To say that I spend every waking moment online would be inaccurate. Sure, I’m online whether at work or at home, with the same screen configuration at both: Gmail window in the upper left corner of the screen, minimized but visible enough to see if there’s a new email or chat request, SecureCRT in the bottom left, just enough showing to see if there’s a new message. That’s also how my laptop looks when I’m at a wifi cafe writing, which is how I spend most of my quote-free-unquote time these days. But it isn’t just the waking moments, because even when I’m asleep, I’m still downloading stuff. Someone was kind enough to post the Bob Dylan Hybrid SACD box set in .flac format to alt.binaries.sounds.lossless, and it’s taking a while to get ’em all, as you can well imagine. Thank goodness for DVD-R.
So I’m online in one form or another at any given moment, and when actually in front of a computer usually have a chat or three happening. Oh, rightmy cellphone is usually somewhere within my field of vision, lest I get a call or (even more importantly) a text message and miss it. For all of that, I don’t interact much with strangers, and I classify a stranger as someone I’ve never met in meatspace. I don’t participate in online forums or message boards even what few mailing lists still exist, and unless it’s a means to a specific end (like an offer of a gig, which usually comes via email), I almost never correspond or chat with anyone I don’t know in real life. What I do online is all about supplementing my offline life. (And, of course, piracy. Arrrr!)
Part of it’s just my temperament, and part of it is because I have no patience whatsoever for the inevitable flamewars. None. And even less for trolls. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for that sort of thing, and I can’t imagine actively doing it. I’ve been acquainted with a few trollsunsurprisingly, our personalities don’t allow for us to become actual friendsand the truly astonishing part is how righteous they are about it. They come across like they’re somehow making a point or taking the piss out of those who require piss removal.
One rather noxious troll beamed with pride at her cleverness because she posted pictures of cheeseburgers to pro-ana forums. To her, this was really sticking it to the Man. Girls with eating disorders, anyway, and it’s about time someone took them down a notch, too. Hey, what good is satire and humor if you only use it on the powerful? Besides, the meek and troubled are much easier to fuck with, especially if you’re a coward. Thank you, Bumfights, for teaching us to dehumanize the less fortunate again.
Which leads us to griefing, the Web 2.0 equivalent of trolling. Griefing: that which is done by griefers. To cause grief.
As verbs go, it’s a brilliant switch, moving the focus from the person from the person doing the deed. Those who have been griefed don’t have their own conjugation (to the best of my knowledge), but implicit in the word is a focus on their victim status. Nobody really knows what it looks like to feel trolledwhat, you have to pay to go under the bridge? With griefing, well, they’ve been griefed, ergo they feel grief, they grieve. Sucks to be them. And won’t somebody please think about the children?
The phrase got its highest non-gamer exposure thanks to the Anshe Chung flying penii foofaraw. Indeed, the griefing act itself might have faded away as a footnote had it not been for Anshe Chung Studios claiming copyright and DMCA and other scary legal words to get pictures and videos of the incident taken down, especially from the high-profile YouTube. Remember back before YouTube, when there was no such thing as copyright violation?
The video is still up if you know where to lookand if you’re the kind of person who would be inclined to look for such things. Fortunately, I’m very much the kind of person who’s inclined to look for such things. I’m inclined to not to call the penii “flying” anymorethey kinda float by, occasionally flashing in and out of existence, vaguely in her direction. For that matter, the word “penis” is only vaguely accurate. Yeah, they’re obviously meant to be phallic, but it looks like someone took their ball(s) and went home, if you know what I mean (and I think you do). The cheapest fake schlong at Good Vibrations looks more like the real thing.
So let’s work from intent, not actual execution. Can it be interpreted as sexual assault, as some have claimed, since it specifically male genitals because it was a female celebrity? Okay, make-believe genitals and a make-believe representation of a female celebrity, but again, we’re talking intent. Was the intent a virtual form of rape?
I’m going to have to go with not. First off, Ailin Graef was no more being assaulted with armies of marching willies than Suzanne Vega was playing her guitar in front of a couple dozen people on bleachers. Both were sitting at a computer somewhere. If Ailin or Suzanne’s cat had sat on the power strip next to the desk (as happened a few times to a friend who ran a server in Chicago), each event would have ended in a big hurry. Not. Real.
Secondlyand this is where the ethical waters get seriously treacherouswelcome to being a female celebrity on the internet, especially one whose fame is based to an extent on sex appeal. I am not saying she’s “asking for it.” I often walk through some seedy parts of town at night, and if something happens to me, it’s not going to be my fault for having been there in the first place. What I’m saying is, that’s how the internet operates, and the majority of griefers tend to be straight boys with dick fixations. I’ve noticed that a lot of them also have ass obsessions, even moreso than my horniest gay male friends. But that’s another article entirely.
It’s no wonder they’d doctor a photo of Ailin holding a vaguely phallic object into one of her holding a penis, as seen in the forbidden video. That kind of pr0n-obsessed fakery goes back to the earliest days of desktop graphic programssomeday I’ll see my face on Jenna Jameson’s body, and I’ll know I’ve made itand I’d imagine that in the analog days there were probably kids who cut out heads of celebrities from magazines and taped them onto pictures from Playboy. (Or, more likely, Hustler or Penthouse for the extra muff.) Where’s the Fake Detective when you need him?
Maybe you don’t need him when you have a SNAG for a husband like Guntram Graef.
Continue to stay tuned.