5 Ways the Internet Is Like a Bad Spouse
Unlike many of the columnists here at Cracked, I've been married a long time. (I also have functional genitalia, but that's not relevant to this discussion.) And when you've been married, you learn the little difficulties of a shared daily existence. Certain traits start to emerge that make anyone a bad spouse or partner. And wouldn't you know it, all those traits are things the Internet is great at. Yep, the Internet is a lot like the last person in the world you'd ever want to marry. Here are five reasons the Internet would make a terrible spouse.
Five reasons in addition to the Internet (like most Cracked columnists) not having functional genitalia.
It Uses Your Honesty Against You
You're supposed to marry your best friend, your trusted confidant, the person you can tell anything. Of course, those traits don't apply to spouses that have super kickin' bods or lots of cash, but for the rest of us, that's the goal, and it's a really good idea. Even if you don't come easily to trust and aren't a particularly big sharer, odds are that most of us will start to divulge more and more about ourselves over time.
"Wait. You like it when chicks put what where?"
This is all good. It builds bonds and makes for a strong marriage. So basically the worst thing you could ever do as a husband or wife is use that shared information against your partner in a fight. Let's say your wife divulged her feelings of guilt about the time she lied to her dad at 18 and her father died before she ever cleared her conscience. Only a bastard would wait until he got into a fight with his wife and say something like "Oh, is this just another one of your lies, like the one you told your dad?!"
But the Internet LOVES to do that!
Anything you share with the Web will be used against you. So if Cracked's John Cheese writes intensely personal columns about his struggles overcoming addiction, then the Web's go-to insult for him is to call him a drunk (which is weird, because that non-functioning genitalia thing is such a gimme). I mention my Judaism in a handful of the hundreds of columns I've written for Cracked, and boom, it becomes a quick way to deliver anti-Semitic cheap shots. (In fairness to the haters, they're short on material because, as I mentioned, my junk is like totally functional.) DOB writes that he really likes his puppy, and whammo, suddenly millions of women go "awwww." OK, that last one was probably a bad example, but the point is, much like the last person you'd ever want to marry, everything you share with the Net will be weaponized and returned twofold.
It Judges You by Your Last Bad Act
In many wedding vows, there is some form of that classic language about staying married "for better or worse." You can view those words as a mere talismanic phrase meaning "You're stuck, mofo, deal with it," but I tend not to. I think of it more as "taking the good with the bad." I like to think that, in a good marriage, you build up credit. You've done a bunch of good deeds because you wanted to and they flowed naturally from you, and your spouse appreciates them and loves you for it. Those deeds are part of who you are and why they love you. But in time, you will fuck up, you will make mistakes, you will do bad things. And when that happens, those mistakes will not wipe the ledger clean of your goodness. You will not be judged only by your most recent mistake. You will not suddenly become some whole other person in the eyes of your partner who has forgotten everything that has come before.
Unless you don't have that kind of marriage. Then look out. Then it really doesn't matter who you are or what you've done because you're just the person who has pissed off your partner right now, and nothing that came before counts for shit.
Uh, yeah, nice try.
And That's EXACTLY What the Internet Is
Let's use Cracked as an example, since I assume we're all familiar with it and because I get a bonus every time I'm self-referential in an article. Some of the angriest, hatiest bastards in the comments are also some of Cracked's most dedicated readers. Some of them. Some are just garbage. But let's talk about those dedicated people. They read this site every day. They're given three to five pieces of new content every single day including weekends and they generally like what they're getting because these folks keep coming back. So they see a piece they hate. Let's pretend they're right. Let's pretend it's awful and it's not their own subjective stupidity. Let's assume the piece just objectively sucks. Maybe Bucholz remembered he was Canadian and decided to stop trying so hard. Perhaps Soren made the mistake of thinking readers would appreciate a gentle form of satire. Or maybe I wrote it. Whatever. Point is, holy shit, how mad at Cracked can you be? You're here every day, you love us, you see something you don't like? Good. Don't like it. You can even say you don't like it, if you have a reason beyond this article is "retarted" or "full of gay," but have some perspective. Don't shit on the whole site and speak in extremes. Well, much like a bad husband or wife, the Internet hates perspective and loves the drama of the extreme.
