Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Pincushion of the week

I started an add-on to my previous post with the words "On an unrelated note, let's ponder with wonder and amazement the fact that this managed to become a featured video on Youtube. Slow week, boys?", thinking that there was too little going on to justify devoting an entire post to this. How wrong I was, but this certainly isn't the first time I've underestimated my fellow man's capacity for just sheer, gratuitously coarse insanity. A young girl who claims to be 18 (I'm skeptical about that) posts a video to Youtube stating something that would have been a platitude when I was her current age, talking about the importance of not just believing what one is told. She does seem to take herself terminally seriously, but remember yourself at that age. Probably, you were doing a little of that yourself. What I hope you weren't doing was responding to a provocation that mild with wishes that somebody would be killed or threats of rape, accompanied by graphic sexual suggestions directed toward somebody who either is a minor or was one in the recent past.

While I initially teased her a little, I found myself regretting my decision to do so very quickly. I've seen online mobs like hers in action before, and I can definitely understand her anger. Here's her post:

And you knew there was going to be a sequel, right? Hope you enjoy the word "f**k", because she uses it a lot. Not that I don't sympathize as she talks about the idiocy of netizens, but she did bring a little of this on herself.

Maybe. She's 18, isn't she? Meaning that she came of age during the "self esteem based education" era? Hmmm, maybe there's a context in that which I haven't been picking up on. What you're seeing is a repost of a followup video which AngryLittleGirI deleted, though the comments for her video are still up. I definitely am not supportive of the title this other user attached to the repost, and will be asking for permission to repost this one myself, with a far more respectful blurb attached.

For those craving more of her writing, rumor holds that this is her blog and here is her YouTube profile, for those who wish to enjoy a little more postadolescent bitterness. Either way, have fun, preferably with aspirin bottle in hand. But Jessica, that's OK. This is normal for those your age.

One can say much the same about reading many of the replies she has received, at least as far as the aspirin goes (in its hatred, the response went well beyond what would be understandable at any age), but at least one case (this video by HippyOrGTFO the teasing stayed good spirited instead of descending into the gutter and at least one of them (this one by Lehrane, strictly speaking a response to one of the responses) seemed genuinely sweet.

But then there were those that were genuinely psychotic, like this one by somebody named Joyce. You can actually watch this depraved little girl express a hope that the target of her misplaced rage will kill herself, merely for having expressed opinions that she didn't like and having called a group of trolls on Youtube "retards" for no better reason that the fact that they were acting like retards. Truth hurts, Joyce?

If I seem a little slow to comment in YouTube in the future, this is why. This was like returning to the bad old days of Usenet. I like the fact that Google is not as eager to shoot first and ask questions later as some providers, but there is such a thing as having too much of a good thing, even when the good thing is tolerance. Somebody who posts a threat that he will stalk, rape and kill a poster not only is not entitled to state that in the forum of his choice, he isn't even entitled to be outside of a prison cell at that point where, one might well hope, he might gain a little added perspective on the crime of rape. Somebody being piled up on does not need to be teased at such a moment, because one can count on that moment to have driven away her sense of humor. What Google has done is create a kind of Usenet in a can, back in the days when the vileness of Usenet was fresh and young, and psychiatric outpatients of all descriptions were still excited about it.

I've had that experience, in fact I think that most of us did, because it's a big part of where political correctness came from, and wasn't that a magical experience to go through? I don't think I need to have that experience again. I've posted rebuttals in a few places because I remember the experience of having been the one ganged up on, and nobody should have to face that unsupported, if only because nobody should ever be left wondering if the whole world has gone insane. If anybody actually reads this blog and they'd like to do something decent, do a search, find the videos where this girl is being attacked and give her some backup, because she doesn't deserve what she has been getting. But beyond that, if Google is going to let the comments section of Youtube turn into a cesspool, I think that they should be taught that eventually nobody but a piece of s**t is going to want to swim there.

IF I ever post to Youtube, I will always do so with comments disabled and will shun the discussions, aside from offering support to those deserving it during this sort of drama, and not even that very often. Trolls gain more attention and power than they would otherwise enjoy because there is content that others would enjoy reading, enticing them to come look. The paradox of a troll dominated forum, then, is that if the trolls win, they lose, because soon after they drive off all of the sane posters, they will run out of readership. One enters such a discussion to reaffirm the values of civil society and leave a needed reminder that they are being breached as wakeup call to those being lulled into acceptance of what they are seeing, but then one departs, having implicitly reminded others that they ought to do so as well. This is the victory one seeks in such a place. Idiots are as free-willed as anybody else; you can't force them to be anything other than what they are, so you have to accept that they will be in the majority where they have gathered when you depart, but you can help make the virtual territory they hold onto become worthless.

That's how you win.

Addendum, August 14,17. In case you were wondering how somebody was holding up, this is the harassee's response to the drama. She seems to be in good spirits.

Though not too good to break a hippy's heart. Jessica, how could you? We see the man scarfing down a tub of what I can only hope is Ben and Jerry's, drowning his sorrows in lactose ... sorry, I just have to log off now ... it's so sad. What does "emo" mean?