first 50–60 comments, too, right along with the first corrections of another user’s grammar/spelling, the first person who says they’re un-liking the page, and the first person who says “Who cares?” to the first person who says they’re un-liking the page.
And how many of the commenters will have read the article at all, much less to this point, even though there is an amazing picture of a chinchilla on a drone right here?
Sorry, you dicks — you’re never gonna see that sweet drone ‘chilla. Or this sentence. Or this sentence. But if you did read this far, I implore you to comment on Facebook something along the lines of:
“This article’s crazier than a drone chinchilla!”
It will only mean something to you and the small handful of other people who actually read the article. But that might feel nice.
Sure, some commenters will actually read the entire article and still say something hateful that in some way actually relates to what’s written here — for which I begrudgingly commend your tenacity as an internet asshole — but most will just prove the central thesis with their mindless screams into the nothingness of the World Wide Web. Not that it matters, because the irony will be completely lost on them, and no one will learn anything from this anyway.