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A Lighter Alter native for Exeter University | Issue 10 | Free

the internet edition


editor Ben Clarke deputy editor Charlotte Simpson creative director Hannah Peck photographer Thomas Hanks music editor Francis Kim copywriter Dylan Abbott marketing / publicity Rachel Alcock-Hodgson contributors Ed Scott / Jack Reid / Alexis Mastroyiannis / Harry Smithson / Callum McLean / Katherine Hay / Kathleen Sayers design Hannah Peck Thomas Hanks Jack Reid

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the internet edition

We would like to thank the generous Annual Fund scheme and its benefactors for making Exetera possible for yet another year. Thanks also to our advertisers and consistently brilliant contributors, without whom we would, quite literally, not exist.


note from the editor

It’s safe to say that we are the Internet generation. On average, we spend eight hours and 41 minutes a day on media devices. That’s more time than we spend asleep. The Internet is largely responsible for our screen obsession. But I think it’s too easy to posit a clichéd binary that pits a pure, bountiful conception of nature against a misanthropic, soul-sapping Internet. Of course, the digitalization of our culture poses plenty of problems. I for one use the Internet waaaaay too much for masturbation procrastination purposes. Yet, as our talented student writers prove, there’s more to the Internet than Facebook stalking, cat pictures and Ryan Gosling memes. The Internet Edition explores what it means to live in a digitalized culture, examining how the Internet has changed the ways in which we speak, write, think, browse, fight and love. Oh, and there’s a piece about porn. Kim Kardashian’s backside may have broken the Internet last month, but I hope you like what our team has done with the pieces. Happy browsing!


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illustrations by Hannah Peck instagram @hpillustration_ 6

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‘ Yo u n e v e r r e a l l y k n o w someone until you see their fake profile.’ J. Kintz

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D W

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E E words Jack Reid

A murky world of crime and moral degradation or our last bastion for freedom of information? In the wake of the NSA revelations, Jack Reid delves into the shadowy depths of the Deep Web.

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cryptocurrency behind all of The Silk Road’s transactions) during his arrest. The illegal underground market would not remain closed for long, however. Inevitably, The Silk Road 2.0 rose from the ashes to appear online less than a month later. The existence of the deep Web is made possible by the conspicuously named technology Tor, otherwise known as The Onion Router. Considering how hostile Western governments and their media are towards Tor, it’s surprising to learn that the technology behind it was developed in a U.S. Naval Research laboratory. Originally designed as a way for government spooks to communicate without fear of their messages being intercepted, Tor was co-opted for civilian use. Tor is peer-to-peer encrypted communication; each person who starts up the browser becomes a “relay node” in the network. When a user requests a web page, that request is sent through a series of other relay nodes at random, with each node only knowing one step

n October last year, the FBI shut down The Silk Road, the deep Web’s black-market version of Amazon or eBay used for less lawful items. On sale was every narcotic you could ever desire: weed, speed, MDMA, coke, ketamine, alongside stuff you’ve probably never heard of (5-MeO-DALT, Bromo-DragonFLY) all delivered to the comfort of your own home courtesy of an unwitting Royal Mail employee. Weird sounding psychedelics aren’t the only things on offer, however. Firearms, stolen credit cards, forged currency, passports and hitmen can be bought and sold with the click of a mouse. Even Tesco Clubcard vouchers and Spotify accounts make an appearance. The owner of the site, Ross William Ulbricht, better known to purveyors of his wares as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was recently arrested and charged with a number of offences including drug trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering. The FBI seized $3.6 million worth of bitcoins (the

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at a time until it reaches the server. The server then sends the web page back to the user through a different nodal path, thus resisting any external attempts to track its journey through the webosphere. Sounds complicated, right? But essentially this process means that anybody monitoring the network’s activity (as the NSA does with the regular Internet) isn’t able to identify users or what they are browsing. This secure anonymity has a huge influence on the kinds of content that becomes available on the deep Web. Naturally, illicit activities have much to gain from what Tor offers. Internet service providers can’t block pages served over Tor and governments can’t demand them to be taken down. Any buying or selling via the deep Web is done through bitcoins, a form of virtual currency that can obscure the source of payment, making it even harder for anyone to track and trace transactions. A cursory glance at the deep Web suggests that it’s a place that breeds illegal, immoral and downright evil activities: child porn, drugs and murder for hire – hardly paints a pretty picture, does it? It’s true that if you’re looking for nefarious activity, you don’t have to look for very long at all. But the deep Web isn’t entirely a den of depravity, a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” that the mainstream media and governmental departments would have you believe. While criminal activity is facilitated through the dark Web, it’s also one of the few bastions of privacy in our contemporary society. After Edward Snowden’s revelatory disclosures about Western governments’ surveillance habits, it’s clear that we live in an era where “private” doesn’t really mean that much any more. Our daily electronic communications carried out on Email, Facebook and Twitter are constantly monitored and observed by organisations such as the NSA. Of course, this isn’t 1950s McCarthy-esque letter opening any more. It’s far more insidious than that. Every single word of whatever conversation you’re having online is being documented and collated by country’s government. They can pull up a search of every email you’ve ever sent, every text, every picture you’ve ever let graze the Internet. It’s enough

