e-Lit Resource
New Media Idiocy

Olga Goriunova’s notion of new media idiocy refers to a practice of earnest and deliberate idiocy within online communities. The new media idiot basically oversaturates certain aspects of platformed cultural production, which brings focus to the seams, rather than the seamlessness, of our (post-)Internet culture. Idiocy promises neither the defeat of an opposing viewpoint nor the triumph of one’s own, but the exploration of the unstable space between them. As a mode of thought as well as a mode of aesthetic production, new media idiocy actively engages with the productive apparatus of Internet culture, simultaneously relying on and reworking it. Importantly, the new media idiot is sincere in their idiocy, which is to say, sincere in their irony, their humor. The parody at play is not sustained by transgression, but by a kindness and a curiosity that does not imply mockery or dissociative parody. (Which is to say, new media idiocy instantiates a viable alternative to the transgressive irony of trolling.) New media idiocy offers a curious, kind, and critical exploration of the techno-ideological makeup of our current Internet culture, and performatively points to potentials for engaging in Internet culture without resorting to transgressive irony. A practice that does not necessarily grant the idiot power over the material layers of Internet culture, but which lets them navigate and affect them (ever so slightly, but still meaningfully).