Rule 34 of the Internet: There is porn of it. No exceptions.
As a seasoned traveler of the land of the internet, I am no stranger to Rule 34. I assume neither are any of you, dear galleons. One of the largest and most pervasive internet memes, it crops up everywhere.
But… where did this terrifying rule come from?
It’s commonly believed that Rule 34 is part of a larger list of internet rules, with dear number 34 just being the most memorable entry. There are multiple versions of this longer list floating about, and it’s true that Rule 34 is always the same.
What most people don’t realize is that Rule 34 itself predates all of these lists.
So, where did this mysterious Golden Rule come from? Its origin story lies with a British schoolteacher named Peter Morley-Souter.
When dear Peter was but a boy, he (like many youngins) enjoyed writing his own comics, finding a great deal of inspiration in the classic Calvin and Hobbes. Peter would write out humorous little scripts (often about video games or everyday situations he encountered), and his sister, Rose, would draw the comics. Peter was no Jeph Jacques or John Allison. His audience was much smaller, consisting of his friends and the occasional individual who found his work on the internet. And he never became a big deal, comic-wise- he actually stopped writing his little comics, abandoning his youthful hobby as he got older.
But before he gave it up completely, he created a monster.
It was 2003, and 16-year-old Peter received an email that, by his own account, traumatized him. It was a fanmade Calvin and Hobbes strip in which the titular characters where having sex with Calvin’s mother.
“I knew there was a lot of sex on the Internet. But Calvin and Hobbes?” Poor Peter couldn’t handle the horror (though I can all-but-guarantee you lot have seen much, much worse). And so, he created a little reactionary comic.
Here is it, folks. This is where it all began:
Peter posted the image on the web… and the rest is history. While the comic itself dropped off the radar, its message became the sordid slogan of the zeitgeist.
And there you have it. The origin of Rule 34.
Peter, you magnificent bastard. Thank you. And burn in hell.