to make you feel a little shy. Some might say that if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear. But a world in which that idea is universally enforced would be pretty dark, don’t you think? You might find comfort in the fact that, for the most part, the government have no interest in your petty, inconsequential life. Nevertheless, anti-terror operations have increasingly used mass analysis of contextual data to identify links between terror cells and individuals. If you’ve ever lived on the same street as a terror suspect, bought something from the same corner shop or if you’ve got a friend of a friend who’s downloaded the “Anarchist’s Cookbook” one time, there’s a pretty good chance your life has been pulled to pieces by somebody you’ve never met. Whilst the drugs, paedophiles and other shady dealings are quick to grace the headlines of media outlets like The Daily Mail, the anonymity granted on the deep Web can also be used for more virtuous endeavours. Chelsea Manning is one of the most important whistleblowers of our time. She revealed a trove of military documents that detailed evidence of grievous offences committed by the US military during her time serving in the Army. Julian Assange, the mastermind behind WikiLeaks, was able to communicate with Manning with plenty of help from Tor amongst other encryption techniques to ensure that sensitive information could not be intercepted by prying eyes. Without the help of the deep Web, the catalogue of atrocities committed by Western governments – from underreported civilian casualties and friendly fire incidents to the treatment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners – will most likely have remained swept underneath a rug, hidden from public view. Perhaps the greatest WikiLeaks revelation documents footage from the nose of an Apache helicopter conducting an airstrike on fleeing civilians and Reuters reporters in Baghdad. This video surfaced through an anonymous source in the deep Web after many failed attempts to make the American government release it through the Freedom of Information Act. Similarly, Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance by governmental organisations were

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sent to newspa per outlets over the deep Web in order to evade the kinds of spying mechanisms his information detailed. The truth is that we need the deep Web more than ever in a world where any information that a government doesn’t want distributed can be tracked, analysed and destroyed. The Five Eyes (their name, not ours) of the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are attempting to be accountable to nobody but themselves. The deep Web is desperately needed to undermine their efforts. Sure, the deep Web will prove handy if you want to safely buy some Mandy to keep you going for a three-day bender. But, more importantly, it’s quickly becoming one of the only places that resists all attempts to monitor our activities.

Western countries are attempting to be accountable to nobody but themselves. The recent iCloud photo leaks attest to just how easily accessible our most intimately personal data is. Maybe in light of such breaches, people will consider using the deep Web for their more intimate communications. Although the government isn’t explicitly interested in your racy selfies, Snowden has revealed that some of the younger men working at the NSA have been known to pass around favourite nude images they just happen to come across. The deep Web is part of the answer to the questions about privacy and security that dominate our deeply contested discourse of freedom in contemporary society. As the public is made more aware of just how exposed every detail of their lives is, the deep Web will become less stigmatised and more valued. Soon, using the deep Web won’t be a presumption of guilt but rather a matter of discretion. As obnoxious security states continue to overstep the line in their pursuits of our private information, the deep Web will be there to keep them in check. In ten years, the Internet as we know it will be unrecognisable. And any attempts to track our activities will increasingly find themselves trapped in a web as deep as it is dark.

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T O TA L LY O R I G I N A L R E A S O N S TO JOIN THE DEEP WEB words The Exetera Team The need to defend oneself against insidious bureaucratic spies and network surveillance has never been greater. Did you know that the British government at any one time is monitoring 92% of your Internet activity? Or that Google can sell your browsing history for up to $75 a month? Probably not, because I just made those two facts up. Nevertheless, here are a number of very well researched reasons why you should don your tinfoil hat, download TOR and join the Deep Web.

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You can sit in your room with the safe knowledge that the government no longer knows when you’re indulging in music that isn’t featured in The Quietus or Dazed and Confused.

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The Silk Road now sells books.

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You and your friends can bond over breaking society’s technological ideologies via a collective hashtag, e.g. #sorrynotsorry.

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Anonymity makes you an altogether more desirable and mysterious individual, upping your sex appeal by at least 230%. This makes your dream of snogging an Exetera editor 5% more likely.

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You can carry on pretending you read the news through credible sites when in fact you’re a shit for brains who reads The Tab.

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The government need no longer fret about the abundance of terrible purchases you make on eBay.

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No one will ever find your introspective Tumblr full of blurry Polaroids and ‘free verse poetry’.

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You can be free to express yourself as the sexually liberal and perverse individual you are without anyone finding out. Who cares if you have a dwarf fetish or prefer hentai to humans? It’s the 21st century - so long as it’s legal it’s legitimate.

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You can stalk your ex totally guilt free and to the detriment of your mental health.

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You could become a fully-fledged python-fluent freedom-of-information-rights-activist and rise to fame like that guy Benedict Cumberbatch played in that film one time.

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S O C I A L W A R F A R E words Rosa Jones

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The liberal world order has lauded social media as a vital tool for freedom of speech. Yet in the summer of 2014, IS showed how online networks such as Twitter and YouTube can act as platforms for brutal campaigns of global terror. How do we respond to this online incursion? Has the time come to change the way we percieve our freedom in the online social sphere? ern democracies, a perception of an accessible, diverse and free way to communicate was impressed by our coining of terms like the “the twitter revolution” for emancipatory movements like the Arab Spring. Aside from making inane comments into something of public interest, social media was configured as a domain protected from state and suppression, where harm could not become physical and where the little guy could find a safe place for his voice. But summer 2014 exposed to us the dark side of social media. Internet radicalisation is by no means a new concern. Yet last summer militant insurgent groups demonstrated an unprecedented level of sophistication in their online propaganda operations. Social media was used to reach and attract more people than ever before. Social media hasn’t just been used to widen an existing campaigns, however. It’s proved powerful enough to instigate them and recruit “armies” pretty much from scratch. We’ve seen social media evolve with such unimaginable potency that the boundaries of the right to freedom of speech have been thrown into even deeper ambiguity.

reedom of speech is a non-negotiable civil right. It’s a pillar of democracy that we must never overlook or underrate. Of course, it’s no straightforward concept and suggests a tricky contradiction: if we award every message unlimited freedom of speech, how do we then deal with those messages that are themselves the antithesis of freedom? Should someone be “free” to publicly express themselves as racist, sexist, a religious extremist or violent? Perhaps not. Traditionally, we’ve drawn a line in the shape of the “offence principle.” This qualifies free speech by condemning the incitement of ethnic or racial hatred, for example. With this protection in place, the argument runs that we can defend the premise of the freedom of speech on the grounds that it is healthier to air even controversial views in public. This way, even (or especially) dangerous ideas can be debated and challenged at the source. Rather than suppress ideas and allow them to fester, all voices are heard and responded to in a democratic and open manner. The astonishing expansion of social media has been hailed as a modern platform for porliterating access to this fundametnal civil right. Within west-

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We’ve seen the extremist jihadist group Islamic State – a real-world threat that runs parts of northern Syria—spreading its uncompromising attitude towards humanity via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. IS has manipulated all these media streams to cultivate a slick online propaganda campaign. Recruitment videos like “The Clanging of the Swords IV” appropriate a video game aesthetic to glamorise and trivialise horrific acts of violence. Apps like “The Dawn of Glad Tidings” allow IS to send out centralised propaganda messages via Twitter followers’ accounts. And few images have been more disturbing than the recent slew of beheading videos released by the insurgent group. It’s a campaign that works to devastating effect. Iraqi soldiers in Mosul, for instance, fled their posts, apparently aware of the grisly fate they would encounter if captured on duty. Coverage by mainstream media outlets, meanwhile, ensures that atrocities committed by IS are documented across all corners of the world. All this means that the same networking services used by teenage girls to take “selfies,” or that people turn to procrastinate over videos of cats running into windows, or that encourage celebrities to let the world know that they’re #enjoying #their #cupoftea are also employed by radical militant groups to spread terror. In 2014, the ordinary and the menial have clashed with the disturbing and the radical in a head-on collision. Young men and women from cosy, middle class backgrounds became targets of one such well-executed social media campaign. Suddenly Brits were making the commitment to fly across the world and commit their lives to an extreme ideology – championed by figures whom they had met only through the medium of brief online exchanges. IS exercised its freedom of speech to the maximum. It could do so because it was under protection from the Internet. So, where exactly was the chance to publicly challenge and deal with hate at the source? Instead, to our detriment, the features of social media have made the foundation of this right so much harder for us to defend. The modern way of communicating seems to pose too many paradoxes… Social media can be completely public, yet it suggests anonymity. Posts can reach absolute strangers; yet can be made totally private. The Web knows you as an individual without ever having met you. An infinite world of knowledge can be accessed at your fingertips, yet the nature of “search engines” focuses on only the information that we sought. The Web

will find a support base for any view you might already hold. You can engage with a huge diversity of people, yet restrict your activity to private groups. Social networking seems real, sincere and honest, but you may never meet the person behind the screen. Above all, different messages are manipulated for different people at different times with varying results. Hence the unprecedented expansion of IS. Impressionable citizens were captivated by the group’s power depicted on social media. Online networks documented violence to generate excitement and galvanise malleable young men. The group depicted unrestrained brutality when it needed to evoke the power of fear. And when it realised women were needed to join their cause, it brought concepts of “God,” “worship” and “new life” and “community,” to the forefront of its online campaign. The social media backlash entails an irrational counterattack launched by media columnists and armchair commentators against “Islam.” But when such social fears and subsequent disputes manifest themselves online, who is there to act as arbiter and mediate hate? Who is there to keep a lid on the terminology that is tweeted and retweeted until it fills the heads of impressionable youngsters disillusioned with our society? When messages and responses are instantaneous, and technologies develop with concomitant evolving loopholes, the answer is: no one. The innocent appeal of social networking has been corrupted. Social media as mundane has been compromised. Social media as the stage for uncensored speech has become a double-edged sword. Social media as “the little guy standing up against the big state” will be indiscriminately branded a security threat, and will be stolen too. Gone too are naïve assumptions that social media is a benign metaphysical entity in which speech is just speech and where “real-world” harm can’t be inflicted. Social media has touched a nerve at the heart of free speech discussions: it depends whose hands the free speech is in. So what will have to change? What will happen to the freedom we valued on the Web? One thing is certain: you might have innocent or democratic intentions when you use social media, but the threats to the “big states” means that governments will need no second invitation to pry further and deeper into your life. Can wider society continue to demand freedom on the Web now, as should be our right to do so? And, more worringly, will we even want to now that we’ve seen the damage that can be done?

The ordinary and the menial have clashed with the disturbing and the radical in a head-on collision.

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Distracted from distraction by distraction - T.S. Eliot 19


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Exetera Magazine

P O R N ULTIMATUM

words Callum McKleenex McLean

2,010,015,962 searches for pornography have been recorded since the beginning of 2014. 28,258 people are watching porn every second. It’s time to undress this unspoken side of sex lives.

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ast year, I gave up porn for Lent. The withdrawal was pretty brutal, but at the time, what struck me the most was how little sex had to do with it. That craving couldn’t be satisfied by sex or even plain old masturbation – it was porn that I missed, and there’s nothing else like it. Despite being someone who already thinks and talks quite a lot about the effect of porn on people, that revelation and this new, totally dominating thirst for something so mysteriously desirable gave me the willies. What had porn been doing to me all this time? But also, what had I been doing to people because of it?

