Starting immediately every Wednesday is now Mail Bag Wednesday. For those who may have skipped the reading comprehension lesson about context clues, every Wednesday I will be reading and responding to comments from the Modern Primate viewing audience.
I think it’s patently obvious to most, but I would consider myself a pretty huge nerd. Currently on my desk are knickknacks devoted to Doctor Who, Futurama, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. The amount of time I spend watching sci-fi movies pre-1980 is pretty staggering. I also have more graphic novels on my book shelf than regular novels, and that’s saying quite a bit. The point is, that I’m a nerd (or geek, or whatever you’d like to call it) and basically all through school it was evident to people who called me one, usually in the derogatory. I never had to prove how nerdy I was, nor did anyone. This is why it’s so increasingly ridiculous, now that “nerds” are more socially acceptable, that the term “geek cred” even exists. One’s entry into the “club” (another insane idea) should not be contingent on whether you like X, Y, and Z. What if I like X and Z, but Y is not my favorite? Am I shunned? Read More »
When people say racist things online, is it okay for bloggers to publicly ridicule them for it? What about when they’re minors? And how can you ever be sure they even are who they say they are in the first place?
This week, BuzzFeed’s Allison McCann posted a list of the 27 things you can’t do if you’re not on Facebook. Being on Facebook is just so important, apparently! The following is my list of the 27 reasons why I would beg to differ, and why my life is still better without it.
Sometimes I like to browse stock photos of people having fun — the more non-specific the better. I imagine what it must be like to be able to have such a good time simply by being around other people yet not really doing anything in particular. I wonder if maybe there’s something wrong with me for not being able to recognize the social cue that dictates when to give a friend a piggy back ride. I wonder what sort of people all decide to dress in beige at the same time. I wonder what sort of activity would require a group of people not dressed in any noticeable athletic garb to form a huddle.
Who are these people having so much non-specific fun and why can’t I join them?
I am not a part of the “Sea Punk scene.” I’m not entirely convinced that such a thing exists. Up until recently I was pretty sure that Sea Punk was just a thing that Lindsey Weber made up one day.
I admit that there are people making pictures that borrow some visual aesthetics from the early 90s — poorly rendered 3D computer graphics, symbols like the yin yang, peace sign, and smiley face, dolphins and mermaids. Shit that you’d see on Pogs, Trapper Keepers, and anything Lisa Frank. So there are these people who call themselves web artists and profess to make Sea Punk art. And then when people like Rihanna and Azealia Banks use similar aesthetics in their productions, these so-called Sea Punk web artists get all mad about being ripped off.
I’m very much an outsider to whatever this Sea Punk thing is. I haven’t gone to any great effort to study Sea Punk or become familiar with any of the notable works within the scene. I think my memories of things from my own childhood are probably all I need. From where I sit, as far as I can tell, Sea Punk is all about a certain kind of cynical engagement anyway. So I’m fairly certain that I can create Sea Punk art without having any working understanding from inside the scene. What I want, more than anything, is for a serious Sea Punk artist to tell me what my art and/or my perception of Sea Punk is lacking.
If we could only get everyone to use a persistent user identity then we could solve this whole online agression problem, right? As Randi Zuckerberg, sister to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg once put it:
“People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.”
Tracie Morrissey’s latest article for Jezebel provides a stark contrast to Zuckerberg’s assertion that persistent identity can act as a behavioral policing mechanism. In the article, Morrissey unapologetically names 12 teenagers who posted racist remarks about the President on Twitter. These 12 students willingly made rude remarks unprovoked, under their real names. None of them felt the need to hide behind any mask of anonymity.
To be clear, Tracie Morrissey published already-public information. All you need to do is search Twitter for the words “Obama” and “n****r” and you’ll find people saying offensive things. Some use pseudonyms. Others are fully comfortable doing so under their real names, and many of them are minors.
While nearly anyone is fully capable of using Twitter to find real-life racists being racist under their real names, Morrissey took vigilante justice into her own hands. In addition to their names, many of the teens also listed the schools they attended and the sports teams they played for. So Morrissey contacted the school administrators and coaches to report the students’ conduct. Simply alerting the administrators was reasonable enough, but the way Morrissey publicly shamed these minors is at the very least a moral gray area. Read More »
Hey panty-waists. Did you vote today? NO. I know you didn’t because I didn’t see you post any new Facebook status updates. You didn’t take a picture of your ballot and simul-post it to Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.
Well what’s wrong with you? You think you’re too good to tell people you voted? Well I voted. I voted the shit out of this election. I probably set a record for the most awesome voting ever.
So why didn’t you post about how you voted on your Facebook? Huh? I bet you didn’t even vote. Well listen up, Nancy. Me and my boys are going to come over there and kick your non-voting ass. Fuck you for not voting! Fuck you! I’ll fucking kill you for not voting! GOD I’M SO ANGRY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T VOTE. GOD DAMN IT! I JUST WANT TO ROUND UP EVERYBODY WHO DIDN’T VOTE AND FORCE THEM TO VOTE! I DON’T EVEN CARE WHO THEY VOTE FOR, THEY’RE FUCKING NANCIES FOR NOT VOTING! EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM! EVERY OTHER DAY OUT OF THE YEAR I’M TOLD I HAVE TO BE POLITE! I NEVER GET TO BE THE ASSHOLE THAT I WANT TO BE! I NEVER GET TO SHOW PEOPLE HOW ANGRY I AM SO I’M TAKING ADVANTAGE OF IT RIGHT NOW! IT’S MY TURN TO BE THE SANCTIMONIOUS ASSHOLE! OH MY GOD I’M SO FUCKING ANGRY WHY DIDN’T YOU VOTE WHY GOD DAMN IT FUCKING BALLS SHIT GOD
Earlier this week, Whitney appeared on an Australian current events television program to discuss her doctoral study on internet trolls and the role of the media in trolling narratives. Whitney appeared alongside self-proclaimed trolls Weev, Jaime Cochran, some guy named Steven, Information activist Asher Wolf, Joe Hildebrand of the Daily Telegraph, cyberbully-prosecuting lawyer Greg Walsh and others in this look inside the subject of trolls on the internet.
One point that all of the guests seem to agree on is that it doesn’t make sense to conflate harmless forms of trolling like Rickrolling with malicious cyberbullying and harassment. At one point Joe Hildebrand grows particularly frustrated with the broadly-ranging behaviors described as “trolling.” Soon after, at 23:21 Whitney interjects:
One of the things that I focused specifically on in my research is the relationship between mainstream media and trolling… trolling as a subculture would not exist were it not for the mainstream media interventions that have catapulted it to this extraordinarily visible behavioral category. Trolling is big business. It’s fantastic news for people in the mainstream media, so if we want to talk about trolls and why trolling is problematic — and I don’t deny that it is — we also have to talk about the way the media amplifies and gives a platform for these behaviors, and in fact, in some ways, sort or enables it.
[smash cut to commercial.]
Also, keep an eye out for the moment in the show when Weev says some lady is fat and her kid has autism. Video follows after the jump.