April 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Today The New Inquiry ran my article “Dissecting the Frog,” which considers the cultural significance of humor. My primary focus is Gabriella Coleman’s analysis of humor within Free and Open Software (F/OSS) circles, but I also discuss my own work with trolls and the mainstream media tragedy-mongers who (are) troll(ed) (by) them. Here’s the overlap between both projects:
What Coleman’s and my respective research projects highlight, then, is the complicated relationship between humor, community formation, and the larger culture. Hacker humor and wit, for example, gestures both to the borders of the F/OSS community and to the much more pervasive logic of neo-liberalism, while specific trolling jokes serve as subcultural scaffolding and draw attention to the connections between trolling humor and mainstream culture, particularly sensationalist media. This culturally holistic approach to humor is particularly helpful when attempting to understand the most upsetting kinds of jokes. When framed as self-contained artifacts, hateful or otherwise corrosive jokes don’t do too much, beyond casting aspersions on the joke teller. But when placed in the context of a specific community, and even more revealing, when that community is placed in the context of the wider culture, corrosive jokes often have as much to tell us about the latter as they do about the former.
For a good time, read the full article here!
April 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The other day (how did I miss this?) Eric Benson at NY Mag posted a rundown of the increasingly elastic definition of the word “troll.” He interviewed me for the piece, which is always odd because these kinds of interviews are usually 30-45 minutes long but only yield one or two sentences. Media!
Quoth the me:
As with other robust Internet terms, trolling lends itself to more general meanings far removed from its origins. “To hear people talk about trolls in April 2013 is so different than people talked about it even in 2011,” says Whitney Phillips, an NYU lecturer in media studies who wrote her dissertation on Internet trolls. “You now encounter the word all day long.”
It’s a brave new world, kids!
April 3, 2013 § 3 Comments
The vast majority of the articles I’ve read about Courtney Stodden fall into one of two categories. Either they are written in hushed, disgusted tones, or they are punctuated with wide-eyed OMG WTFs. In almost every case, Stodden’s celebrity is framed as unwarranted, inscrutable, and quite possibly a sign of the apocolypse.
But bah I say. BAH! The correct answer is to marvel at Stodden’s pitch-perfect embodiment of the sensationalism and exploitainment that quite literally drives the contemporary mediascape forward. Courtney Stodden is the raw amalgam of every television series TLC has ever produced; she is the Daily Mail in human form; she is, in short, what click-based ad revenue would look like, if click-based ad revenue looked like a person. She is perfect and beautiful and we deserve her.
And with that, I give you her most glorious photo shoot to date: her full-frontal spread with corpse fetish website Girls and Corpses. NSFW, obviously, but worth every penny — and do savor the detail that the featured corpse is named “Doug.”
April 3, 2013 § Leave a Comment
It’s a good look for him, and doesn’t make me want to start crying!
March 28, 2013 § Leave a Comment
This 10-second video posted by Neil Cicierega via the Slactory Tumblr is an important Public Service Announcement.
March 27, 2013 § Leave a Comment
According to Sean O’Neal at the A.V. Club, the internet “reached its apex” when a man claiming to be engaged to a My Little Pony Character sent a strongly worded letter to the would-be defilers of his cartoon bride:
“I would really appreciate it if the next time your birthday comes around you would request that your clop artist friends (who like to give you sexually oriented pony art as gifts) draw some pony other than Twilight Sparkle for you,” one grown man typed to another, using the system developed through decades of work by British scientists and military contractors.
I feel pretty good, ending things on this note. We had a good run, didn’t we?
(thanks to lemon_party_animal for sending this my way)