The kind of porn I’ve always watched almost never features male actors – I find something uncomfortable, but also strangely unsatisfying, about the pure voyeurism of watching another man go at it. But luckily for me the Internet provides the opportunity to shop by category. It allows you, at the click of a mouse, to choose the actresses, the camera angles and the scenarios they’re put in: redhead, interracial, POV, public, mother and daughter, amateur… the list goes on. You can literally customise the subjects of your gaze. In my case, this narrows my porn intake down to something quite dramatically removed from any sex

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I’m ever going to be able to have (unless I’m reincarnated as a busty collegiate who rekindles their teen crush, with steamy consequences). But it also shows how detached the act of watching porn is from the actualities of sex. I have a friend who only watches porn in high definition – he says the rest just doesn’t do it for him anymore. Anyone who’s seen the kind of porn they film in HD will know how little “reality” is on offer there. Another friend with a big, high-res desktop Mac, likes to run several movies all at once, in a kind of porn collage where you can adjust the relative volumes, sizes, and elapsed times of each video – a sort of impressionistic erotic experience. Tellingly, he calls this a “hyper-wank”. It’s the sort of thing that would make postmodernists giddy. What seems like a pretty straightforward transaction, a routine sating of the libido, is really nothing of the sort: however much we’d like to

strongest candidate for where a lot of this “third imagined element” comes from is, you guessed it, porn. When a partner comes out with a line like (cringe alert – mum, stop reading) “I want to feel you come inside me”, this is exactly what happens to me. I am forced to step back to come face to face with the awkward truth of the fantasy, and where it comes from. More disturbingly, the reverse is also true. While we’re watching, we know it is just porn. But every now and then there is an equally uncanny moment that jars us out of our devouring voyeurism. The girls on screen suddenly shimmer with the gritty sharpness of their own reality: their off-screen reality as sex workers. A flood of background truths block out the desiring gaze; a shadow of the crew’s boom hovering over the zoomed-in cunnilingus, the burly directors’ interjections between cuts (“do that again babe, only harder”), the flicker of

deny it, porn comes to dictate sex for us – and that’s saying nothing of what it does to our ideas of gender roles, the body and power relations in general. There’s a moment in Slavoj Žižek’s 2006 documentary, A Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, where the Slovenian pop-philosopher gets to the heart of psychoanalysis: sex. “It’s never only me and my partner…there has to be some third imagined element…which enables me to engage in sexuality. If I may be a little bit impertinent and relate to an unfortunate experience probably known to most of us: how it happens that while one is engaged in sexual activity all of a sudden one feels stupid, one loses contact with it, as if [one thought] ‘my God, what am I doing here? Doing these stupid repetitive movements’…” On the one hand, it seems fair to say that the

hesitation on a less experienced actress’s face - all of which trigger thoughts of what lives have led them there from an early age. Poverty? Abuse? Trafficking? Perhaps the most worrying part for me is that these sudden and sometimes violent intrusions of reality are rarely sufficient to counteract our enjoyment of porn. It would be naïve to assume that many people who watch it are unaware of the dark underbelly of the industry. So is it purely a case of ignoring the uncomfortable truth, or does it actually add to the fantasy? Is not part of the most perverse aspects of porn-voyeurism that exact, tacit complicity: a kind of sick pleasure in the degradation of the real, physical actress herself? You don’t really believe she’s enjoying it. That’s part of the appeal. Of course I’m being contentious here. There are always counter-arguments and ex-

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ceptions: the empowered sex worker who enjoys her job, the passivity of the sex addict, the fact that one in three porn viewers are female. But these are conversations that need to be had. My point is not just that porn is addictive and that the Internet facilitates a glut of it - that much should be obvious - but that we need to think about what it is about porn that addicts us. Neither am I saying that porn is necessarily bad – although without a doubt some porn seems especially dubious and harmful. But whether or not we think better porn needs making, with more female directors, or in a less seedy, underground context, the first step is taking a good look at our own consumption of it. One article I read while writing this piece followed a relatively balanced, intelligent surveying of the facts and figures with this editorial postscript:

“Disclaimer: The author did not watch porn while researching for this article.” Who knows whether the freelancer in question managed to make it through a dry day in the study without succumbing? But the fact is that this kind of “brush it under the carpet” attitude towards porn is comically antiquated. We’re still watching porn (and by that I mean I am still watching porn) – it’s about time we got talking about it.

‘hyper-wank’—a multi-screen porn collage where you can adjust the volume, size, and time elapsed of each video

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l e x i c o m words Ben Clarke Last month, Angelina Jolie greeted Derby bred actor Jack O’Connell with the phrase “ay up me duck” at a film awards ceremony. It was a self-conscious attempt to mimic the Midlands greeting and share an in-joke. But something bizarre happened. A confused silence ensued as the American audience members were left wondering if/why there was a duck on stage. This is what slang does: it creates a type of informal language typically restricted to a particular group of people. But where slang was once used to build boundaries along region and background, online communication has made it possible for slang to transcend those divisions...

