A book review: “i hate the internet”

i hate the internet cover

I hate the internet too, sometimes. With all its intrusiveness, and filtered-ness, and make-everyone-disconnected-ness – my feelings toward the internet have long been conflicted. That’s why, when I saw the book “i hate the internet” in an airport bookshop I bought it. I thought we would be kindred spirits. I imagined myself reading the booking and nodding into it like: “Yaaaaassssss…soooo true.” Wrong. Instead, I found myself squinting in disbelief as I read through the most farfetched storyline I’ve ever come across in my life. I wish I could tell you that Jarett Kobek’s “I hate the internet” was the best read ever – but it wasn’t.

The story begins with Adeline (she’s kind of famous), who’s received a threatening message on Twitter. The threat: “Dear slut, I hope you are gang-raped by syphilis infected illegal aliens.”  Crazy, right?

The story then backs up and takes us through the events that led to this scandalous Twitter threat.

Jarett weaves in historical facts so outlandish you will think they are made up – but they’re not. I stopped at least eight times to Google various facts and sure enough, there it was. Truth and Consequences is a city in New Mexico and what’s his face really was a Google exec who had an affair with one of the company’s managers. The scandals of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious men and women support his notion that the internet and those who help propel its current state of upmost importance in our lives are the problem with society.

His main characters go on rants about why the internet sucks, and why the people who helped build it and those who help keep it going suck more.

While I relate to the premise of this piece, the storyline and characters are so bizarre they become a distraction away from the main point.

In short, here’s the rundown:

Plot?  There is none.

Humor? There is some.

Character development? For this to be a shorter book (a little over 200 pages) with many characters, Kobek did a great job developing his characters. Readers get to know them and their peculiarities.

Lessons?  This book will help you get a few extra questions correct on jeopardy.

Grit? Yes. Criticisms aside, the author offers social criticism with no filter.

While I didn’t enjoy “I hate the internet” from an entertainment standpoint, the book does make accurate observations about race, gender, feminism, and morality.

I walked away questioning and revising my own actions. When the time came for me to blast a celebrity for one ignorant action or another, I thought twice. Kobek makes you think twice about doing anything that will advance the pockets of already rich strangers as you gain nothing in return.

Before I blasted the rapper, the president-elect (he was just the president-elect when I first began drafting this post), the reality show star, etc. – I thought about the effect my typed words would have. I asked myself if I was OK being used as an advertising tool by posting this content. Ninety percent of the time I was not OK with that and either refrained from posting or revised my words accordingly.

So no, the book was not a thriller, but it did open and re-open my mind to a few social constructs. As President Barack Obama said: “Not everything’s supposed to be inspiring.” If some sliver of insight is gained, I’ll take it!


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