Archive for the ‘blog comments’ category

A new theory about internet comments

April 8, 2013

I always used to think that time-travel was impossible. Because if it ever became possible, surely people from the time when it was invented would travel back to our time, and… yada yada yada. (As a teenager I thought I was the first person to work that one out.)

But now I wonder… are those visitors from the future already here?

Look for an internet forum where there’s a thread about money-saving, ideally about families and their money woes. Or find  a newspaper article about child poverty and read the comments. How long until you get to the first comment like this?

“If you can’t afford kids, don’t have them.”

This is advice being given to, or about, people who already have kids. They’re not saying “Get rid of them.” They’re saying “Don’t have them,” as if that was still an option. Think about it. The only reason you’d make such an assumption would be if you were used to being able to go back in time and reverse seemingly irreversible decisions.

OK, so right now, in our culture, the whole idea of “affording” is actually bound up with possibilities and choices and priorities and privilege and trade-offs and the social contract, which means it’s not a simple monetary calculation. But obviously in the future they’ve worked out a really simple way of calculating this stuff, which is great news because then I’ll know if I can afford to have takeaway for dinner every night.

Sometimes the advice is expressed in an even more telling way:

“If you cant afford kids dont have them.”

This tells us that, as predicted by many linguists, the use of apostrophes to denote a missing letter will cease to be common practice in the future.

What else do we know about these wise time-travellers? Well, I’m pretty sure a lot of them are Adele fans. After she announced that she was seven months pregnant, they crowded the Daily Mail comments section to tell her that she should reconsider her choice of boyfriend and not settle down too soon. I’m glad the people of the future are so caring.

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Typo of the week

March 8, 2007

An accidentally insightful typo from someone called “kate” commenting on I Blame The Patriarchy:

“Wasn’t Lacan a Freud worshipper? Isn’t psychoanalysis considered a little old hate these days? Just askin’.”