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The three-letter word was consigned to irreverence once it emerged that cutting edge Prime Minister David Cameron concluded a text with it to Rebecca Brooks (he thought It meant “Lots of Love” but, still, you get the point…). Just as the newest iPhone replaces its previous iteration, acronyms and other online phrases once seen as innovative have been thrown onto an increasingly large dustbin heap of obsolete etymological artefacts. The ever-evolving alphabet can therefore be liberating. It resists attempts to institutionalise words and pin down meanings. The OED may have legitimised “LOL,” but it was about five years too late. Official language bodies throughout history have tried to control meanings and definitions in order to tame and slay forms of subversive slang. Regulation over language has always played a key part in muffling and silencing dissenting voices. The Académie Française, for example, aims to protect the pure French language from foreign imports through banning words of foreign origin from the language. But attempts to police language will persistently lag behind, playing catch up to vibrant and mutable words. Marginalised poor communities in France, for example, fused French and Arab words with the rules of Pig Latin to form Verlan. The language, initially spoken by street gangs to prevent police from

he Web has changed the way we write and speak so profoundly that even mentioning it feels like a cliché. Language is butchered, maimed and massacred online and, more specifically, by social media. To upload language online is akin to splaying it on a table in a digital abattoir: words are stripped, chopped, gutted, diced, ripped, blended and rearranged into Frankensteinian formulations. Revised and invented words have increasingly made the transition from instant messaging to professional contexts—“LOL,” “OMG” and “FYI” are even card-carrying members of the Oxford English Dictionary. And then there’s emojis. Those little symbols capable of wordlessly articulating how we feel—whether , , or erm like a . All 600 pages of American classic Moby Dick have even been translated into the yellow-headed things.And if that wasn’t enough, an app called Flirtmoji has further added to our virtual, and sexual, lexicon (see overleaf). A whole range of penises, breasts, fluffy handcuffs, spanking paddles and strap-ons are sure to spice up your sext life. The proliferation of this “slang” marks the rise of a new global alphabet. But this is an alphabet constantly in flux. “LOL”—the acronym granted entry into the OED—now feels outdated, a relic of MSN and Bebo, used by your mum for her weekly Facebook update.

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overhearing their conspiratorial intensions, has now become the language of resistance for French youth disillusioned with mainstream politics. Subversive voices will always be heard—even if it means creating new, illegitimate forms of communication. Slang, it seems, cannot be silenced. Perhaps the proliferation of an online diction replete with indecipherable phrases and impenetrable acronyms is similarly emancipatory. Younger generations can construct a language that they can call their own—one that will remain forever in flux, unreadable to older generations. This alphabet attempts to understand a developing, digitalised world where we are constantly bombarded by atomised pieces of information demanding our attention. We have dispensed with opaque, sterile words with all their outdated rigid definitions. Instead, online language embraces postmodern notions of play, wit and performance to create a free-flowing lexicon. Urban Dictionary has been central to this language revolution. If the OED is the old conservative king of the English language, then the Urban Dictionary is its illegitimate, rebellious son. Set up in 1999, this online dictionary has altered the way that words are defined and employed. Meanings are malleable and change faster than you can press the refresh button. The creation of new words is a democratic process: users submit their own words, further definitions are added, other users vote them up or down. Idiosyncratic jokes and neologisms created by a handful of people are shared and appropriated by a global audience. The web, in this sense, democratises and universalises slang.

dy the un-reflexive enthusiasm and banality of the postmodern age. It’s also become, like other stock acronyms, a form of punctuation. It can be used as an emphatic exclamation mark, a breath-pausing comma, or even as a sort of ellipsis that neatly concludes a rambling sentence or anecdote. More often than not, it appears in a revised elongated form—“looooool”—that suggests users are well aware of its outdated form, but nevertheless seek to resignify it in an unimaginative “amusing” way. Is this, like conventional slang, really subversive? These resignifications only serve to rework a worn out phrase devoid of any mischievous energy. By redeploying such terms, we become trapped in a depressing world of pastiche. Rather than invigorate language, the universalising nature of online slang often stifles creativity and drowns in its own irony. Perversely, slang created online has tumbled from screens into our everyday conversations. Acronyms, neologisms and hashtags— think #awkward, #YOLO—once limited to the online realm have infiltrated our offline, spoken language. It’s all a bit #weird. Articles and editorials, both online and print, increasingly drop in hashtags and @ signs—either as a form of witty irony (see above) or as an attempt to be über trendy. We might read this proliferation of online “slang” in both written and spoken contexts as an attempt to stay hip, relevant, and in tune with an Internet savvy audience. But I can’t help feel that we lose something when creating acronyms and frequently resignifying terms. Does saying “ILYSM” really carry the same weight as “I love you so much”? The former is surely an inadequate parodic substitute, a transparent fiber optic version of a pure, sensitive phrase rooted in a tradition of sincere emotion. Slang has always been innovative. It celebrates the malleability of words and resists authoritarian attempts to chastise language. But online we see how neologisms can quickly become tired and hollow. The repetition of stock acronyms and easy elision between spoken and written contexts stymies true linguistic creativity. Without a subversive edge, online slang can become more boring and predictable than the language it seeks to subvert.

But is this online language really a cause for optimism? Have we really created words endowed with subversive potential? Or have we lost something by slaughtering our old lexicon? The constant processes of renewal and re-appropriation online means that everything is ironised. It’s pretty hard to be serious about anything if all claims to sincerity can be emptied out and satirised. These days, “LOL” is used in a self-reflexive way to paro-

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The Internet Edition

Pukka Used as an expression of quality - one of the many catchphrases used by celebrity twat Jamie Oliver. “Being a chef is pukka.”

Schrödinger’s Emoticon An emoticon that shows both happy and sad faces. i.e ):( The Internet is a horrible and wonderful place ):(<--Schrödinger’s emoticon.

