About Syntax

Syntax is a magazine about culture and the Internet.

Digital media promised us new modes of reading. Instead, we got sound bites and “which One Direction member should you date” quizzes. Scrolling online became an experiment in self-defense: we’re bombarded by paywalls and pop-up ads, lured by A/B tested headlines and microtrend pieces. 

Then we looked to the academy in earnest, but came back empty-handed. Internet culture could never be a ‘serious’ discipline, just as alien in media studies seminars as in computer science lectures. 

Off to the masses. Legacy media presents only a milquetoast imitation of the page. The commentariat bemoans the death of print, the death of the essay, the death of criticism. They blame an illiterate public, frizzled by Twitter and TikTok. We are not unsympathetic; these are our friends and heroes, whose writing we pass back and forth, whose sensibilities trickle into our own.

But no one writes how we read. In chat rooms, comment sections, forums, personal blogs. The video essay, the playlist, Tumblr collage—these forms are as familiar to us as the novel, film, and album.Their words would never reach the true citizens of the internet: the 16-year-old meme page admins, the forum trolls, the YouTube video essayists. 

So we go back to the blog. Repurpose the zine. We’re sending our reply using the grammar of the internet.