Because Several Things Have Happened Since 2008

September 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

scummy, slimy

Today was a dumb troubleshooting day, and like all days that start off looking manageable, ended up being a much bigger pain in the ass than I was expecting. Am still tinkering with certain passages, mostly re: slippage between trolls and the media that feeds them. The following bit comes near the end, after I’ve run through my three case studies. I could have chosen other examples, newer examples, but wanted to stick with the classics due to I’m mostly concerned with world building. Here at least. And as I argue, this particular world was built on the scrapheap supplied by raaaaaaging media wieners. Hence the memetic throwback machine. (and credit is to that lemonparty guy, who said a thing about memes the other day & likened them to collective storytelling — got me thinking about trolls and their media overlords, who do the same thing only don’t know they’re working together)

Just as the media’s response to Jenkem and Oprah’s response to Pedobear — and of course trolls’ response to both responses — inadvertently gave trolls more material to work with, Fox’s various responses to Anonymous, 4chan, and trolls generally helped fortify the borders of what at the time was a localized phenomenon but which soon emerged as a full-blown subculture. My inclusion of all three meme-clusters reflects this shift; each was introduced just as the media began to circle 4chan’s wagons. Not only did these stories augment the trolling lexicon, that is, provide trolls with additional memetic material, they helped legitimize the development of a discrete, deliberate, and highly recognizable trolling identity. In short, these early directives—from the framing of Anonymous as the sole proprietors of the Internet Hate Machine to the association of 4chan with pedophilia and poop gas and exploding service vans—have shaped what trolls are today, or perhaps more accurately, have shaped what trolls, both on 4chan and across the web, believe themselves to be. Put another way, and with Fox News leading the charge, trolls were given support beams upon which to weave their web. They happily took up shop, and were immediately furnished with a constant supply of food — which more often than not came in the form of buzzing, bug-eyed journalists.

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§ One Response to Because Several Things Have Happened Since 2008

  • […] At my not-prospectus-defense last month, one of the major things I was grilled on was, why the three particular cases I’m studying? Since then I’ve successfully rationalized not looking at EVE Online, reduced my friend and actually skilled academic Lazi to tears of laughter with my not-cookies-yet elevator pitch and been completely impressed by Whitney Phillips‘s masterful and fascinating explanation of her case selection. […]

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