Felix Vs. Some Guy Called Chris: A War of Words on Anonymity (Part 2)
The Felix vs Chris / Anonymous vs Non-Anonymous debate rages on. If you haven't read Part 1, check it out and then see how this whole battle resolves itself. Don't forget to weigh in in the comments section and give us your thoughts.
“Since I’m writing under my actual name, I’m limited to words like “turd burglar” and “fartknocker” (in case my Nana reads this).”
And yet, I have the ability to say whatever the fuck I want, with no fear of upsetting my dear old nana. But even if I was out of the anonymous closet, it wouldn't really matter…she’s been worm food for decades now.
However, what a shame that we live in a society where even something as silly as swearing can come and shaft you right up the “rusty sheriff’s badge.” [Feel free to use that one in any conversation with anyone’s nana]. Why the fuck is swearing so frowned upon online, but so readily done in the average work environment?
Wouldn’t it be better if we could say whatever we wanted as ourselves? But we can’t, right? And hence, the need for a little anonymity is essential.
Now, as for businesses posting great reviews about themselves, that’s not really great. But the fleas come with the dog. And businesses with really great reputations will have good word of mouth beyond the Yelp reviews. After you’ve eaten their shit food once, you won’t go back anyway, and the review you post can be lengthy and derisive.
And by the way, that’s often a good way to spot fake reviews from the real ones. People who spend a lot of time and trouble writing a review will write more than “wow, this place was great, tell your friends.” So read the longer reviews, and also pay attention to when the reviews were written, how they are written, and all of that jazz.
Cyber-bullying, that’s a different story. I hate it, and it should not be allowed to thrive. But as I’ve said previously, there are ways and means to find people, everyone leaves a trace. Perhaps in school and college environments, it should be a rule that you have to log on using a real identity, but even then bullying will still exist. As I recall, everyone in my school knew exactly who the bullies were, and avoided them like the plague. Anonymity had nothing to do with it. And David Burnham, if you're reading this (which means you eventually learned to read) you can fuck right off you complete cunt of a (barely) human being. With any luck, you’re in prison being raped by some guy with a cock the size of an aircraft carrier.
And so we come to this. The case, once again, for anonymity. It has far more positives than negatives. So far, I am not seeing a great case for knocking down our walls of freedom. Look at the sites that thrive from anonymous submissions, most of them positive – 4Chan, Reddit, YouTube. And look at what Anonymous is doing. They can help bring down the greedy, the morally corrupt and the scum of society. They can bring in top minds to help the cause, all working with anonymous protection. If they were known, they would be hunted down.
And let’s not forget Banksy! You dump anonymity, Banksy is gone, and one of our greatest social commentators goes down the shitter.
I think anonymity is fucking cool, and unless you have some smoking gun you have yet to produce, I don’t see anything changing my mind yet.
Now, let’s take the gloves off shall we?
In regard to the Puritan language I’m forced to use for sake of my Nana’s sensitive eyes, I’m fortunately able to slip in the occasional “medicinal swear.” Like prolapsed anus. But that’s really a moot point. Because that old bird tends to only read The Des Moines Egotist – the veritable USA Today of Egotists.
To your point, I don’t think swearing is particularly demonized online, no more or less than any other venue. So long as it’s not ostentatious, overcompensating or reckless – like a midget with a monster truck.
Now, I would speak to your Yelp comments, but your points are primarily true – and I had a hard enough time writing about the politics of Yelp the first time around without feeling a little drowsy and dead inside. So God knows I don’t have the wherewithal to conjure a rebuttal.
As for this bully, David Burnham, you mention, it sounds like there’s still some things you need to work out. I don’t suppose it’s too tall of an order to create some kind of travel site and ban him for life? Or at least burn down his trailer or something.
I’ll grant you that Anonymous is not without its merits – so long as they’re not merely functioning as petty reactionaries or holding up my BART commute or scurrying around in their little Toys “R” Us ‘V for Vendetta’ masks.
As for St. Banksy, who carries the Krylon torch of freedom, he’s not an internet phenomenon, so he’s arguably irrelevant to this conversation. But regardless of medium, for every iconoclastic, anonymous revolutionary, there are a million bottom-feeding, ignorant opportunists gnawing at the heels of personal accountability – be it Juggalos (who hide behind their assclown face paint) or Jawas (who hide behind their filthy, tiny hoods).
You asked for the smoking gun? Well, I just doubled down and offered up the steaming potato gun.
OK, my move it is.
Let’s start with Banksy. Yes, he does not literally work on the Internet, he is a graffiti artist and uses public spaces to make his statements.
BUT, those statements reach far and wide via the Internet, and his message has spread around the world because of the Internet. If you try and argue that, I’ll have to stick the potato gun up your ass and hit the rapid-fire button.
If the Internet didn’t exist in its current form, would he have had the same impact? If all artists behind their work had to be named, or the work taken down, would Banksy have had the massive reach he has had today? No, he’d be just another graffiti artist working in and around some of the major cities. To say he is irrelevant to an argument on Internet anonymity is like saying Robert Heinlein is irrelevant to the world of science fiction movies.
Now, let’s move onto the said smoking potato gun.
Your argument is this. The freedom and blanket of anonymity has allowed some truly great things to happen, including Anonymous, Banksy and so on. But we should say “fuck all that” because there are millions of little pissants who provide nothing to the conversation, throw out only pointless and irrelevant horse manure, and generally laugh in the face of accountability.
To that I say…so fucking what?
For every truly great actor, there are thousands of shite ones peddling their wares. But they sink to the bottom and usually become crappy extras or end up in movies I will never see, or am too drunk to pay attention to.
There have been a million artists flooding the art world with absolute drivel. Does that mean we have to forgo Picasso, Van Gogh and Turner? I really hope not. Like you say, they’re bottom feeders. But the cream rises to the top, and that’s who we notice.
I don’t pay attention to Internet trolls. I am no Internet Picasso either, and while I put myself above the level of mindless troll, I do not deserve the same respect or honor as writers who put their names on their work, like Paul Krugman, Matt Drudge or Roger Ebert.
But at the end of the day, Paul Krugman cannot come out and say “Romney, you’re a lying sack of shit who should die from a new strain of AIDS, because some evil fuck took your health insurance away” because he’d be vilified for it. But I can.
And as you agree with me on Yelp, and Anonymous, and will no doubt have to come around to my point on Banksy, I say to you in the most grandiose chess- playing way possible…check.
Do I sense a checkmate coming?
Oh, and David Burnham joined the army last time I checked, which was about 15 years ago. Maybe it straightened him out. If I ever met him in person, I would love to tell him how much of a dick he was to so many people. Sadly, he would probably drag his bleeding knuckle up from the floor and smack me senseless with it, as kicking the shit out of people was a skill of his that he’s probably honed over the last 20 years. Mindless fuck.
All right, all right.
I think this little exercise has run its course.
Truth be told, I’m not necessarily against internet anonymity. In fact, I’ve never really given it much thought before this piece was proposed.
That said. I wave the beige flag. Thanks for the spirited debate.
But now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to preying on tweens in chat rooms while this whole internet anonymity thing is still flourishing.