The big news of the internet is obviously Gawker v. Reddit, in which Gawker writer Adrian Chen outed one of the biggest “curators” of questionable content on Reddit, including Jailbait (posting pictures of underage girls) and Creepshots (users submit pictures of unsuspecting w0men in public for the purpose of sexual gratification), among others. What have we learned from this debacle? Well, one, that anything you voluntarily post on the internet is never anonymous (how long have we ever been saying that?) and America needs to be educated about what “Freedom of Speech” means. In our current stance, people think it means “I should be able to say whatever I want, anywhere, without consequences.” Let’s all go back to high school civic class, shall we? Luckily, this article in Bitch magazine lays it all out better than any way I could have. For me, it boils down to this:
No, these are people conflating freedom of speech with freedom from accountability, the wounded privileged who are outraged, OUTRAGED that you don’t get a free pass, particularly on the Internet, to be sexist, racist, bigoted, offensive, and also completely private. Like Dr. Laura and Imus and Rush Limbaugh, these are not people who want free speech. What they want is to be able to do and say whatever ugly, hateful nonsense they please, and not have to engage with the equally free speech of those who point out that what they’re doing and saying makes the world just that much shittier for everyone to live in.
Speaking of freedom to express, a woman named Michelle Lapidos is making a splash across the internet to her punnily titled “Before And Afro” in which she wears a black afro out and about to chronicle people’s reactions and how it empowers her and makes her feel. Her crowning achievement is when when wears the afro wig to a warehouse party in Bushwick, Brooklyn and observes:
I twirled through a beautiful palette of blacks, browns, beiges, peaches and milky caramels, painting my world with richness. With spice! My afro—and all the magic it made me feel—fit right in here seamlessly. I became especially enamored of the thick and glamorous dos around me, and with that, they became the primary subject of my photos that day.
I am infuriated by this whole blog post, which, to my opinion, reeks of ignorance. This white woman puts on a Halloween store wig and claims to know the black experience? Or, what’s more, is enchanted by the experience? Guess what, you can take off the wig at the end of the day and avoid the racism, violence, and oppression.
To play devil’s advocate, this is her experience and she is chronicling her experience as she experiences is. It’s her blog, for god’s sake, she’s not trying to claim fact about anything. Ok. Sure. Fine. But she HAS to know that this is going to offend a lot of people- and if she puts it out there on the internet, she should be prepared to engage in the criticism.
Ultimately, she tries to apologize, but in my opinion, makes it so much worse. Firstly, she pulls the old “I’ll apologize for offending people, not for what I did.” Secondly, she opens up her blog to a discussion of Black Women’s hair. Um, thank you? I am sure there are already spaces for discussion for that. Thirdly, she decides to make things better by sporting a blond afro. Missing the point much?
I suppose that bringing these conversations to light is always good, although internet commenters are not known to be the most rational conversationalists. However, this would be a better conversation if she, for one, didn’t display pictures of her with black people trying to pose in street poses.
But, the joke’s on us, she will be getting a six figure book deal.
But let’s not be totally negative- on the positive side of the internet, it allows for some magical, fantastic artistic xspression. Without the internet, we would not be able to experience the beauty of philrotica- a blog dedicated to fan fiction about Phil Collins:
“This is where I come to be alone,” said Phil Collins, offering her a burly, silky arm, and leading her to the window. “Much like when I recorded my 1993 album ‘Both Sides‘, on which I actually played all the instruments myself. Including the bagpipes.”
“Isn’t that the album of which you’re most proud?” asked Alison, consulting her smartphone. Phil Collins gazed out of the window and there was a long silence.
“Such a lukewarm reception by the critics,” murmured Phil Collins, tracing a finger over her bare shoulder, and letting it play across her pillowy, rose-coloured lips, as she sighed and arched her neck. “I’ll never understand it.”
“Are you hungry?” asked the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee suddenly. “We still haven’t eaten.” He turned and seized the corner of a purple silk cloth, whipping it off the trestle table. In the moonlight, Alison counted fourteen trays of identical white, semicircular delicacies. Their smell left her in no doubt.
Patrick Bateman would be ecstatic (very nsfw work video):
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What would the internet be without cute animal videos? I can’t stop watching this video of hoarded ducks who experience water for the first time. They go from “hey, this is terryfying” to “omg I fucking love water!” and it is the best thing I’ve said all week.
And, as promised, the best animated gifs of the week.
Expensive restaurants…geesh…am I right?
My response whenever someone criticizes me: