Pandemic II: No More HN
Tagged: pandemic rants
I don't know if the pandemic has pushed people to be more, let's say, "energetic" in Hacker News comments or if I'm just tired. Maybe it's a mixture of both.
Over the past few days, I've been irked more and more by high modernists proposing stricter and more authoritarian measures against the pandemic like:
- lock everyone at home and imprison those that walk outside!
- enable absolute surveillance of citizens to slow down the spread!
- this is all capitalism's fault! If only we had a philosopher king to take care of everything...
I'm fine with a discussion on these topics, but these comments read like angry people shouting into the void. In some ways, this reminds me of 4chan trolls, except, I'm afraid, these folks are genuinely angry and not looking for lulz.
What finally broke the camel's back was a thread on Ask HN about books that influenced your life. There were many great recommendations and I was glad to see somewhat of a cohesive subculture. Users recommended Dune or Snowcrash or The Count of Monte Cristo or The Master and Margarita. Then it happened. The camel. The back. A loud crack.
A user recommended the works of Kurt Vonnegut, who's warm, simple style and mind-expanding stories I like very much. You'll find it hard to find other authors whose writing radiates so much hope and compassion that it pushes back the darkness of nihilism and cynicism that's so popular. Here is one of his statements that I carry around in my head when the going gets tough:
“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies - "God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
And underneath this recommendation from a fellow fan, I read the following comment:
I read Galapagos and it was freaking awful. One of the worst books I've ever read.
What does this add to the dialogue? How does it enrich the life of other humans browsing HN? In what way does it deepen the understanding of Vonnegut or his writing? Answers: nothing, it doesn't, and none.
It's nothing but a loud fart in a crowded room. A clear signal that it's time to leave that room.