Cannilingus The use of the tongue to find the opening in the top of a beverage can, when it’s too dark to see. “While driving 80mph down the 87 freeway, Steve deftly applied cannilingus to drain the remaining contents of his Schlitz.”

Twoosh Full-Donald To wear an outfit completely devoid of lower bottom coverings, in the style of Donald Duck. “Dominic turned up to the party Full-Donald, and was subsequently arrested for indecent exposure.”

A perfect, 140 character Tweet on Twitter. “Nothing feels better than crafting a perfect twoosh.”

BæBæ/bae Is a Danish word for poop. Also used by people on the internet who think it means baby, sweetie etc.

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curated by The Exetera Team

BEST OF URBAN DICTIONARY


Exetera Magazine

words Harry Smithson Disclaimer: This article was written for online submission. Please do not try and click on these links. Any attempts to do so may lead to finger pain, paper cuts or repitive strain injury.

Trolling, n. /ˈtrəʊlɪŋ/

ing from the Sanskrit words sattva [truth] and ghee [butter], roughly meaning ‘slippery logic,’ i.e. aimless twatting about), these avant-gardes allotted 38 chapters in what would become the first book of a multi-volume, satirical series to a painstakingly inaccurate and tedious genealogy of our ancestors, consisting almost entirely of pronouns. Working title: The Old Testament. Regrettably, the series as a whole was destined for commercial success and the subversive components to the work were lost in its subsequent editions. This would result in the deaths of many of the authors’ descendants at the hands of people who mistook the ironic calls for the slaughtering of heathens and conquest of the Holy Land for informed foreign policy suggestions. Now that concerted efforts to divine truth could not always be distinguished from concerted efforts to piss people off, it became a struggle to tell fact from farce. Citizens were no longer sure how to decorate their churches, worrying that someone might perhaps call them a giddy goose for not realising that instructions to destroy decadent devotional sculptures and replace them with IKEA-brand pews were just some elaborate interdenominational prank. A notorious example of cosmic trolling was popularised in Christopher Marlowe’s epic documentary series Doctor Faustus, that was broadcast live at the witching hour for four and

1. Singing in the manner of a round, or in a jovial style; in quots. applied contemptuously to antiphonal singing. 2. Angling. The action or practice of fishing by the methods described. 3. To deliberately provoke some modicum of confusion, outrage or amusement by transgressing the discursive contract of a public forum.

A

n American psychological study recently pathologised trolling as a cyber-manifestation of everyday sadism. However, I will address trolling (IRL) as a historical, dialectical catalyst that has shaped the current era in its own profane and capricious likeness. If you don’t know what ‘capricious’ means, kindly follow this link: twitter.com/ImTheSloth. One could argue that some of the earliest pioneers of trolling were a group of Palestinian children’s authors who became sick of the stifling demand for lowest-common-denominator rehashes of Mesopotamian myths involving animals and large boats. Partly to antagonise the philistines, partly for shits and giggles (a phrase originat-

1. oed.com/view/Entry/206622?rskey=f5jMrm&result=1&isAdvanced=false#eid 2. sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886914000324

3. Luke 19:27, “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”

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The Internet Edition

the interest had an unprofitably bad exchange rate. Needless to say, this legacy has continued to the present day, exacerbated by the “atomising and enervating effects of the web.” Unemployable English Literature graduates write fanciful, verbose, adjectivally profligate articles that don’t seem to culminate in any helpful conclusion about the implications of a social practise that has riven such a cynical distance between world-weariness and active democratic engagement, that political or ethical gestures often feel intolerably embarrassing. Here is a link to a quote that posits a more articulate solution than I ever could: http://www.goodreads. com/quotes/111246-the-next-real-literary-rebelsin-this-country-might-well.

twenty years. The pilot introduced viewers to a feckless bachelor called Dr Faustus (D.Sc. Wittenberg) being miss-sold an existential loan by an emissary of Beelzebub PLC. Marlowe scrupulously followed the irresponsible, high-octane life of Faustus, creating memorable scenes involving time-travel to Ancient Troy, the conjuration of grapes and then not eating them, and the sexual harassment of Catholic clergymen. After two and a half decades of consistently high viewing figures, it finally transpired, reducing audiences to tearful wailing worldwide, that Faustus defaulted on his debt and was dragged into spiritual bankruptcy. Subsequent public inquiries revealed that Beelzebub PLC were merely trolling, given the currency with which Faustus was obligated to pay

4. newstatesman.com/politics/2014/10/will-self-how-we-shouldreform-british-constitution

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Exetera Magazine

Virgo August 23 - September 22

Capricorn December 22 - January 19 Not torrenting music isn’t a moral choice. We all know you just don’t know how to do it.

Much like the increasingly impetuous Mars influence, the girls of Made in Chelsea are still exerting power over you this month, particularly when it comes to head gear. Those hats look shit on them, and they have professional stylists. Imagine how terrible they look on you.

H OR O S Libra September 23 - October 22

I can’t be sure, but I think the way you’re pronouncing ‘Gone Girl’ is racist. There is no comma involved.

Sagittarius November 22 - December 21

Scorpio October 23 - November 22 To all you final year humanity-studying Scorpios reading this, I bring you a stark warning from the future.o0o0o0. Start learning how to code. Literally no employers care how well you can read a book.

The very vocally Sagittarian and almost aggressively beige Taylor Swift recently became New York’s Global Welcome Ambassador.’ See, being dumped all those times might still work out for you. Taurus April 20 - May 20 Yes, you are the only one who enjoyed having U2’s album beamed directly on to your iPhone. You should keep it to yourself.

