A lot of digital ink has been spilled on this problem of Millennials and their goddamn phones. These psychopaths are checking their email on dates. They are tweeting their wedding vows. They are instagraming themselves at funerals! When will the horror end? When will we return to the good old days of payphones and soda shops and open racism? Who will be man enough to save us from the internet?
Fortunately, we have a new, really cool socialist Pope who hates technology. Let’s set aside for a moment the fact that it is technology that generally keeps very old people alive, like popes for example, like the last Cool Pope for example (JP, you may recall, the pope right before Possibly-Gay Nazi Pope), who was I think 3,000 years old when he finally departed. Let’s set aside for a moment the fact that the internet has utterly liberated knowledge and given the world’s information to every person alive with access to a computer, and that I would not even know that Cool Pope didn’t like technology, for example, were it not for the internet. Let’s set aside for a moment the fact that computers are sometimes simply fun to screw around with, and that fun is not a sin. And let’s get into Cool Pope’s real beef with bytes.
“Our life is made up of time, and time is a gift from God, so it is important that it be used in good and fruitful actions,” Cool Pope recently said in Germany while awkwardly holding hands with a bunch of German teenagers. He went on to cite “chatting on the internet or with smartphones” as the Devil’s candy, and urged restraint in the use of technology. This was all a gift from God as well, he assured us, not the engineers and designers who literally built this shit, but, still, using it all the time is really bad! He didn’t come right out and say it, but the subtext was very Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which Buffy’s friend Willow was a witch, and that was really cool and good for Buffy until Willow started using ‘too much magic,’ turned into the Dark Phoenix, and flayed a man alive. Dude was evil, but still. Wtf?
Of course, the predominant sentiment of Cool Pope was simply, roughly, get outside and play with your friends, kids. Don’t be obsessed with “a network of wires,” but focus rather on a network “of people.”
Cute. But what is it that I’m doing on the internet if not sharing information with, communicating with, learning from, a “network of people”? Is the internet alive, now? Did it become a sentient robot monster while I was busy swiping left on Tinder?
Because I have been under the impression for years that the internet was not dehumanizing, but hyper-humanizing. I’m in close contact, today, with every person I’ve ever met. I have internet friends from states and nations I’ve never visited. I’ve learned about Gaza from people on the ground, and about our space station from Chris Hadfield as he watched Earth and experienced the emotions of the black, high above our Planet Earth, in real time. If there is any problem with the internet, it is certainly not that it divides humans from humans. It has bound us inextricably to one another, which a socialist should love. As a grumpy, hardcore individualist, on the other hand, our culture of ‘likes’ wigs me out. Shares and retweets and upvotes — how many will be enough? When will we be satisfied that we are loved? This much caring centered on what other people think is unnerving, and I’m sure we’re losing at least a little something in ourselves because of it.
But the benefits of information technology are simply, overwhelmingly, and quite obviously, tremendous. We don’t need to be using it less. Go ahead and use it more. Read, study, share. Cool Pope may have 4 million followers on Twitter, but he should learn a thing or two about the internet before he fronts like he’s an authority on it, or anything, for that matter, beyond the teachings of Jesus Christ. If he wasn’t so bored with his iPhone, I’d direct him to Wikipedia where we all could drop some knowledge on him. But you can’t listen while you’re talking.
Alas, old people.