I Hate the Internet

I Hate the Internet

Book - 2016
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A fictional picture of 21st century life with the Internet and its consequences on society, set in the San Francisco of 2013.
Publisher: Los Angeles CA : We Heard You Like Books, a division of U2603 LLC, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780996421805
0996421807
Characteristics: 280 pages ; 23 cm

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otterno11
Jan 31, 2018

A razor sharp satire of the current hour, Jarett Kobek’s searing, hilarious screed against the hypocrisy of the tech boom is a refreshing, if bleak, exploration of exactly what it means to live under the shadow of the internet. It rings so true, and yet is so funny, going off on so many interesting, disturbing tangents, it feels like it could have sprung only from the internet itself. “I hate the internet” might just be the most illuminating book I’ve read on the corrupt, reactionary heart the fuels the startup bro culture of Silicon Valley, weaned on Ayn Rand and the stolen labor of the masses. I read this weeks ago, before the horror Election Day, but I should have known what was looming after taking in Kobek’s deep understanding of how the internet has failed us, as Facebook still does not distinguish between fake and real news and the alt right continues to infect the online world.

Kobek writes in a deadpan, technical style explaining the each bizarre conceit of contemporary society as though it were the backwards world of a quaint, irrational culture, I feel that Kobek has created a novel that could be used as a time capsule to capture what things were like in this era. Bracketed by a loose plot involving a pretentious comic book artist with a silly, affected accent and the unfortunate position of being a woman who publicly shares her opinion in a society that hates women, Kobek takes on a variety of targets with a verve and cheek that never takes itself too seriously. In particular through a minor character, the autobiographical Turkish-American writer who finds himself ranting to the audience a lot, Kobek captures that overwhelming excess of information to be taken with a grain of salt, weird factoids, and the private information of everyone you know.

Here I am, a guy who, like the creators of the internet, lacks any eumelanin in the basale stratum of epidermis, providing unpaid content to boost the revenue of a social media site owned by “an unprofitable website dedicated to the destruction of the publishing industry,” and frequented both by fans of “good novels,” crappy science fiction, and self-described “bad novels” like this one. Going off on tangents, so many asides, yet stringing each of these disparate parts into a web of absurd truth, it feels like Kobek takes the internet to task for all the right reasons. Like the internet itself, Kobek pastes together a meandering but concise screed against the idea that the internet can change, in any way, the sexist, racist, homophobic, capitalist culture that prioritizes money, that pernicious fiction, above all else. Secretly, or not so secretly, all of this unprecedented access to information, connection, culture, exists as nothing else has to advertise to us and to harvest our productivity for profit.

Most of all, Kobek comes off not as curmudgeonly tech hating Luddite raging against “kids these days,” but as someone weaned and surrounded by the rarefied world of the information age which has, for better or worse, taken the reigns of our culture, though writing with a sharp, biting, and justified anger. Whether through BuzzFeed listicles, the hideous bloviating hatred of Reddit, or the mindless navel gazing of Facebook he understands the appeal and the costs of social media. There’s a reason, of course, the likes of Twitter or Reddit cannot, and in fact, have no desire to combat the festering pits of hatred that metastasize inside them- all content, every inflammatory flame war, death threat, hashtag generates money. There’s no incentive to ban the white supremacists, the MRAs, the deplorables any more than in promoting healthier alternatives- attention creates profit, and everyone is just feeding the machine. In the end, I hate the internet, in spite of its biting cynicism, is a refreshing and hilarious takedown of tech that we were sorely lacking. Now, more than ever, the irreverent stance taken by Kobek in this novel may be just what we need to survive.

d
dprodrig
Aug 03, 2016

The satire in this book is so strong and the meandering short snippets meant that I could only digest it in small doses. BUT what commentary. Every bit of it, awesome. My favourite part? When the google bus people actually bring a character's delusions to life. That, and the idea that all social media company execs are modern day gods and we should exemplify them as the Greeks did with their own mythology. The commentary like that the West thinks we brought spring to Northern Africa in Arab spring, people of colour, women's rights, using machine built by slaves to promote free speech. All of it truth, some of it hurtful truth, and sometimes hilariously so.

PimaLib_JB Apr 22, 2016

If you enjoy literary fiction with a strong satirical edge, give this a try! Its tongue-in-cheek "explanations" of everything from Buzzfeed to identity politics are often hilarious, and the comics-within-a-book are really interesting.

LPL_DirectorBrad Apr 05, 2016

Fantastic novel-length rant on everything that is destroying decency in our world. Hilarious and anger-producing at the same time.

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