The four stages of the Internet Rejection Cycle

Fawning

Usually it all starts with a sickly transparent appeal for the acceptance and affection of a group by a complete outsider. Often the fawning stage is baldly disguised as self-deprecation, but more often it begins as a contrived yet frank attempt to become part of a group. The endorphin rush of acceptance accompanies the act of fawning rather than the acceptance itself.

Denial

Suffering from the contradictory feelings of total rejection and overwhelming delusional acceptance, the rejected outsider’s ego snaps and he or she inevitably posts jocular comments under many different names, always usurping the identities of those who refuse to validate his or her fawning. This is a sad attempt at “play” from an outsider in complete denial of the obvious rejection. I have seen this stage last for months, and the number of handles used by the same individual, “Geo,” reached a record of 63 different “identities.” This list is incomplete, however, and dates from July of 2011. Since then, “Geo” has repeatedly continued through this cycle and added countless nicks to his trophy case of shame.

Aggression

Having finally reconciled the rejection, the subject goes on the attack. The most common statement is something like, “I used to like your group, but you’ve gone way downhill recently.” This stage may also last for months, and often the use of transparent alternate identities will persist, even though the repetitive and absurd comments follow an all-too-easily recognized pattern.

Ragequit

The famously obvious Ragequit is often extremely dramatic, but always entirely meaningless. Sometimes it’s really just a part of the aggression stage and it doesn’t necessarily signify a reset in the cycle. Often saying absurd things like “I’m quitting the Internet” or “I’m never visiting this website again,” the rejected person might even try to portray their rage as a quiet and sad admission to the failure of their fawning, only to revert back to the fawning stage within a few days. (Or a single day in THIS case)

I recently posted a very long work to the secretive and prickly SubGenius newsgroup at the suggestion of a SubGenius friend. Many supporters and detractors of Anonymous found this work a valuable analysis of the stagnant discourse plaguing the nascent Anarchic movement, and much of it was obviously inspired or borrowed from the Book of the SubGenius. Some SubGenii, however, immediately identified this as an act of fawning, and set to the same kind of public shaming I’ve dealt out to “Geo” for the past year. My ironic wit immediately engaged in a rapid-fire parody of the vicious cycle of rejection, but this “Satire and Parody fan club” seemed to have succumbed to dementia and failed to recognize the sarcasm. Sadly, I am now trapped in this cycle and any move will be interpreted as one of the four stages of Internet rejection.

“Keep telling yourself that, pinkboy.” ~ Rev. Ivan Stang

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