Confessions of a Shitposter, or A Trip into Dante’s Digital Inferno


I start­ed my lat­est for­ay into the dig­i­tal world as a hip­pie, filled with love and com­pas­sion. I saw the world through rose-colored glass­es, with no clouds in the sky. I thought I could rise above it all and just ex­ist in my own har­mo­nious way, ig­nor­ing the hate and the filth that clogs the internet.

It took two months for me to start post­ing clown porn at mi­nor celebrities.

I of­ten sat up late, won­der­ing what caused this. I couldn’t blame the drugs and al­co­hol, as I know my lim­its. I know how much I can take, and I know that I haven’t pressed that lim­it in a long time. I knew it’s not just go­ing with the flow around me, as I’ve long been a rock in the stream, let­ting it just flow around me.

Then I start­ed post­ing ac­tu­al hu­man ex­cre­ment at people.

It be­came ob­vi­ous I had a prob­lem. The hum­ble hip­pie had be­come a men­ace, hid­ing and stalk­ing the hap­less denizens of the dig­i­tal sphere, and a scum­bag par ex­cel­lence. It took many a long sleep­less night to fig­ure out the ul­ti­mate rea­son. When it fi­nal­ly hit me, it was through a chem­i­cal haze. It was so ob­vi­ous, I won­der why it wasn’t my first thought.

On the in­ter­net, no one both­ers to ask if they’re a com­plete and ut­ter id­iot. No one fil­ters them­selves. Instead of a nor­mal so­ci­ety, where peo­ple kind­ly tend to keep their id­io­cy be­hind closed doors, I was im­mersed in a world of pure, unadul­ter­at­ed inani­ty and pet­ty stupidity.

Look at your fa­vorite so­cial me­dia plat­forms. Twitter, Facebook, what­ev­er you have handy. Odds are, the peo­ple you’re in­ter­act­ing with have ac­tu­al­ly turned off the fil­ter in their brains that makes them go from a tol­er­a­ble mem­ber of so­ci­ety to the most amaz­ing ass­hole. I should know, I’ve post­ed pic­tures of ac­tu­al ass­holes at them, and the re­sem­blance is un­can­ny. I of­ten can’t tell which is the im­age of an ac­tu­al hu­man sphinc­ter, and which is my in­tend­ed re­cip­i­ent of the anus.

We all know the idea of go­ing na­tive. Spend enough time with any giv­en group and there’s a good chance you may take on lo­cal cus­toms and rit­u­al. I had im­mersed my­self into a world where in­sults were com­pli­ments, and every­thing is a prime tar­get for mock­ery. Really, it’s in­ter­est­ing. People are rather hor­ri­ble and won­drous beasts. Capable of the great­est com­pas­sion and the worst scorn and dis­dain. Add those ideas to a dig­i­tal world where hu­man­i­ty has ac­com­plished the clos­est thing to hu­man telepa­thy we may ever see. A stream of thought, un­fil­tered and mad­den­ing. The lit­er­al abyss Nietzsche spoke of. The mad­ness had in­fect­ed my very soul, twist­ing the peace I had fought for so long to attain.

Yet, odd­ly, I wasn’t will­ing to leave.

I’d seen the sick­ness in the dig­i­tal world. The fes­ter­ing can­cer that can only spread, and nev­er be con­tained or elim­i­nat­ed. I’ve seen so-called “pro­fes­sion­al” hack­ers and trolls, and af­ter a time, I found them want­i­ng. I watched count­less teenagers who thought the height of hu­mor and so­phis­ti­ca­tion is edit­ing their tar­gets (of­ten celebri­ties) into im­ages of the Twin Towers falling. And I re­mained un­moved, un­de­terred. I’ve come to view what I do as not only an ex­er­cise in dig­i­tal ag­gres­sion, but a way to see the depths hu­man­i­ty plunges to when left unchecked.

Then I de­bat­ed send­ing im­ages of dead ba­bies to Wil Wheaton.

This was the point where I found my­self at rock bot­tom, and scram­bling mad­ly for a jack­ham­mer. I can’t stand the idea of dead ba­bies, my­self. I find it to be the low­est point in hu­man moral­i­ty. Why do peo­ple want to see such things? Why was I will­ing to cross the thresh­old, and put things out there that I, my­self, found repugnant?

Yet, I want­ed to go fur­ther, press the lim­its in ways that oth­ers had longed to do. To es­chew my own hu­man­i­ty and moral­i­ty to make some­one else’s day that much worse. Or to just get blocked and have a good laugh at it. Why does this seem to be the height of hu­man pas­time? It makes no sense, but here I sit, prepar­ing fold­er upon fold­er of un­speak­able hor­rors to un­leash upon the dig­i­tal plane.

I had an en­tire fold­er full of pho­tos of the Jonestown Massacre. Let that sink in.

This dig­i­tal world is full of mag­ic, won­der, ex­cite­ment, and deep­est dark­est hor­ror. I walked in with my head held high, and with the sil­ly no­tion that it wouldn’t break me. It took days to break me, to make me one of them. To make me de­sire the idea of spend­ing nights throw­ing im­ages of the worst things I can find into people’s faces. People who may or may not de­serve it. People who may or may not like it.

And to this day, I am not sure why.

To be continued…

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I’m that crazy guy that writes things and hosts the Graded PointFive comics podcast.

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