This is a timely find:
The Internet enabled me to become a parody of the college-aged white male. I worshiped Ron Paul, worried endlessly about alternative currencies and religiously watched Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson YouTube videos. Even worse, I adopted the pernicious cultural opinions of white dude-bros. Despite what women said, they had it easier than men. “I have a penis, blame me for everything. I have tits, give me free stuff,” as the meme goes. All I needed to become the ultimate cishet, white dude-bro was a fedora on my head and Cheeto dust on my fingertips.
My libertarian ethos merged with my niche gaming forum persona at this point. On my gaming forum troll account, I posted increasingly paranoid and erratic threads about guns, bitcoins, silver and the impending economic collapse. They banned me. Fortunately, I achieved enough notoriety for a “famous” poster to invite me to a different forum — a digital Valhalla where all the people banned from that gaming forum got to live and troll once more. This happened a few weeks before my banishment.
I logged into this forum. “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” fan art, everywhere, posted by the most hardcore bronies.
I insulted them for being “pony-fuckers.” That effort failed to rile them up. I posted an “I watch for the plot” image macro — a meme implying men watch the show solely to fantasize about fucking cartoon ponies. The forum moderator – a devout priest of the MLP fandom – insisted I watch the show. Like a guy in your MFA, he said I didn’t posses the intellect to understand the show’s emotional significance and societal critiques. “Why don’t you actually try watching the show before you criticize it?”
So I did. And it wasn’t that great…
“My Little Pony” is not “Adventure Time.” The latter is a show with intense mythology and heart-wrenching character development written for all ages and adored by all ages. “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” however, is a show written for young girls that older men appropriated and fetishized.
My descent to Equestria was a wake-up call. These were the kinds of places I was hanging out in. This was the kind of person I was becoming. I needed to get out.
Libertarianism and I parted ways around that time, too. The United States didn’t turn into Mad Max. Peter Schiff didn’t make all his clients rich. If libertarians could be wrong about that, what else could they be wrong about? It turns out, a lot.
When I graduated college, it felt like emerging from a hazy dream. How could I have believed all that? What was the point of the last decade or so of my Internet activity?
Maybe I was sad, emotionally vulnerable, and willing to believe society caused and propagated my problems – that everything else was fucked up and not me. I found meaning on the Internet along with the faintest embers of confidence.
“My troll threads have more replies than a thread by the lead developer,” I remember thinking. “Maybe I’m good at writing? Maybe I’m good at something?”