I really enjoyed Nathan Rabin's new piece on Clerks and Mallrats. But I take issue with one part:
Smith’s debut takes place in a world before the Internet, yet in its appealingly lo-fi, analog fashion, Clerks predicts what the Internet will become: a place where people with too much time on their hands trade dick jokes and observations about popular movies and television shows (specifically Star Wars, the subject of Clerks’ most famous and inspired riff), and exchange suspiciously honed and intricately worded insults regarding sexual preference.
I don't think Smith predicted what the internet would become, he made what it is. I saw Clerks and Mallrats in 1997. My friends and I saw ourselves in those movies. They became the framework we applied to our day-to-day life. We had so internalized the Smithian style, by the time we were all hooked into the internet we couldn't help but turn it into a land full of Randals and Banky's.
Smith's "style" is the heuristic Penny Arcade, Jonathan Coulton, and countless others have used to make their art.