I keep saying I need to spend less time on the internet, or at least on tumblr, or at least reconfigure tumblr somehow so it makes me feel bad less often. I never end up doing it, though. I should work on that.
Internet culture and “tumblr culture” in particular are just not a very good match for my issues, I think. I worry about the possible consequences of actions and often end up talking myself into inaction because of unrealistic worries. One of the most basic genres of online content is “look at this person who did an incorrect thing (let’s laugh at them / be angry at them / etc.)” Of course this only reinforces my tendency towards inaction — if I ever do anything I’m risking being one of those people. (You almost never see people shamed for inappropriate inaction or silence.)
And tumblr valorizes anger and has pretty specific (often implicit) standards for how to “properly” express things like emotions. I worry a lot about how if I try to express my emotions I won’t do it in the “right” way and people will find it offputting, incomprehensible, etc. In particular I really clearly do not feel like I have the right to express anger (some recent experiences have made this obvious to me). So the valorizing of anger on tumblr really messes with my mind because it feels like “everyone else should do this thing, but you shouldn’t do it (because you are different, not human, a robot, etc.)”
And tumblr views people as suspect if they seem too calm or like they’re trying to be too “objective.” But I find these people comforting because at least I can explain myself to them, at least they’ll try to understand me for the sake of objectivity even if I don’t know how to package my emotions in the culturally “correct” way. In that online argument a week ago someone said “my only allegiance is to the truth” and the person he was arguing with relentlessly mocked him for it (and for being “too literal,” etc.) and even started using “my only allegiance is to the truth” as a sarcastic tumblr tag. Because, I dunno, “the truth” is always-already political blah blah blah yes I went to college too. But to be honest, statements like “my only allegiance is to the truth” make me feel comfortable with people because it means they’ll try to understand me for the sake of the truth even if they find me offputting or strange, even if I “scan wrong.”
Basically the internet feels like it is full of people telling me I should be even more irrationally worried than I am, and also that the kinds of people who make me feel comfortable are suspect and probably evil. This is not good. I need a new hobby (that I can actually stick to).
And they’re off! A beautiful early-morning launch carrying Expedition 41 to the International Space Station. They should be in orbit in just a few minutes.
Charming visualization from this altogether delightful children’s book about space – an imaginative and illuminating primer on the cosmos to spark awe in the souls of budding Sagans.
Perhaps one day, we will journey to distant po-tay-toes?