The internet, full of snark and hate

I would apologize for the ranting I’m about to do, but fuck it, it’s my blog anyhow.

Ever since I started SteamPunk Magazine two years ago, the internet has been full of sharks, hungry to tear apart every single word we wrote. Before we went to print, when steampunk magazine was a splash page on a domain asking for contributors, there were posts across the web about it. As a random example, “You say you don’t want pro-colonial fiction. LOL, how can you be steampunk without being pro-colonial?”

It was a bit better once the magazine came out. The number of haters increased, to be sure, but we finally had appreciators. Still, in the end, the internet hate is a large part of what drove me away from steampunk. There are people out there who are very, very bitter about the idea that steampunk could have political and social meaning. And those people are very vocal. “OMG, we just want fiction. Stop talking about politics.”

But the political crowd is no better. It might be worse. Since many anarchists defend shittalk as being “critical thinking”, they go about it as self-righteously as they go about everything else they do. I’m frustrated, honestly. I’m tempted to give up on the internet. Could you imagine it in person?

Could you imagine walking up to a table at a bookfair, picking up a book, reading the back, and then attacking the author to their face? What if that was the norm? (Granted, people have actually done this to us at bookfairs before, but it is certainly the exception).

So this week I’ve had steampunks yell at me for being political, anarchists yell at me for watering-down their politics, red anarchists critique me for being too anti-civilization, green anarchists yell at me for being pro-civilization. I’ve been chastised for my choice in publisher (since, despite employing less than 10 people and being entirely anarchist run, they aren’t enough of a small press).

Yeah, I know. We all know the world is ruthless, and you’ve got to have thick skin to keep it up doing anything public. I’m not going to stop doing what I’m going to do. It just wears on you, that’s all.

*addendum* The thing is, posting comments rather than communicating directly with someone is saying “I’m saying this and I want everyone to see it.” When you see someone with food in their beard, do you say “hey everyone! that man has food in their beard!” or do you tell them directly? (As a side note, no longer metaphorical, don’t tell me I have food in my beard till I’m done eating. Thanks.)

9 thoughts on “The internet, full of snark and hate”

  1. “So this week I’ve had steampunks yell at me for being political, anarchists yell at me for watering-down their politics, red anarchists critique me for being too anti-civilization, green anarchists yell at me for being pro-civilization.”

    When no one can successfully pigeon-hole you into their group, you KNOW you’re on to something original. Keep up the great work. Happy New Year.

  2. I’ve actually noticed a few of the people that have been yelling at you this week, as it happens. I stumbled onto it almost entirely randomly – isn’t it funny how the world works?

    Maybe this will make you feel better, or maybe it won’t, but I’ll tell you what it made me think. I mean, right after it made me think ‘What a bunch of assholes’.

    I figure that we all get a fair amount of stick for having opinions that a lot of people find uncomfortable, and a lot of the time I have to struggle not to take it personally. But when I saw all the shit that people were slinging in your general direction, I thought: ‘Wow, I guess it isn’t just me that gets people trying to rip them apart for standing up for what they believe in. And do you know what? If Magpie can tell them to go fuck themselves, well so can I.’

    Also relevant is something my old man used to tell me when I was a kid: Don’t let the bastards get you down.

  3. NFS, Allegra. After reading that you’d been seeing the lowering of the level of discourse as well, I had to look, and there it was, a poot of dogmatic jerkspew.
    DMB, seriously, you seem to have as much to say about inserting objects into various orifices as your garbled style of discourse does about your psychological landscape.
    Cut back on the meth… and the inhalants… and the head trauma… and all the Freudian telegraphy, okay? I think you are trying to communicate, but it just sounds like noise and thrashing.

  4. Hey there! I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been a big admirer of all of your projects that I’ve seen. I know you have lots more admirers because I meet them all over. I also know that those of us who admire your work and share your opinions get a lot of shit for it too. We know what it’s like to get shit for not being explicitly red or explicitly green. I think part of the problem with the internet is, when folks read something and really like it, they’re less likely to give feedback than someone who reads something and feels insulted/threatened by it because it contradicts their worldview, their identity, or what have you, and must immediately attack whatever it is before they can feel better… I suppose us supporters should speak up more often. I love steampunk magazine. I love your music. I’m glad I found this blog, because I’m excited to see more of what you’ve been up to. Please please please don’t give up, I think we’re onto something good, and I think there are more of us than the internet would lead you to believe…

    Much love from central California.

