Online discourse is obsessed with emotion and subjectivity, the tiny precise gradients of affect. Endless essays on anger (ours: valid, justified, full of moral urgency) (theirs: invalid, brutal, festering with hatred), shock, outrage, upset, trauma, and hurt. It's a very impressive show, but it's a distraction, a piece of performance art. The real function is to frantically cover up the fact that most of the time, most of us feel nothing at all. Screens burn holes through our brains and shrivel our genitals. You sit alone in a room. You look for things to upset you.
The person who types "lol" is never actually laughing; the person who types I'M SCREAMING is silently dabbing at a screen. In the same way, the person who is perpetually shocked and outraged and brimming with righteous fury is almost always lying to themselves. They're as affectless as the rest of us: play-acting, downloading synthetic emotions, and then passing them on.
Painted masks are on all sides. Sad face, surprised face, crying-laughing face, smirking-demon face -- but the eyes are black beads, and lifeless.