Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Web trolling, publishing abuse, online satanism and the late Amanda Todd

James Rhodes had written this article in The Daily Telegraph, which I have been reading online a few days every week to every day over the last few years.

James Rhodes article, The Daily Telegraph: "In defence of trolls: the fearless internet sages who bring us the truth at the expense of personal hygiene."

The article humourously, though with some serious basis also, supports the internet troll. It is not an intellectual article by its bare words themselves in any degree, but, if it was intended to make any sense, it is partly a paean that uses surreal humour to be provocative and bring light upon a current social issue of importance. These kind of things can be important, especially at times when politic in bare print itself may be likely to turn to have all the value above the water of a coffin in a sea burial.

(Lots of digression ... yawns perhaps ... but I guess a good part of what a genuine Weblog - personal diary for self and others - is ...) James Rhodes is not someone whom I know, but someone who I met a long time ago and knew superficially, briefly long before he became famous as a pianist. This was when he had decided to try to study music full time after school, and before he threw in his stride on the serious route to become a concert pianist and became a full time stockbroker for years. I remember his enthusiasm to live as a pianist, the desire to make it his life and paying, and playing to so many, "as many as possible" he said.

Unfortunately, James was at the wrong place, the place where I unfortunately found I had ambled along to, half or mostly in sleep after school, Edinburgh University. Despite this institution's apparent amazing international reputation, when a number of international study lists place it within the top 50 and top 30 universities of the world in recent years, as of my time there, this is a very false reputation indeed. (It held a similar reputation and ranking then in national terms, before the days of alleged international college comparison charts, the place was usually ranked 3 or 4 in The UK, Edinburgh, Durham and Warwick being the three alleged Oxbridge pretenders. In the case of Edinburgh at least, pretence was all there was to do with it. This was at a time before the London University colleges made the so-called "top 5" much.) Luckily James realised well before I did how this place was just not right by some large distance, and a facade, and left within a few weeks of coming up to stay.

Due to my slowness, and being fooled by the Scottish "foundation year" system (or Level 0 in 1st year), as Scottish students begin tertiary education at 17, after only 6 years of secondary level schooling, I had to grin and bear the bloody ****hole for four years. When one gets to a certain distance of a four year project, pulling out can seem to become a rather fatal option for one's imagined future. Nowadays, what can seem worse than that four year perseverance is putting with the ridiculous smiles of people who seem to know the place (or know something strange) when you reply to their question saying that that is where you "studied". (That last verb is not appropriate for any 2:1 "degree" I know about which they issued in my time, or indeed any result of "degree", hence the quotation marks. But what else is there to say?)

A natural disclaimer is that it was sometime ago that I was at the institution, the company claiming itself as a university. And that in these latter times, I cannot claim to know what the place may be like. While I must say, I wouldn't bet a single cent, penny, dinar or even sostinki (or whatever the worlds lowest value coin by dollar exchange value) on the reputation of the place being anyway accurate or true whatsoever. I am one of the tiny, tiny minority who speak. Vastly most will never nor entertain a true reply to what I speak of.

Whether or not all of that is interesting, and I am very pleased I wrote it and it does have a social value though will probably be read by a handful of people only, ever (who will probably believe none of it), it is nothing to do with the main subject of this post.


Anyway (!) ... ... it is significant that an article about the value of agressive, perhaps destructive Web network commenting (whether in social media or wherever) is written today. It is published during a time of strangeness in that and a time of social worry about what it all means and if the medium itself is wrong. (I never understand the latter notion, but so many think the problem is with Facebook, Myspace etc. and not the people who write things on these blank noticeboards or even what they write. One supposes there are many people out there who will use any excuse to swing arguments against enterpreneurs legally resting upon the millions of pounds they have made.)

So, in response, I thought it was very relevant to move from the article to talk about the very sad Amanda Todd occurrence in a town by Vancouver, Canada.

Ms. Todd killed herself last week. She made a video before she did that and published it in the Web and you can see it now in Youtube:

Amanda Todd's video in Youtube

The video explains how her life had become unbearable as the victim of bullying, being hounded by a mob who intentionally, fervently drove her to suicide after a previous, unsucessful attempt she had made that became well known and a source of mockery. The mob was not going to settle for an unsuccessful attempt, it seems.

Here is my response to James Rhodes' seemingly humorous defence of the internet troll.


After James Rhodes, The Telegraph: "In defence of trolls: the fearless internet sages who bring us the truth at the expense of personal hygiene"

(You may find this text in a reader comment after the article on its webpage, which is how it started life.)