  5. On further reading of the really
    arrogant smooth-apes actively assailing the hypothesis that an anarchist/post-civ reality can be anything other than pastoral hunter-gatherers (eschewing even symbolic thought), one writer, using suspiciously symbolic language, opined that while they could nap flint into a point/blade, they couldn’t mine/smelt/smith ore into usable tools… and that proved that it was evil technology, forbidden to any actual AP adherent.

    Woody Allen’s old joke about “I don’t know how a toaster works, and neither does any of my friends” proving the existence of aliens aside, I’d venture that any tribe that knew enough to protect their resident flint napper/unholy-user-of-despicable-technology would see an increased average lifespan, and maybe even be able to mine/smelt ores and then turn them into tools, unlike most of the useless internet entities today. Go figger.

    Besides the big debate as to the rational limits of technology, industry, greed and civilization (and what to do when it falls apart), I call “BULLSHIT!” on that critic’s claim that they can even nap flint in any way, else they’d not be making that argument: they haven’t shown the fortitude of mind to master the art. [Prove me wrong, ‘comrade’ and win a prize: I’ve got the scars, baby, from trying to nap flint and it ain’t easy to do- I SUCK AT IT!

    So show me your hands, you feckless Eloi scum! We’re talking “apprenticeship required” for effective flint napping, here… and that stinks of “civilization”, don’t it? (“Well, how about a pointed stick, then?”). Anyone who has actually tried to nap flint (as opposed to these strutting-poser anarchist/primitivist/fuhquadists) knows that those in the past who did had useful skills, despite falling under the sway of that Demon of Technology. They could probably figure out from experience, trial and error, how to dig ores and smelt metals and forge tools as well, no aliens required.

    That’s a Good Thing. We’re here today to speculate about it and even argue with complete ‘tards on the internet using ‘symbolic language’, ‘tools’ and ‘technology’ (all at the same time) because of it.

    “Red”/”green”/”living in the latrine” types need to sort their issues out privately before going public with their own intellectual dishonesty before taking an offensive (“shred your face”, “up/out/from your a**”, etc) posture: once the nights get long or they have to deal with a new idea, they’ve shown themselves prone to cannibalism.

    Sorry, Neandertards, your rhetorical boat already left… then sank with all hands.
    Resquiat in pace, y’all! Thanks for playing, and mind if we use your stuff, now that you’ve died off?

    Dark Ages come and Dark Ages go, but in between you can have a hell of a good time if you aren’t to busy denouncing fellow travelers over minuscule dogmatic differences, yo? I’ll stick with Shermer (et al) and his take on the “Beautiful People Myth” (BPM), k thnx bai!

  6. I’m a fan of your blogs, a fan of steampunk magazine, and a fan of pretty much everthing you’ve done that I’ve seen or heard if thats any consolation.

    And so what if a bunch a fuck-asses disagree with your politics? Who cares if some group of knuckle dragging cromagnon fucks want more fiction and less politics? You helped start steampunk magazine to be an embodiment of what you felt steampunk was all about! They don’t like it?! Well fuck me! They can surf the web and find some lame little shit hole like 4-chan to dwell in. As for me? I’ll stay right here, thank you. I find your thoughts interesting, your fiction well written, and though I may not agree 100% with you on politics I still see you as a fellow anarchist and a comrade. We’ve a common goal on a large scale. And, as I’ve been known to say from time to time, “the details should be left to the individual.”

    Keep doing what you’re doing. Sever all the nay-sayers like a cancer. Just don’t stop what you’re doing.

  7. Magpie,

    This is the price for being a public person. Much of your rant feels like it comes from the same place of “not really understanding where other people are coming from” that you are ranting about in others.

    I think your projects are great, even though I don’t agree with every decision you make. I think that replacing the term shit-talk with criticism is dis-ingenious of you but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

    Your story about AK is a myth. But a pleasant one.

    All the ideological stuff… I agree with you 100%. People do get stuck in ruts and you appear to be trying to pull out of them.

    Kudos for that. Seriously.


  8. hey magpie, please don’t give up the internet: it is thanks to the internet that your version of SteamPunk is spreading all over my country and that the steampunk movement is appearing here, already in a politicized form. hadn’t it been for the internet, with its grassroots potentialities, we would have experienced the Steampunk only in its Hollywood-biased version.

  9. I get hit with this “art-not-politics” bullshit a lot. “Play your music, Mr. Artistic Musician, but don’t make us think too deeply about politics, cause it hurts our heads to think about what is really going on around us! Entertain us!” -type bullshit.

    Keep on keeping on. We’re in the struggle together.

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