Ironic America

Does a teenager raised on virtual violence become a man unable to understand the incitement-act-effect process?

The most disturbing thing, among many disturbing things, revealed in Louis Theroux’s new documentary Forbidden America is the twisted logic behind the protagonists philosophy.

I don’t mean their views, which I trust, since you’re an attentive reader of this blog, you already know I don’t share. I’m talking about the sight of men in their twenties screaming abuse like frustrated thirteen-year-olds. What might be irritating but almost understandable behaviour in a pre-pubescent boy, erupting as it does from confusion, heightened testosterone and frustration that the world doesn’t seem to care about his ego, is cause for concern in a grown man.

Is this what happens when young men are isolated, communicating only through violent online games, the most extreme behaviour rewarded? In one scene a man threatens to rape a particular young woman, describing in detail what he’s going to do to her, and then laughs. The girl herself then says that she understands he’s being ironic, but that she still felt threatened.

I’m still trying to come to terms with that.

These men – and they are almost exclusively men – excuse their outbursts by saying they’re ironic; the word keeps cropping up. They espouse extremely right wing views but then say they’re not part of the right wing; they’re being ironic.

Presumably the fact that they all make their living from streaming their childish nonsense, and are therefore constantly craving viewers, is not an insignificant factor.

The Internet: the greatest tool for communication in the history of humanity. Look upon ye works and despair.

Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you some lies


%d bloggers like this: