title: Boys From the Internet That Have Broken My Heart
creator: Chloe Kenning
date: January 2012 (or thereabouts)
The novelty of this zine is that she narrates it completely within hand-drawn AIM and OkCupid chat windows. Reading it in that format made me reminisce of how popular the AIM platform used to be and how it no longer is. In its quarter-sized pages , she doesn’t actually reproduce the original chats, but she does use username handles at the top of the window to indicate the boy-subject at hand. Whether or not they’re the original handles, we don’t know.
Each boy is talked about in summary, from their significance to her and where they met (usually in punk chat rooms) to the unsatisfactory ending between them. Often it seems that the underlying problem is the promising false connection that develop for her and the guys. In a virtual world where anonymity provides an opportunity for candid openness, it equally leaves room to obfuscate and deceive. She spends hours having heart-to-heart chats with each one of them but seems to often lie about her age, both to them and in the chat rooms. And the boys, although seemingly one way on the internet, sometimes turn out to be a contrast to their virtual persona when she meets them in person.
Fundamentally, it illustrates how the increasing presence of a virtual community in our everyday lives affects a new dimension of our emotional dependence. Through the internet, we form friendships and bonds with people continents away. Sometimes with very strong emotional bonds and attachments that cause simultaneous connection and disconnection in their inherent physical distance, no matter the emotional proximity.
The last pages don’t end with a light at the end of the tunnel, something I liked. Not because of some rooted pessimism within me, but because of the constant pressure people feel to end on an upturn or with a lesson learned: this need for finding the silver lining behind every sad or remotely unsatisfactory experience. Sometimes things just happen a certain way and knowing/acknowledging that they do can be a comfort in itself.
sipping: dark roast coffee