In a way, the Twitter-Dril is, quite literally, the internet. As the poet Patricia Lockwood put it, Dril is “the anonymous psycho of the comments box. He has been banned from every forum. He is all-present, and nothing-knowing.” Dril’s oeuvre is almost epic in its polyvocal scope, the Greek tragic chorus reimagined as the below-the-line comments section.
Chatwin, for his part, cannot possibly have been the internet in this sense; he was, after all, a real man in a real body, a body that was for a time strong, and wiry, and which everyone who knew him says was physically beautiful until he got sick, and his body was reduced to a skeleton with his eyes bulging out of the skull. His eyes were the only part of him that really seemed to have been left alive; his voice strange and high and strained, unable to walk on legs that Herzog describes as being like “spindles.”
Moreover, there is nothing about Chatwin’s writing that may strike readers as resembling the comments section. Chatwin first experienced literary success with In Patagonia, his account of his journey to the southernmost reaches of the Americas, inspired by a piece of skin from a giant sloth that his grandmother had been sent from the region by her cousin, and that she kept in a “cabinet of curiosities” that Chatwin was fascinated by as a child. Tests