In, “No One Is Talking About This” Patricia Lockwood pens an autobiography that explores the life of an unnamed female protagonist who rises to fame because of a viral social media post, named, “can a dog be twins” (13). Although nothing about her is revealed before the viral post, her relationship with her father and other siblings is deftly annotated by strain and moderation respectively. Her hatred for American dictatorial characters, which she attributes to fascism and the masses’ impiety, inflexibly veers her to a serious personal reflection.
The novel follows the story of a female social media idol, who rises to fame for posting a viral post in the portal. During this time, the protagonist still exhibits her concerns about stability in America, mainly because of increased autocracy. She posts the viral video as she concerns herself with political thoughts about the USA. Her post results in several invites across the globe, where she is tasked to discuss the Internet aka “The Portal”. Her tour across the globe leads her to appreciate how different countries viewed the USA.
She is also provoked to hate the police like anyone in the portal after a series of racially motivated attacks and feels there is a connection between fascism and American dictatorship. She also wonders why there are countless mass shooting incidents in the USA compared to Europe. She later watches a video that makes her question her comments and activity in the portal. She also questions her father’s perspectives about dictatorship and worries inflexibly about the problem facing the USA. As a result, she considers taking the time of the portal but finds it difficult even after hiding her phone away and giving her husband the codes.
She realizes how deep the portal had drawn her and isolated her from the self. In the Jamaican tour, she encounters other portal users who remember her, and she is astonished at the eccentric damage occasioned by the portal. The protagonist spends the last days in the book thinking about her niece, suffering from a deadly ailment, and wondering about the noxious effects of the portal.
The novel strongly revolves around several social problems. Critical among the concerns are the distrustful and immersive nature of social media platforms. The author poses a question about the utility of the portal when it is clear that they are antithetical to the stability of the country. She resigns from thinking that she is a hero in the internet age and realizes eventually that the portal represents a destructive force to her freedoms, identity, and even the masses. After she seriously ponders about her contribution to the internet, she is deeply disturbed by the realization that she is part of the problem.
Yet, she is unable to divorce from the addiction that rocks her life. Essentially, Lockwood uses the protagonist’s life to mock the utility and detrimental effects of social media platforms. She presents these mediums in a naturalistic light, seeking to unravel their destructive capacities. The author vividly demonstrates the pettiness of the platforms. There is no logic to the point why someone would become famous overnight for posting a senseless post. Social media appeals to hoards of idle youth, who spend countless hours immersed in its dynamic without realizing how destructive it is to their identity and creativity. At one time, she ponders about the hate as well as the grotesque pictures in the portal.
“What did it mean that she was allowed to see this?” (8). Also, the author paints a picture of a portal that encourages social injustices and inequalities. At one time, the protagonist watches a very disturbing video that appears to hail a “Nazi rally” (57). During this rally, a white supremacist runs over a protest rally killing a woman. A question that lingers on the protagonist’s mind is why such hateful online content should be let loose in the present age. Nevertheless, Lockwood’s portrayal of social media platforms is not farfetched from reality. She represents facts as they are and competently demonstrates the other side of the portal that no one is willing to question or even talk about.
The excesses of social media platforms are not the only social problem that the author is willing to confront. She also infers that one of the non-intended effects of social media activities includes the rise of unrestrained autocracy. The country was being governed by a “dictator” (4). As the novel begins the protagonist professes her fear of political instability in the country.
But there is also parallelism and a twist because immediately after she delves into the portal to post her infamous post, she seriously considers the instability rocking the USA. The power of the post to influence countless souls without a course represents the unhinged powers of the portal. It turns out as an impediment that scourges democracy and brightens autocracy. The protagonist contemplates the autocratic regime that has invaded the country, in a time that she is pondering about her involvement in social media.
She disputes the power of the portal by acknowledging its role in promoting bad leadership. In media res, she reviles the fact that the masses have grown a large appetite for the fate that befalls them.
The masses are simply accomplices in the bad turn of events. It is not a surprising opinion, for the globe is a principal witness to the fateful political decadence ailing the populace. Bad leadership is vividly a reflection of the masses, whether implicitly or explicitly. For example, when the masses in the protagonist world abandon constructive engagement in social media platforms, they allow simplistic and destructive ideas that necessitate political violence and autocracy. Consequently, autocracy and police complacence reigns supreme.
In summary, Lockwood ingeniously explores the life of a woman captured in the destructive tentacles of social media platforms. She uses the opportunity to demonstrate the misgivings of the platforms in the quest for personal and political progress. The social media platforms turn out as the conveyor belt to radicalization, political violence, and autocracy.