CBR poster thespianphryne posted this piece from the New York Times Sunday Magazine today, and I was compelled to print it out for later digestion, something I almost never do. It's bloody fascinating though. The meat of it is about the rise and fall of conservative wonk-blog Little Green Footballs (a site to which I shall not link, now or ever), but it's really about that latter-day Lovecraftian horror we call "Internet culture." The context here is political, but I've seen these events take place just about everywhere you can name. Phrases like "cloud-sourced id" are particularly insightful. Perhaps most illuminating, in an "It's a cookbook!" way, is the realization that the binary polarization of American society has been going on for a lot longer than people think, and in a lot more than just politics. It's ground into the culture at this point, like a coffee stain.
It's also a microcosm of the kind of personality it takes to make an "Internet celebrity" (a true barometer of the zeitgeist's depravity if ever there was one), both in the person, the presentation, and the inevitable cult of personality. I've been to boards where this happens (yes, Jeff, including that one), and the feeding frenzy that can take place when someone steps outside the Magic Circle of Agreement and voices an honest opinion can be horrific. People will treat even their best friends online in a way they never would in real life.
Anyway, smashing good journalism. When the alien archaeologists study the ruins of our culture, they'll be able to sift through the copious amounts of advertising circulars and video-game-inspired porno, point to this, and say, "This is what fucked them. This right here."