The Internet is in mourning.
The Toast, beloved source of all things that are good, is shuttering today, July 1.
The Toast was so many things (IS! it will still exist, preserved in amber, for generations of Internet explorers to marvel at): a bastion of feminism and humor, one of the few sites on the Internet where reading the comments is like taking a warm and delightful bubble bath rather than jumping into a vat of acid, your one-stop shop for hilarious commentary on medieval art. But I think fundamentally the best thing about the Toast was that it did in a very specific and delightful way what the whole Internet was supposed to do: it made you feel less alone.
That is what the Internet is for, at its best. All the Likes and Retweets and Shares are ultimately to say, yeah, I saw it, too.
The Toast was the conversation that you have afterwards in the car to make sure someone else heard the same thing. It was the moment that you casually off-handed something accidentally referenced in conversation and someone first said, “Hold up, are you talking about [exactly what you’re talking about, something you thought no one else had ever heard or seen],” but multiplied hundreds of times.
The Toast was a wonderful beacon of Not Being Alone: if you wanted to laugh at Western Art or savor Dirtbag Hamlet or Hey Ladies or Dad Magazine or know what would happen if X were your Y or enjoy the Two Monks inventing Art or know whether or not you were in an E. M. Forster novel or — or — or — there is SO MUCH! But if I just listed great things written on the Toast I would start sobbing and this piece would balloon in length until its pixels wrapped around the sun.
Hillary Clinton may have already said this in her post. (Note to Hillary Clinton: Enough! First Hamilton, now this? Stop finding the things I like and making a big point of liking them so that people will know you are Okay! That was supposed to be my entire personality!)
But in all seriousness, I’ve always felt that the greatest potential of the Internet is to reward you for being your weirdest, most honest, most particular self. “I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing,” goes the line from [title of show], “than one hundred people’s ninth favorite thing.” That was what the Toast was, and why so many people loved it so fiercely. The Toast was proof that you can build a whole community around that One Weird Thing that speaks to you.
It was there to say: Be your weirdest, truest self. Say the strange thing you really mean, make the joke that will fizzle in the big room but make one person in a corner guffaw for weeks afterward. That is how you find your people. That is what the Internet can be.
Thank you, Toast.