Female journalists Amy Wallace and Amanda Hess spent a few minutes chatting with attentively lispy CNN interviewer, Brian Stelter, lamenting the horrors they, and all female internet journalists, face from the disembodied internet commenting “menace” in reactions to their legitimate contributions to mass media discourse.
Self-important Amanda Hess cited an incident in which an anonymous reader created a Twitter account with the express purpose of informing her that she should be raped and have her head cut off. Not sure in which order this was to happen, but Hess relayed this incident with all the smug, see-I-told-you-so victimized wryness she could dryly muster. Of course, Hess and Wallace are correct. The internet is a horrible place that oozes diseased trickles of societal pus and it’s not fun to be the focus of such faceless wrath. And yes, it happens to women. But guess what, ladies? It happens to men also. The disembodied internet malice that is inflicted upon so many who choose to express themselves publicly is not confined to women (though their hysterics would have you believe this). It’s a rough world and if you choose to partake of it because you are strong and liberated, you should be prepared to bear the brunt of the human shit that will surely reign down on you when someone disagrees with your point of view. The internet is unkind. Who would think otherwise unless a fool?
Internet trolls, emboldened by anonymity, fester on the most conspicuous traits of their targets. In the case of women it goes without saying that this is naturally their body and their modesty. Don’t take it personally. This is called life. Men and women alike are both taken to task for their ideas in the most egregious ad hominem manners all the time when it comes to public, anonymous feedback. This is what makes the public so wonderful! These women cry that their ideas are not taken seriously, that the fixation is aimed at their bodies and sexuality. Don’t flatter yourself…when the voiceless lash out, they are not armed with logic or reasoned argument. It’s time to play with the big boys. Quit this victim crap.
If you want to talk about real victims, how about Alan Berg, a man who paid the price of his life because of an anonymous listener to his radio show. In the days before the internet. Anonymous threats are as old as a free public press.
What bothers me most, however, is something Hess quips at the 5:00 mark:
Part of the reason I wrote this story was not to just talk about my own experience, which many, many women have done in the past few years, but what I was really trying to do was advance the discussion beyond talking, and sort of pressure legal experts, law enforcement officers, and technology companies, to start understanding their role in the problem.
Now this is the kernel, the root, of the thinking, the self-protective waffling that has begun to transform the internet into a bland morass of political correctness and intellectual and expressive timidity. Hess is appealing to segments of society which, if so inclined, can pool their resources and bring the clamp down on the wild voice of the internet. The internet, once an anarchical frontier of freedom and boldness, is in danger of slowly losing its testicles because of female sensitivities and sensibilities. All loss of freedoms in recent memory seems to have been at the hands of these damned female sensitivities. Women don’t want to face the same poisoned public attacks that men have known, so now the solution is to bring the “spotlight” on just how ugly the public can be, and now that women must face life on equal terms, we are being asked to bring the resources of our modern, civilized society to bear and thus dilute all symbols of freedom that remain in mankind’s arsenal, the internet being the latest victim of female sensibilities.
Amy Wallace alludes to the fact that she failed to mention the very important fact that many of these evil internet attackers are female, in an article she wrote in the New York Times on the subject. She conveniently left that out but pathetically acknowledged it in the interview. It’s no surprise she didn’t “go there.” To do so illuminates the fact that internet attacks are not singularly gender-based. It’s merely that the reporter’s female gender presents a very convenient (but largely irrelevant) target.
This is the problem when female sensibilities dictate the limits and discretion of public discourse. Women seek self-protection above crude freedoms. Yet, freedom’s manifestation in an open society must never be dictated by Emily Post’s reticent culture.