It seems to me that we laugh at the internet at our peril. Sure, it’s easy to scoff at seapunk, with its obligatory hashtag and its thalassic lexicon and its general air of being a big ol’ internet in-joke. (Indeed, we’ve been as guilty as anyone of doingexactlythat.) And more generally, it’s easy for critics of a certain vintage to assume that anything internet-based is transitory and lightweight and concerned with pictures of cats and not Serious Culture.
This is largely short-sighted and unwisely elitist. While it’s difficult to argue that anyone in 2050 will be looking fondly back at the halcyon days of seapunk as 2012′s crowning cultural glory, they’ll certainly be looking back at the glory days of something, and your guess is as good as ours as to what that something might be. One of the interesting effects of the internet on culture in general is that it’s both more connected and more fragmented than it’s ever been in the past. As our own Sophie Weiner argues here, seapunk touches on aspects of internet culture that are a lot more interesting than it is — and, just as importantly, these seem to be genuinely new things in an era where the genuinely new is more elusive than ever.