I Like __ A Lot
Perchance of a lifetime
I want to see this image as a sad reminder of our past, of how divided we are — but, at the gross risk of being insensitive, I see the humor. The humor is not aimed at Jews, Nazis, or the Holocaust, but at the contemporary absurdity of Chatroulette, which has grown more into a role-playing forum than an actual place for strangers to meet, the latter perhaps being most absurd.
Of the many “best of” or “top” Chatroulette screenshots securing their meta-web presences, my favorite is this WWW take on WWII. Here, “Israelite” and “Nazi” (I use quotes because I wonder how much they themselves believe their roles) seem both happily complicit in self-consciously acting out the obvious narrative of their political history, giving a thumbs-up either in solidarity with their respective alliances, or, with an irony only possible in a virtual world, to each other.
The Jew even ducks away from camera, either facetiously, or more solemnly, with a visceral intuition which brings to mind the true horror of hate. Anybody with a flag on their wall is asking to get into a conversation (just like any male in college with an acoustic guitar in his room secretly wants a record deal or to get laid). The Nazi (or, skinhead) has a wonderful smile, which is very out of character, key word being “character,” as that is all we are, and can be, online. If “all the world’s a stage,” then the internet is where we rehearse our lines, sharpening our tongues for a chance at real life.
These bros (literally) take their roles a little further, abandoning any narrative which may be construed as “life like,”optimistically braving the statistical waters for the grand pairing. The gratification comes not from the Super Mario Bros. motif, but from the lack of probability that these two would ever meet. It’s as if they are testing the chance. When your partner appears on screen and there is any mutual relation, however small, there is a moment of epiphany — of a connectedness we all seem so desperate for. Short of wanking off or having tits, I’ve failed miserably at Chatroulette; people hit “next” instantly upon seeing my face and I’m left with that ever humiliating line “>Your partner disconnected.”
One can argue that this twin kinship was staged, or at least that one of the girls began imitating the other, though I doubt it. The younger one below seems to be gazing into a version of herself years later, imprisoned by her countenance as we all are. Fate is too big to chew here, but I will say the slightly sullen, bored look on both their faces is not a stretch. The internet, as much as it is built on novelty and anomaly, as about boredom (its precursor television was about advertising — shows which merely acted as buffers between commercial breaks). Chatroulette is what it is because people, put simply, are not doing other things. (The same can be said for htmlgiant, or any blog, so thank you for being here.)
Hate killed 6 million people, and the world is still broken. Maybe the opposable “thumbs-up” above is proof that we have evolved, but probably not. I guess I do see that image above as a sad reminder of our past, for which we are all responsible, because hate only changes borders, undying. Genocide is not a threat, it’s a plan.
In the mean time, let’s waste some time. For every girl in a her bedroom sometime after dinner, a halo of 70 watt light behind her head, band posters on the wall, LCD incurred corrective optometry, perhaps homework being ignored, and a head so lazy only a cradled hand can keep it off the table, I say to you: Hello lovely, how is it possible we never met?