Proud citizen

The WordPress blogosphere has been described as a country with a population somewhere between that of France and Great Britain. This guy here, also known as thepublicbloggerhas a lot to say about it.

I quite liked the idea.

18,000 citizens, is … if not the capital, then at least a respectable little city therein. And it’s assembled according to an idea, one I find mildly appealing.

Beats cities in the offline world, which are built wherever there happened to be water a couple of hundred years ago, or a nice big rock to hide on top of so people couldn’t stick swords in you. We’ve moved past that.

Haven’t we? Little bit?

Well, on the Internet we have, at least.

It’s still an environment accorded mostly to the fortunate first-worlders, and unified largely by that cheap bastard whore of the language empire, English. But the thing about the first world is, it’s a good thing and, ideally, we should be extending it to occupy and ultimately convert the others. That’s the essence of post-scarcity.

Oh no, we’re not there yet, and it’s a starry-eyed pipe dream to think we can get there within our lifetimes – certainly not the way we’re going, anyway. Something has to give. And give, and give, and give.

And the thing about cheap bastard whores is, everyone sneers at them but they get laid.

We’re a new kind of city, in a new kind of nation. Limited only by the baggage we bring with us from the nations our bodies live in, the baggage bequeathed to us by previous generations, that had no way to even conceive of such a nation. Most of the time that baggage has no purpose and just gets in the way here, but that’s alright. While quaint ideas like ‘city’ and ‘nation’ fall into the baggage-trap, for example, we have a chance to do it differently. Do it right. The baggage makes the place look homely, and when we fight – and oh, we fight; we’re human beings, damnit – it’s with words and pictures and videos and jokes.

It’s a battle of wits, and if that’s not a step forward from the sort with swords – let alone the sort with depleted uranium bullets – then I don’t know what is.

And here we are. And here I am. Hatboy of Hatboy’s Hatstand. Signing myself onto the official census of The Neighbourhood, thriving city-state on the modern English coast of the great nation of Fuckwitaly.

Maybe master census keeper, This guy, can get us birth certificates. I’ll happily collaborate on an anthem.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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3 Responses to Proud citizen

  1. dreameling says:

    While I very much like the idea of the Internet as a nation of communities, and while fighting with words is certainly an improvement over fighting with swords (although, to be honest, if people could fight with swords on the Internet, some probably would), there is one thing I do not like about online communities: faceless anonymity. That’s a license to be a dick if ever there was one, and pretty much everyone can be a dick (some more effortlessly than others). It’s a lot easier to be a hater and a flamer when there are no face-to-face repercussions involved and you lack a tangible sense of the person at the other end.

    If the Internet (let’s just pretend it’s a single entity) could somehow overcome the potential pitfalls of empowered anonymity in a way that also respected people’s right to privacy as well as human rights in general…

    PS. English is the de facto lingua franca of our modern globalized world and people should just get onboard, especially the French and the Germans here in Europe. Today, the language is pretty much owned by anyone who uses it, so we don’t have to keep dragging the imperialist baggage around anymore. Plus, you can and should still learn other languages, the more the better.

  2. stchucky says:


    Whether or not people *would* fight physically if they *could* (of course they would, I’m not claiming that these are different people to the ones in the offline world, after all) isn’t much of an objection, because they *can’t* so they *don’t*.

    And the same language-based reality that makes people safe to be anonymous pricks (even the great nation of WordPress isn’t immune from this, which is why I dubbed it Fuckwitaly) also makes said prickness ultimately harmless. They’re free to be pricks, we’re free to mock or ignore or correct them, and gradually the wrongheadedness will be fixed. It’s a mistake to expect it to happen overnight – and even to think it’s not going to get worse before it gets better. As social media gets more prevalent and kids become more savvy, I think we’ve only seen the tip of the cyber-bullying iceberg. Not to mention the flash-mob iceberg, the over-informed-but-still-dumb electorate iceberg, the crowdsourcing iceberg and the court of popular opinion iceberg. Our metaphorical Titanic is in a lot of trouble and would probably be better off becoming an iceberg. The time of metaphorical cruise ships is over.

    And the less said about privacy, the better.

    Largely, though, I think empowered anonymity is a danger only to those too feeble to combat it. When the question is huge numbers of /b/tards wrecking a website, that’s one problem. When it’s just an opinion-holding netizen being a five-elephant doucheparade, however, evolution demands that we get tough or go home.

  3. Pingback: Welcome to the Neighbourhood | Hatboy's Hatstand

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