Stirring the Internet’s Cauldron of Hate

When you write frequently and in public places on the Internet, there are bound to be readers who disagree with what you’re saying. Every writer working for a web-based publication is forced to quickly acclimate to the torrents of anonymous hate which have a tendency to fill up comments sections.

I tend to take a fight-or-flight stance towards hateful comments: either I hit back with a reasoned defense or, when such a response isn’t possible, I flat-out ignore it. The one reprinted below, posted this morning on my GTA IV PC review at UGO’s Gamesblog, is simply too entertaining to be allowed to fade into obscurity. It’s definitely in the running for my favorite comment of ’09:

From “onlyhate”:

“fcuk you retarded Adam Rosenberg!!. GTA4 was a mess and you give it all A’s. Fcuk you. you didnt play the pc version. you play the xbox360 or ps3 version and give the marks to the pc version. did you play the game till the end? i guess not. then how can you review the game when you didnt finished or even PLAY the fcuking danm thing?

Adam Rosenberg is a whroe.”

I’ll let that speak for itself. What about y’all? I know at least some of you reading this create words for Internet consumption. Do you have any favorite bits of Hate which get a special place in your dark and twisted Writer’s Heart? Any of you readers think you can top that one up there? Please, by all means share your hate below.

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6 Responses to “Stirring the Internet’s Cauldron of Hate”

  1. Eh, there’s so much hate on the internet that it’s really hard to remember any of it specifically. The only noteworthy thing about it is that it’s so common. When did we all turn into a bunch of jaded assholes with chips on our shoulders? I’m honestly more taken aback when I come across a post written rationally, by an intelligent, human person. In a good way of course.

    The really sad thing is that it’s not limited to the videogame crowd, where bias tends to have us acting like clowns at large. I’ve seen news-posts inundated with similarly piss-poor behavior. I’ve seen people’s Deviant Art pages being vandalized by comments clearly borne of envy. I’ve seen this and more, and with the proliferation of the internet coming faster and faster as time goes by, it really makes me worry about where we’re headed as a society. Yeah, I know that seems a little overwrought, but think about it. If people grow up thinking that it’s okay to act like assholes to people online, what kind of people are they going to be when they go out into the world? It frightens the hell out of me to think about it….

  2. Oops, that should have been humane, rather than human. Ugh.

  3. Oh have I got a story for you…

    Back when I worked for Red Distribution, as their web designer, we got the distribution contract for “The Blair Witch Project Soundtrack”: http://www.amazon.com/Blair-Witch-Project-Joshs-Enhanced/dp/B00000JHKV

    Now, TBWP has no music, because it’s ostensibly a documentary. So how to cash in on a soundtrack, that always-dependable source of ancillary income? Why, package it as “a mix tape found in Josh’s car”! So that was how they fit this actually-not-bad collection of goth-industrial music into the BW mythos.

    I was given the job of online promotion for it. Again, how to promote a soundtrack that’s supposed to be a “found” mix tape? I decided to invent a fictional religious organization, that would have a website warning parents that goth music (this was in the late-90s trenchcoat mafia days) would lead kids to hell, damnation, and killing by witches, using the mix tape as Exhibit A. I decided to make it funny, so it would get passed around, figuring the BW phenomena had been around long enough (this was a couple months after the movie’s release) that I could afford to have a little fun with it.

    So I brought in a friend to make a website for Parents’ American Religions Organizations Defending Youth, full of warnings about the goth menace and an explication of how the songs on this mix tape prove that goth music is a one-way ticket to damnation. The guy who wrote the copy still has the site archived at http://www.palaverist.org/parody/goths.html , and I think it’s still pretty funny.

    Then the trouble began…

    Some dimwitted goth found the site, and, not noticing the group’s acronym, thought he’d come across a hotbed of anti-goth bias. He posted the link to some newsgroup, it got passed around, and within a week, we were getting literally a hundred flames a day from outraged goths smugly proving that our logic was all wrong. A few gems remain up at http://www.palaverist.org/parodyflames/index.blog?start=1125288059

    And we *still* get them! Seven years later, we still get enraged e-mails from goths who say we totally misunderstand their culture. The sheer number of people who don’t get even a pretty outrageous parody is… well, not really shocking anymore.

  4. Terry Smith Says:

    remember, a lot of people feel safe geeking from their rooms, and get real brave. In your face, they’d be real polite. Ignore them.

  5. You know Terry, to be frank, that someone feels comfortable speaking like “onlyhate” spoke to Adam at all is disturbing enough, no matter how nice and polite he or she may be offline.

    The attitude seems to be that nothing that is said on the internet should be taken seriously since you’re talking to a nameless, faceless entity, but we’ve seen at least one noteworthy case in recent years of internet bullying by an anonymous party leading the victim to commit suicide. While this is one of the few that caught media attention, I can’t imagine that it’s an isolated incident.

    (source: http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/1107/474924.html )

    With cyber-bullying a very real problem, I’m not inclined to care too much about how a bully may or may not act offline. It’s what their words and actions online may lead to offline that concerns me. And while attempts have been made to pass cyber-bullying legislation in the past few years or so, only one state (California) has successfully done so to date. As of the first of this year, school administration in California now have the authority to discipline students who engage in bullying online, as well as off. While this is appropriate in light of studies that show a growing trend amongst teens to take their bullying online, the scope is still too limited. We really need national cyber-bullying legislation in place to protect people like Megan. As of now, there’s essentially no way for victims of cyber-bullying to put a stop to it, and as we sew in her case, it can have incredibly damaging consequences.

    Now I have no problem with one of those aforementioned faceless entities talking like that to me personally, but it’s the idea that he absolutely cannot be held accountable for it that gets right up my ass. Because while I may have a thick enough skin that it doesn’t bother me, the possibility that he may eventually turn his attention to someone more vulnerable does.

    So maybe these jerks are all nice and friendly offline, where acting like they do online might result in the passing of someone’s fist through their teeth, but something needs to be done so that we’re able to hold these anonymous misfits accountable for what they say online just the same. I’m tired of encountering such rampant negativity everywhere I go online, invariably followed by the dismissive statement “It’s just the internet.”, especially when that ignorance may lead to real-life consequences for its victims if left unchecked. It seems a bit unfair to me.

    (Sources: http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-177859.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber_bullying )

  6. geminibros Says:

    Very insightful comments Darrell, thank you. I hadn’t heard Ms. Meier’s story, but the particulars are unspeakably horrific and do seem to point to a very real and very frightening problem.

    I must say though: legislation makes for a nice start, but I really think it’s little more than a band-aid in the end. It might give some people pause for fear of reprisal, but history has long since proven that fear is not exactly the best motivator. As is often the case with these new ‘tech=new issues’ concerns, I think better, more informed parenting is what’s really lacking.

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