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The Internet Edition

Gemini May 21 - June 20 Much like your tricksy star sign, it’s common knowledge that there are two versions of yourself: IRL and social media. What few others are familiar with is your third, more private side. I’d change your cloud password if you don’t want that getting out.

Cancer June 21 - July 22 Listen, no one cares if the Hobbit films don’t do justice to the more whimsical source material. There are more important things to worry about, and dragons are cool.

Aquarius January 20 - Febuary 18 No one’s going to invite you to Ello.

C O P E S Pices Feburary 19 - March 20

With the moon making ever more appearances in what we laughingly still call day time, you’ll be feeling emboldened to share your strong opinions on several controversial topics this month. If one of those topics happens to be about the representation of women in video games and is feminist in nature, I’d caution restrain. Unless you want a bunch of ugly, white, straight CIS males pretending tobe a subculture harassing you online.

Aries March 21 - April 19

Your ongoing preoccupation with what unfortunate creature would be subjected to the title of ‘spirit animal’ needs to end. Ps, it’s probably Kesha. Leo July 23 - August 22 Likening your hangover to having Ebola is offensive, stop doing it.

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Prophesised by Alexis ‘Mystic’ Mastroyiannis


Exetera Magazine

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Dylan Abbott challenges antiquated conceptions of romantic relationships in our ever-changing cyber climate.

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t’s easy to see why many people think that the Internet isolates and alienates people. Even as I sit here – late into the night, illuminated by my laptop screen, perusing whatever Shia LaBeouf related material I can dig up from the depths of the Web – I accept it’s quite the tragic scene. It also grants us the illusion of social interaction, as we indifferently prod at the keyboard, digitally articulating conversations to another lone soul, staring blankly at their own screen of dreams. It isn’t hard to perceive this as the slow death of physical communication and the rise of the impersonal, disengaged sharing of micro-conversations and self-branding, intricately constructed from each of our cyber-sanctuaries. So what about that aspect of our lives which is so heavily dependent on physical communication – romance? There are countless stories concerned with how the Internet and technology are sapping the love and physicality out of relationships. We young people are apparently having less sex, instead opting to take pictures of our junk and send them to each other. Perhaps the fears of pregnancy, STIs and the constant reminders in the media that every town is crawling with sex predators, are working in cahoots with the Internet in order to finally get us to stay the fuck indoors. Or, with the case of Tinder, working to depersonalise and simplify sexual encounters, moulding “romance” into the “quick fix” ideology that has come to define our

fast-paced, consumer culture. Having recently signed up to a long distance relationship – around 3,500 miles – I have become heavily, worryingly dependent upon that very passion-killing, alienating abstract structure that I’ve spent the last two paragraphs damning. It is, in essence, my middle-man, passing classroom love letters to that girl I kind of like – and probably taking a sneaky glance at my flowery odes of amoré in the process. It allows me to chat to my girlfriend on a daily basis. I can update her on all the hilarious things I’m doing; send hilarious pictures of myself wearing hilarious hats; we can video chat and pull more hilarious faces. What’s more, there’s no pressure to cram all of our emotions and worries and in-jokes into a bi-weekly letter, which will inevitably be put off in the midst of the stresses of university life, resulting in the gradual atrophy of attachment and leading us into a life of misery, loneliness and undoubtedly, prostitution. Which is not ideal. So thanks Internet. Yet, I can’t help but fret that something is being lost in this Interweb-age Faustian pact. Have we sacrificed an integral part of our humanity in order to maintain the illusion of a loving relationship? Arguably, it’s all a matter of perspective. Sure, we can look at the Internet as a satanic figure, sowing its viral seeds of detachment, distrust and dissatisfaction, like the fear-mongering lovechild of the

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L

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words Dylan Abbott

my girlfriend that all is hunky dory. Meanwhile, I entire Daily Mail staff on a God-awful comedown. sink further into myself, losing contact with a world Or like some impish, Apple Store Rumpelstiltskin, that is instead engaging with my mask of contentpromising to make your life all the better, only to ment, which slowly develops the deadness of Patrick take away your firstborn child like the bastard he Bateman in American Psycho. And we all know how really is, as if to teach you a lesson that in life there that ends up for everyone. are no shortcuts (except the ones on your desktop, Honesty is the ultimate combatright?). I can ruminate over the “reality” of my ant against this impending culture of relationship for days. I can convince myself that superficiality. Creating a dialogue that employs genuine emotions and emI’ve subscribed to a means of communication pathy is how we can avoid the fallacies that hover devoid of “realness” and “truth,” because we’re not above our Internet age, waiting right there, next to each other, to further isolate us. Our bodengaging with all five senses I can’t help but fret that some- ies are full of chemicals that rather than just two. But what’s the point? Is there even such thing is being lost in this in- don’t abide by the strict rules of thing as a “real” relationship to ter-web-age Faustian pact. romance articulated by mainstream media—why should we compare my situation to? feel ashamed by this? Once we can acknowledge that The answer is an unwavering no. we’re not the perfect boyfriend or perfect girlfriend, This is where the crux of the issue lies. The despite what we spew all over social media, then sentiments which surround romance and love we might begin to create relationships that aren’t are excruciatingly outdated in relation to the technological advances that are beginning to dependent upon physicality to establish a truthful, emotional connection. define our methods of communication. Instead, the We are all, at some point in our lives, arseholes. Internet becomes a bulletin board on which to We want things we can’t have. We hate things for no project these vapid, rom-com ideals of picture-perreason. We are irrational, unpredictable creatures. fect coupledom. The surface image has become Why hide that? It could bring us all that little bit more vital than the reality of our emotions. I could closer. easily deny my frustrations, my fears, my urges, hiding behind the screen and convincing myself and

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E


Exetera Magazine

QUESTION TIME Using either a pencil, your finger or even maybe a twig, draw a line (literal or figurative) from a question (left) to what you believe is the corresponding answer (right). Sponsored by

YAHOO! ANSWERS I swallowed an ice cube whole, and I haven’t pooped it out? I’m really scared, is it stuck???

