The Last Jedi is a weird, bad movie that might kill an entire franchise and even seriously wound Disney at the height of its power, but weirder still is how the Internet discourse around it has been managed in the last month.
TLJ itself is weird enough that I’ve coined the word ‘flopbuster’ to describe its counter-intuitive, non-Newtonian, non-Euclidean properties. The weirdness around it is even more bizarre. To describe that, I’ve coined another neologism: ‘freeze war‘.
What’s a freeze war? It’s what you get when a sufficiently big Internet comment-section flame war hits a sufficiently widely deployed based of automated algorithmic online fire-suppression systems – and when multibillion-dollar megacorporations, and nation-state level political movements, also get involved on each side. Entire comment systems just get frozen. Comments deemed insufficiently ‘civil’ are just deleted. Like a flame war, this phenomenon feeds on itself and expands. But the war is fought in silence, by silence, as silence.
And the silence is deafening.
It’s eerie as heck and it’s maybe the future of the Internet and of Western culture itself.