The Trollocaust and Feminazi Twitter Drama Explained in Context
Twitter is this unique social space that brings vastly different (and sometimes insular) Internet cultures together, and when this happens, the culture clash creates crazy Internet drama like yesterday’s “trollocaust,” dubbed so by the trolls, hackers and Anonymous-affiliates who felt they were under attack by “feminazis” hellbent on muffling their freedom of expression. Neither group has any business with the other, but here they are, operating on the same platform and pissing each other off. Maybe it’s time they went their separate ways. They don’t understand each other anyway. One’s harassment is another member’s way of showing love.
On Monday, dark web counter culture folk who follow rules and etiquette birthed from places like 4chan, Something Awful and Usenet found themselves at the mercy of older women who did not grow up with the Internet and viewed their obnoxious 4chan ways as if they were a foreign language. More than 45 accounts of people associated with Anonymous and activists were suspended as a result of this clash. The feminists lost only one, the twitter account for a blocking app used by feminists and atheists. The suspensions began after four women reported harassment, sadly still a common occurrence across most of the Internet, to Twitter.
If a woman (or a man) was being harassed, including with death and rape threats, on 4chan or a place operating under similar rules, the way to get the abuse to stop would be to come up with a witty retort preferably from the weird Internet society handbook of inside jokes and circle-jerkery. This witty retort can also be an offensive remark meant to disgust and upset the abuser, like making light of the Holocaust, questioning the abusers sexual orientation, gender, religion, whatever will upset the abuser to admit defeat. Besting the abuser in argument intellectually works as well, but a weak comeback can and will result in more abuse. One does not make controversial or unpopular statements in a 4chan-like place without the power of their convictions, and the last thing one wants to do is to lose their cool, get mad and contact the moderators or Internet police. Saying you will do so is taken as a sign you want and or need more harassment. New users in these web communities are generally hazed with abuse to ensure they can handle the madness that is the community, and are expected to speak in this coded way if they want to stay a part of the community. This code includes racist, misogynistic, antisemitic, homophobic and over the top offensive language and jokes despite many in the community being black, homosexual, feminist and Jewish.
Twitter is different. Twitter is not 4chan or the deep web, and will never be 4chan and the deep web– Twitter even has rules and tools in place to prevent it from being so, like the block button that eliminates the need for the person being harassed to best the harasser in any sort of argumentative exchange. A woman, especially an older woman, is not on Twitter to get into a face-off of “who is more offensive” or to find out who has a more logically sound argument, nor does she have time for such juvenile games. She uses Twitter for a completely different reason than the young male that frequents 4chan. To her, the slur “feminazi” is offensive, misogynistic and reminiscent of Rush Limbaugh, and a term she does not use ironically or in an attempt to “take it back” like younger feminists on the micro-blogging network. She does not get that she is being tested, because no one gave her the memo. Death threats and words like “trollocaust” are offensive to the woman, nay, most users on Twitter of both genders, because they don’t know they’re supposed to be offended by the term. They did not get this memo either. People on Twitter are not on the platform to condition themselves to bombastic and offensive statements or take a crash course in how to withstand cyber-bullying. Many of them are genuinely incapable of handling offensive language on a screen and when they see it, they will report it whether or not they understand the context. In the rules dictated in the Twitter space, it is not normal to receive death and rape threats, and people who make such threats are reported to the authorities or in this case, the Twitter police. The Twitter police actually do their jobs in Twitterland, and if they find someone violating their rules, they will suspend said user. These are the rules of Twitter, and by Twitter’s own inclusive nature, are very different from 4chan-like etiquette. 4chan’s 10 year old codex is rebellious, alienating, cultish and strange while Twitter’s is more akin to civil and mainstream society by design. Twitter is its own web place and can do what they want.
Which brings us to the “trollocaust:” the 4chan game cannot be played on Twitter because not everyone knows the rules. Even if all users do know these crazy Internet society rules, they may not want want to play by them, and it is unfair to subject them to the game because outside of the 4chan context the game appears quite rude with players mostly bigots. The game only works if everyone knows they are playing, and since not everyone is playing, everyone loses.
So what’s a troll, Anonymous affiliate or follower of deep web etiquette and humor to do? Go elsewhere, maybe even back to 4chan and Something Awful. Anywhere but Twitter, because Twitter doesn’t want you, and you just lost the game. No one likes a loser.
Or, you know, make your accounts private and communicate however you see fit with your peers.
… except she just outed herself as a troll around 1am, CST. My headline is misleading, but hopefully you are still reading.
On March 13th, youtube user tamtampamela (identified by the internet as Pamela Foreman) made a video saying the tsunami happened because she prayed for god to prove his existence to atheists, and days later struck Japan. Pam goes on to say she is overjoyed by the magnitude of God’s response, and hopes God will steer his wrath to America soon, since there’s tons of atheists here. The video has approximately half a million views (link is original video, but as of 2am, LaughAloneTV has a copyright claim on it) and tons of hateful comments , including calls for her rape or other forms of violent retribution.
Richard Dawkins’ site linked the video, Scallywag & Vagabond call her “crazy”, Vanity Fair called her response inappropriate (link includes racist UCLA girl), Project Armannd calls her a psychopath (and also links to additional WWII-Karma-on-Japan comments), Miami New Times blog takes a swig at her (and advocates interpretive dance), Perez Hilton claims the video made him sick, and a bunch of bloggers, youtubers and atheist forum users also weigh in on the matter, all outraged.
The internet went on to find Pamela’s “real life” information, and posted her address and phone number all over the internet (but that info might be fake? She might really be named Tamar Boehm?). If one watched more than one of tamtampamela’s other videos, it becomes clear that Pamela is trolling. Some folks on the internet were not astute enough to make this connection, or sought to punish Pamela because you can’t make light of the Japanese earthquakes and tsunami, even if it was to make a point about how the extremely religious believe God works on their behalf against their enemies. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently in the Chicago art world, a Muslim artist had her exhibit on Muslim hate crimes defaced with a robot and a speech bubble. The Chicago media is abuzz with the words “hate crime”, and the Muslim community is even asking the FBI to get involved in the investigation. I write over on Chicago Art Magazine:
The most common comment on the internet about this incident has dealt with the irony of the defacement ( “doing it for the lulz” explained here). The same people leaving these comments are the very same disrespectful teenage to twenty-something males that run around saying “Why So Serious” (even a Wall Street Journal blogger has used this phrase) or making those funny cat pictures everyone loves. I hesitate to call this a “hate crime” because the drawing of robots and speech bubbles on a piece of art don’t fit the definition of a hate crime: a criminal offense committed against a person or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age or religion.
A robot does not strike me as anti-Muslim, in so much as “anti-human”. A robot is not a swastika or a white hooded “KKK” member. What if this wasn’t about hatred at all, but just some jerk move by another artist? What if the vandal wanted to contribute to the work by saying any one who says these things about Muslims is a Fox News robot? Calling this a hate crime without proof of intention reminds me of the “possible hate crime” story about a Jewish man that was mugged. He wasn’t mugged because he was Jewish, he was mugged because he was alone, old, and an easy target. I buy my Fox News Robot theory over the supposed Hate Crime theory. The robots don’t seem like “marks of hate” but ones of arrogance and trolling. Was this troll bothered and angered by her hate wall? I think they were probably bored by its “seriousness” and felt like causing some drama/humor.
And because I couldn’t embed this video over there in my pep talk to the defaced artist, I am going to do it here: