Jay Hoffmann

Books, movies, and code

The internet didn’t kill counterculture—you just won’t find it on Instagram | Document

And maybe here, we do have an aesthetic counter to the wallflower non-style of Big Tech: a raging messy semiotic meltdown of radicalizing (if absurdist) meme culture where the only ideological no-go zone is the liberal center.

Caroline Busta

A really fascinating look at the counterculture of now and the future, whereby the youth (those pesky Gen Zers) have realized that the hegemonic forces of dominant culture are a splintered and fractured and contradictory mix of tech and culture from all sides, as opposed to the kind of Nixon era monolithic forth of the hegemony of our parents. And so, this group engages in an imagined alternate universe (climate change collapse, Bitcoin) where our digital infrastructure enters its heat death, and is replaced by something different. All of this, while engaging with one another on the very platforms that they hope to see collapse.

But it does help to explain some of the newer platforms coming to the surface, Substack, Discord and the link. They are, by design, anonymous, smaller, randomized, and restricted by design. There are many old timers like myself that are looking to the past, a more nostalgic and personal web. But the future of the web may look something that intentionally obfuscates as a way of makeshift gate keeping. In other words, platforms like Substack and Discord add friction to engaging with them, be it through actual monetization or decentralization, and this keeps people out. Busta calls this the “dark forest” of the web and it is the only way that the counter culture is able to fully resist the attention economy.