SPONSORED BY ITS FOREVER IRREVERSIBLE, THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED TO ME!!

Why are the holes in cats fur always in the right places for their eyes?

I don’t know, can you be more pacific?

When do men start to grow their condom? You’ll be the same, just inside out.

HOW DO I TURN OFF CAPS LOCK? I ACCIDENTALLY TURNED IT ON YESTERDAY AND I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TURN IT BACK OFF?? THIS PROBLEM IS LITERALLY RUINING MY LIFE!!

It also happens in foxes

What? I’ve never heard this before, can someone explain? I normally just buy them from the shop??!

If I eat myself would I become twice as big or disappear completely?

Yes and you’re probably going to die.

How big is the Specific Ocean?

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The Internet Edition

lonely Lonely hearts hearts words Alexis Mastroyiannis Kathleen Sayers

x Flickr user desperately seeking relevance.

x x Previously overhasty software seeks to share beta times with patient partner.

Cash to burn? Love finger fun? Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m the right phone for you. I bend in all the wrong ways.

x Binary Bitch seeking someone to cover the basics, put 1 in the 0.

x Hx Gamer w/l/t/m a girl, any girl, like the ones in favourite games.

x <strike>married</strike> <b>woman</b> seeks <strong>man</ strong> for nsa <hr> fun.

x Underappreciated program seeks companionship after being dumped for younger model by the name of Prezi. Must enjoy ostentatious changes and someone whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to control.

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Exetera Magazine

gg A

words Edward Scott

t 9.28am on November 1st, an unaddressed package marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ arrived at the office of a small magazine affiliated with a provincial English university. By mere coincidence, I was alone—the Editor was refining his aquatic karate, the Creative Director was making hummus for her micropig, and everyone else had abandoned ship when it became clear we were “a bit edgy.” A few months earlier, after a heavy evening of Cluedo and herbal tea, our team had whimsically and satirically emailed the folks at Google. We told them the truth—we’re a small, independent student magazine, looking to celebrate the future, throw off the shackles of the past, and deconstruct the notion of happiness. We declared to the anonymous corporate bad guys that we’d be honoured to receive a complimentary Google Glass set to review. After weeks of anxious waiting, the package arrived. I was alone that morning, and as I sliced open the gaffer-taped seams the thought occurred to me that all of history, everything that had ever happened had been leading up to this moment—me, in my pants, about to charge up and wear a piece of technology so revolutionary it made the George Foreman Seven Portion Vertical Storage Grill look old-fashioned. By the time I removed the layers of padding and opened up the smaller, internal box, and slid out the seven or eight further layers of foam cladding, and the bubble wrap, and weird-tasting gel stuff, the office was getting quite full, so I waded out into the hall. It was a plain white box, labelled with almost erotic minimalism just—“glass.” Somewhere in my brain, my technophilic hymen quivered. It was space-age. They hadn’t capitalised the g—why would you? all I could think was “this changes everything.” After a few seconds of edging, I flipped the lid. My gooch gave way, my eyeballs hit my tongue, my olfactory bulb sparked in animalistic lust. What

followed was an ecstasy of fumbling; within minutes the device was charged and I was lost in a universe of colour – dancing through Tumblr, Reddit and YouTube. The formerly baffling ExeHub worked more smoothly than it ever had on my fuddy old laptop, as did its popular sister website PornHub. What’s more, I could keep an eye on my day-to-day life. Had I not been sitting on the floor dribbling, I could probably have gone cycling, or bought a Starbucks or gone clubbing. But then again who needs to go cycling when you have the Internet on your face? I’m sad to say our gracious overlords at Google didn’t furnish us with a charger. The set lasted barely half an hour, and there was no warning of it shutting down, so unfortunately I did miss out on the second half of a video of a capybara in a paddling pool; but the thirty minute window was still sufficient to change my life. When our Editor came back from his workout, he found me in the hallway, unconscious and alone. He threw down his diving goggles and nursed me back to consciousness. Immediately, I grasped my face for the source of my rebirth—but the glass was gone. I ran into the office, muttering to myself, but amidst all the packaging I could find nothing. I stood in a trance, trying to comprehend my experience, until our Editor snapped me awake. I turned to face him, trying to find the words to describe what had taken place. But then I saw it, scorched on to the wall behind him—the humble, grotty wall of our little magazine’s tiny office, graciously transformed into a modern-day relic. A clue; a sign; a message. “They were here,” I said, and pointed over his shoulder towards the pair of letters on the wall. gg Our Editor let out a little moan upon reading the inscription: “lower case”, he whispered. We cried.

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GET IN TOUCH WEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;RE LOOKING FOR WRITERS Do you love words? Do you have great #banter? Are you really, really ridiculously good looking? If so, then we would love to hear from you. Whether you want to write, edit, design, take pictures or just hang out with some seriously cool people, get in touch at exetera@exetermagazine.com


The Internet Edition  

Issue 10 / Winter 2014

The Internet Edition  

Issue 10 / Winter 2014

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