This article is quite funny, in the realm of rather surreal humour. In the parts of that which have a genuine foundation, it is borne of a good smidgen of a valid point in the validity of trolling, combined with a very natural reaction against the prevailing modern day, thoughtless, threatening, pseudo-fascist "establishmentarianism". (Blue rinsers with attitude and no idea of subjectivism arise before 37 weeks nowadays and appear at birthing, coming in either sex variety, and not more exclusively at around 52 years like in the old days. Every age and walk of life is included, in each gender.). That culture is so widespread and in every thing you can do, every place you can look. And it seems if you have not laid your knife and fork correctly today, even when eating at home alone, you will suffer for it on the bus or somewhere else soon enough. Or if you have laid your knife and fork correctly, for the nouveau establishmentarianism is a facade, and a facet of something bigger.

Therefore, I must enjoy the angle Mr. Rhodes has taken in humour.

However, there are very serious issues indeed, of course. And I don't know if Mr. Rhodes was aware of what seems to be the unfortunate timing of his article being published, subsequent to the suicide of young Canadian woman Amanda Todd.

I was very annoyed two days ago, watching the touching "suicide video" which the young woman made. This was a personal film made just being Ms. Todd was finally hounded to her death in conditions that very few, young, sensitive people who would never cave in to join the lynch group mob against them, could have coped with. It can be seen in Youtube (search with the name).

The thing is that the bullies have not stopped with her death. Nowadays, unfortunately, one may expect a few comments saying the woman deserved to die - comments without any foundation in sense as the alleged reason for her bullying was simply that she allowed herself to be seduced by a young man who had a girlfriend at the time. These kind of comments are par for the course in today's world, usually in small numbers.

Most people posting in the Youtube page who do actually say she should not have been bullied still claim that the young woman "made a mistake" and "anyone can make a mistake". The alleged mistake was in allowing herself to be seduced by the male who asked her over, who's girlfriend was not there. In this affair, even in the people who do not claim the girl was a waste of space for too long, we can see the deeply, deeply, deeply set, nouveau establishmentarian prejudices, similar to social norms of hundreds of years ago. The clear thing that came across to me about Amanda Todd is that, in the face of such terror against her in her life, she made no "mistakes".

However, the comments made in the last few days specifically against the late Ms. Todd and in support of the bullies, saying that she should indeed have died, were not in the expectable small numbers, not at all. The most surprising thing to behold was / is the sheer number of people in the last days and today and even now supporting the bullies in intentionally and fervently having forced Amanda Todd to her own death.

When I first went to the Youtube video page, the comments seemed to be close to roughly half and half; half in support of the bullies and that Ms. Todd killed herself, half thinking those people were wrong. The percentage seemed to change later, more against the bullies but there was still a very, very high proportion supporting them. It is a strange, damning social snapshot. A satanic society, it can appear, even clearly. Really that has to be an accurate analysis, as the question, "What else can we be seeing?", has no real answer.

I remember a visit to Vancouver 12 years ago, where I stayed in and around for a few weeks, over the new millenia eve, and, as many do, I liked it so much it I thought it would be nice to live in, to move to. Things have changed so much everywhere since then.

Considering that this situation seems to me much more likely to be an outright case of first degree murder rather than manslaughter (whether or not enough evidence can be found to bring a case and achieve that verdict), the sheer scale, the stark percentage of the online comments supporting the lynching to suicide of Ms. Todd is very significant indeed.

Of course, it is apt to point out that this phenomena can have, in essence, very little indeed to do with the internet, the web network, social media sites, social networking, mobile communications etc. For they are only tools for people, as mastering a spoken language is a tool. It is what people communicate that matters, not the means. The Web network in itself had nothing to do with Amanda Todd when she was beaten up by a gang. Just as it in itself is irrelevant as to the meaning of acts when online comments commanding her to kill herself were made. Just as it in itself is irrelevant as to acts when the satanic support of the satanic hounding to death started a few days ago in Youtube etc. etc. etc.

The Amanda Todd situation is a spotlight upon a society that is in very significant part, effectively satanic. Satanic and effective in satanism.

In the light of this current social spotlight, Mr. Rhodes's comments which I hope I have gauged correctly as palatable and of a positive, typical context in the first paragraphs of this response - humorous and provocative to illuminate a situation - are however, at least partially, inappropriate.

They do not see the real picture or seriousness of it.


R.i.P. Amanda Todd (November 27, 1996 – October 10, 2012)

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