The Internet

“The image of the internet as “fun,” “young,” “cool,” “sarcastic,” “irreverent,” etc., is a character written by old media and performed by the youth. Old media demands fetishization of the internet, which young artists are willing to manufacture. Ironically reified images of the Internet are imbued with an ironic currency which mimics old media currency. This virtual currency is acknowledged and promoted by old media because it a) refers to the real currency old media possesses, b) instantly appears in old media’s virtual coffers, c) translates into real currency, d) to the unsophisticated observer it appears to be real currency, e) attributes normativity to old media and de-emphasizes its own virtual nature. Examples: a Tumblr image with 103 notes, with the words “Facebook,” “WikiLeaks,” “Generation Y,” and “Justin Bieber” in Comic Sans in pink and blue with drop shadow and lens flare; a Dr. Phil show devoted to “the dangers of the internet;” a news article referring to Anonymous as a “group;” the presentation of Google Image Search, Yahoo! Answers, and 4chan as “readymades” or “found art.”

— Blaise Larmee.