‘GameStop Nihilism’

Jim Ray:

There is, suffice to say, a lot to unpack here. Once again, the real and virtual worlds are blurred beyond recognition. “Jokerfied”, pandemic-bored redditors moving markets for the lulz, or because they hate bankers and other “globalists”, possibly making millions of dollars on a joke. GameStop’s stock halted several times over the past few days given its “bitcoin-like volatility”. On the one hand, that’s mildly horrifying, on the other, it’s a more democratic, for lack of a better word, form of what the hated bankers do to the world every single day.

And there’s a through line that runs from r/wallstreetbets to r/thedonald to Gamergate and 4chan. There’s a shared aesthetic happening here but also a common worldview, the nihilism that Levine talks about that comes from some combination of boredom, lack of purpose (shared or individual), and a disintermediated, hyperconnected network that brings together enough individual sociopaths to create something that resembles a community.

I don’t see how anyone could prove it, or even try to prove it, but my gut feeling is that the timing of this WallStreetBets/GameStop escapade coming on the heels of the dissipation of QAnon/StopTheSteal collective madness is not coincidental. There’s a certain Fight Club-esque feel to it, too: just wanting to fuck with The Man. And, also, gambling is maddeningly good fun when it works in your favor.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021