It's Bored of You
You marry someone because you like things about them. Maybe it's shallow, like you're totally into blondes with large breasts. Or maybe it's more psychological, like loving a man with paternalistic qualities and strong opinions about how you should live your life. Here's the interesting thing about people: They get tired of the things they like. That frat boy husband whose only goal in life was to marry a big, bouncy, all-American blonde is not likely to be caught cheating with another big, bouncy, all-American blonde. He's probably jumping on some svelte, dark-haired Ukrainian or something. And that woman who enjoyed a man with strong opinions about how she should live her life is almost definitely going to resent feeling controlled by a douchebag. It's very dangerous to marry someone who fills a desperate, almost fetishistic need because needs change and then you hate them. Yes, in this entry, the bad spouse is you. You're the one hating them for being exactly what you wanted on your wedding day.
"I love you. Never change. Unless I decide someday I want you to, then please change fast."
And Being Fickle Is the Internet's Talent
I suppose I could demonstrate this by pointing to websites that do well until they don't. All those sites that have overstayed their welcome and used up their shelf life. Nothing changed. They offered the same content, but the people went away, probably saying something shitty before they left.
"Uh, yeah, we get it, CNN.com -- you're 'newsy'!"
But just think about memes. We consume them, want them desperately, and get infatuated, and six months later, we want to murder anyone with the audacity to mention their existence. If someone rickrolled you right now, you'd probably never speak to them again.
It Fears Your Growth and Change
Here's the kicker about how hard it is to be married. Y'know how we all suck and get tired of the same old thing -- especially when we were really desperate to have that thing? Well, we also hate change. Isn't that awesome? Your wife has a new hairstyle? A new friend? A new job? What's this about? How will this affect your life together? Why the new hairstyle? Is she banging the new friend at the new job? Your man's been working out? Why's that? Is it that new divorcee across the street you saw him making winky faces at while taking out the trash? Why is he losing that gut and dying his pubes! Yep, humans are hard to please.
Just like the Internet Cannot Be Satisfied
Think about the reaction every single time Facebook or Google or any site changes its appearance. Everyone dies.
Remember how upset everyone was when Facebook started selling your DNA to the highest bidder? Now everyone loves that function!
But seriously, it doesn't matter if the change is intuitive or helpful or not. There will always be a large segment of the Internet that will freak out simply because something's different, just like that jealous person going through wallets and purses because their spouse changed hairstyles.
It Oversimplifies Your Existence
Trust me. If your husband or wife starts any sentence with "That's so you. You always _____," the blank will not be "fill me with love and make me want to give you orgasms all day." It's the start of something bad. Some terrible trait of yours is about to be put on display. Even worse, your entire existence is about to be defined by that trait. You are no longer that wonderful collection of idiosyncratic qualities all coming together to make you the wonderful snowflake you are. Now, you are just the dick who forgot that important date again. You are just that bitch who never had faith in her man.
For the sole purpose of upsetting people who inexplicably like Ann Coulter, Ann Coulter will be portraying that bitch in this entry.
And the Internet LOVES to Keep You Simple
Let's return to this very site and its columnists as an example. Judging by some readers, you might believe I ONLY write about being Jewish, Cheese only talks about alcohol, DOB's stuff is only about being socially awkward, and ATB only writes about music. I've seen all those comments and criticisms, and they're all just wrong.
Comments have labeled me as both an insufferably arrogant narcissist and an insecure, socially awkward mess. They're both right. They're both wrong. I'm both. I'm neither. And I could explain how my colleagues are not easily defined as well, but I won't, because they're not as interesting to me as I am. (Shut up.)
Some might think the point of this entry is to beat up on anyone who has bitched about me or other Cracked writers. It's not. What I'm really getting at is a problem far more important than misguided abuse: It's unfulfilling love. No person can be defined as only one thing. And anyone who sees you as only one thing can't really love you.
If you love me because I'm always the sexy, Jewish, witty one who appeals to your daddy issues or if you love Soren for always being the somewhat less sexy all-American one who spins lovely satire, then you're not seeing us. For good or bad, oversimplifying someone to the extremes cheapens your love. But the Internet craves niches and labels, and it will never stop trying to come up with one-sentence taglines to itemize its content. That means most of its attacks will fail, just as its embrace will also be unfulfilling, leaving you wondering if the Net even knows what's in its arms.
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