I Am Very Sorry I Missed this Panel

March 9, 2013 § 13 Comments

someone on the internet

…it would have been very interesting indeed to observe the Reddit SXSW panel audience split between staunch supporters of Reddit (FREE SPEECH/YOU DON’T WANT TO END UP LIKE CHINA DO YOU???) and those who a) take issue with the many unsavory aspects of Reddit’s culture(s) and b) enjoy getting a rise out of Redditors because let’s face it, white guys unaware of their own privilege are lulzcows.

John Herrman’s article (linked above), which seems to side with the SXSW panelists (or at least, seems to side against the most vocal supporters of the site), sums it up thusly:

The best criticism of Reddit is that it can, on occasion, victimize people. Yet drawing attention to jailbait photos, creepshots and other forms of victimization — low-level, constant misogyny included — does not compel Reddit to look within itself. Instead, according to the site’s most vocal proponents, it makes Reddit the victim.

1,000% yes to the last part, but I would push the first half of that statement a bit further*, since the best criticism of Reddit is not just that Reddit is –at least, the main subreddits are, allowing for exceptions within smaller subreddits– a cesspool of generalized misogyny, generalized racism and generalized homophobia, attitudes that are so pervasive they’re kind of just there. Just as problematically, Reddit as a company is permissive of the cesspool — on the grounds that FREE SPEECH, obviously. Which as Jezebel pointed out the other day, doesn’t actually work the way most people on the internet seem to think it works.

But other than that, victim complex it pretty much exactly right. It is so hard to be an oppressed minority middle class educated white men, on the internet.

*Herrman’s use of the term “victimization” is somewhat confusing — “victimization” seems to imply a specific target, but then he also glosses low-level misogyny under the same umbrella, suggesting he means “victimization” in the broader sense, as synonymous with “oppression,” maybe. Consequently I’ve revised this paragraph several times trying to figure out what he means, and how best to respond.


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