Donald Glover's Take on The Internet & Feelings Will Reignite Your Nerd Crush
Despite the mountains of concern that poured from the Internet when Donald Glover shared his greatest doubts and fears with anyone who dared to check his Instagram, the rapper and actor has not shied away from returning to the fold. Thanks to the Internet, his role on Community became legend, his story as a 30 Rock writer turned indie celeb was everywhere, and he was able to sell out venues as his hip-hop alter ego Childish Gambino. In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Glover shares his thoughts on the Internet, Instagram, and the idea of sharing feelings that don't fit a picturesque social media ideal. And we've just fallen even deeper into our love for him.
Regarding his self-doubt-riddled Instagram post, Glover said, "After I wrote it, they were like, 'He's having a crisis,' or, 'He's being a drama queen.' Everybody tried to put it in this little box." He's speaking, of course, of headlines like "Donald Glover Posts Troubling Instagram Note" and "Donald Glover Reveals Dark Fears, Career Regrets in Disturbing Instagram Post." Shortly after his posts and the Internet's collective fear surrounding him went viral, Glover explained himself, hoping to shut down the chatter by explaining that — surprise — feelings are thing and they don't mean he's about to take an umbrella to a paparazzi's car or start peeing in mop buckets for all of the world to see.
Now, Glover explains further — though, again, he really shouldn't have to — how feelings work. "The moments of sadness need to be there in order to enjoy the moments of happiness. It's like a drug, where we can't feel for real anymore," he said. He's referring to the notion, largely created by social media and 24 hour access to the world, that if we're smiling 100 percent of the time, there's something seriously wrong. When Glover expressed himself, he poked a hole in the beautiful Internet facade we've all curated for ourselves. It's easier for us to assume that because he's famous, lives in L.A., has money and famous friends, that he's constantly on cloud nine. It's what we've been taught, so of course it's real.
Expressing the truth that it's not all meet-and-greets and celebrity power play freaks us out, and the "box" he spoke of makes things easier to digest. If feelings are "disturbing" then he's placed in the celeb meltdown line and we can all rest easy knowing we already know everything there is to know about him. That's what the Internet does: react to everything and file it into a category so everything can continue on just as it was.
And for someone whose very personal, candid emotions were treated so callously, Glover has surprisingly not revolted against the Internet, despite the seemingly ubiquitous understanding that his new album, Because the Internet is some sort of attack. "I am not like, 'Put your cellphone down, let's go back to reading books and having real conversations.' That's fucking lame and stupid and anybody who says that is fucking lame and stupid. The Internet is here."
Glover's take is unique in that so much of our discourse about how we use the Internet seems to hop on one side of a very black and white debate: either the Internet (social media, et al.) is ruining us as humans and it will be our downfall or people are just too stubborn to see how the Internet (social media, et al.) is changing everything for the better.
Glover takes a nuanced stance and one that is more realistic for the world we actually live in. We can't change the way that the kids these days, dagnabbit, use the Internet. We can't make Millenials get off of their smartphones or read a book that's not downloaded onto a tablet. We can't change anything because it's already become the norm. What we can do is accept the new world as it is and try to navigate it with an understanding of what it means to be human — like Glover attempted to do by sharing his feelings so openly with his followers.
If it's easier for you to place Glover in a box of outspoken celebrity weirdos, than fine. Do your thing. After all, he knows full well that he can't stop you. But the rest of us will be over here, thinking with our brains (and not knee-jerk Twitter outbursts) about what he said and thinking about how genuinely refreshing — and not in the sense that every non-terrible thing a celebrity does is "refreshing" — his perspective is on our life now that it's inextricably tied to that almighty and very dirty word, the Internet.