News Shocker: Internet Anonymity = Nastiness

O RLY STFU FAGORT

When a California woman recently gave birth to a healthy baby just two days after learning she was pregnant, the sudden change to her life was challenging enough. What April Branum definitely didn't need was a deluge of nasty Internet comments.

Postings on message boards made cracks about Branum's weight (about 400 pounds "” one reason she says didn't realize sooner she was pregnant). They also analyzed her housekeeping ability, based on a photo of her home. And they called her names. "A pig is a pig," one person wrote. Another suggested that she "go on the show "˜The Biggest Loser.' " "The thing that bothered me most was, people assumed because I am overweight, I'm going to be a bad mom," Branum says. "And that is not one little bit true."

It was yet another example of how the Internet "” and the anonymity it affords "” has given a public stage to people's basest thoughts, ones that in earlier eras likely never would have travelled past the watercooler, the kitchen table or the next barstool.

Such incidents "” and there are countless across cyberspace "” also raise the question: Is there anything to be done about it? Or is a decline in civil discourse simply the price that we pay for the advance of technology?

John Gabriel's Greater Internet F*ckwad Theory: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/20...

So now we're not supposed to say nasty things about people in the news on the internet? But that's the sweetest plum.

Well, if neither she nor the (similarly-sized ?) dad can provide the kid with proper amount of exercise, they AREN'T going to be the best parents.

What is she going to do, propel herself around in a wheelchair chasing after that frisbee ? It's pretty easy to mow down someone else's kid with an electric wheelchair.

First of all, I disagree. The internet has not increased the volume of casual nastiness, it has just given the butt of the jokes a way to see what the average person says. A casual posting on a message board is the comment made on the sofa watching the nightly news special interest story. The difference is not the comment, but the broadcast of it.

This article panders to precisely the kind of mentality that led to those messages in the first place.

Elysium wrote:

First of all, I disagree. The internet has not increased the volume of casual nastiness, it has just given the butt of the jokes a way to see what the average person says. A casual posting on a message board is the comment made on the sofa watching the nightly news special interest story. The difference is not the comment, but the broadcast of it.

I couldn't agree more. I think the other difference is that it separates the people who realize that the Internet is not a short-term broadcast medium, from those who think that their comments will not come back to bite them in the butt at some point in the future.

The sheer number of 'clean up your online identity' websites, articles and coverage in recent months leads me to hope that people who use the web as an 'anonymous' mouthpiece for spewing their vitriol will someday have a little knock of comeuppance on their REAL door.

OK, so, let's review here.

Great big baby mama finds out TWO DAYS before birth that she's pregnant. The family contacts the press to turn this into a story, and then is appalled by mockery and negative reaction?

Seriously, I am having a hard time not ripping off a string of snarky comments to go with this.

You can NOT call up the press (a purely "look at me!!" act), and then get upset when people look and don't have kind things to say about what they see.

The story is about not knowing you were pregnant because you're so fat! That's what it boils down to! And you chose to proclaim this fact to the world. Hello? What, did you think people were going to say, "good for you! That's so cool!"?

shihonage wrote:

Well, if neither she nor the (similarly-sized ?) dad can provide the kid with proper amount of exercise, they AREN'T going to be the best parents.

Read the actual article. See the pic of a guy holding a kid? Yeah, that's the dad. Dad's a friggin' stringbean, at least compared to the "little missus."

Busted !

dhelor wrote:
shihonage wrote:

Well, if neither she nor the (similarly-sized ?) dad can provide the kid with proper amount of exercise, they AREN'T going to be the best parents.

Read the actual article. See the pic of a guy holding a kid? Yeah, that's the dad. Dad's a friggin' stringbean, at least compared to the "little missus."

So on the bright side, their kid is at least going to be average size.

And people wonder why I don't post pictures on the Internet....

I'm curious how many of the denizens of that comments board would be classified as "svelte".

And while yes, I agree that all this is a symptom of ease-of-publishing rather than any new malignancy, the fact is in real life people relegate this stuff to whispers behind your back at best. A person with some decency has enough of an intercessory device between their brain and their fingertips to have some hope of treating that person as a human being and therefore keeping their prejudiced effluvia to a dull, tainted roar.

I can assure you that chick has more problems than her weight if she didn't know she was pregnant. You have to have a total disconnect with your body and it's functioning. It's uncommon, but not really rare. And it doesn't only happen to fat people. And from what I read she's eating her way around a gastric bypass, which is also an indicator of bigger problems. But none of that in any way mitigates a compassionate human being's duty to STFU.

And before you all start flaming me, yes I am a bit larger than the average bear. Genetics, a chronic pain condition, and major problems caused by a sports injury in college. And anyone who would like to tell me about my lifestyle can take a nice long running kiss at my rosy Irish ass. You spend 12+ years on crutches and over 20 in constant pain and THEN you can tell me about the goddamn Stairmaster.

Oh, and I have four kids of normal proportions, and believe me I farkin' knew I was pregnant.

IMAGE(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v48/mszilla/ferry1web.jpg)

See?

The extra one in the pic on the right with the big ears is my brother-in-law. He's really skinny in this pic because it was taken right after he got back from Iraq and he was still healing. And if my younger son on the left there would stop stealing my clothes and pull up his go ram pants he wouldn't look like a penguin wearing a burlap sack. Oh, and for scale reference, my BIL is 6'5" and my younger son is 6'2' or so.

The really ironic part is, I've lost over a hundred and fifty pounds in the last two years. I've still got a long ways to go, though. And I get more crap now than I ever did then. One of the items on my todo list this weekend is to make myself a new t-shirt with "I'm FAT, not DEAF" in 3" letters across the back, a size smaller. I wear it in the gym and at the grocery store on those days when I really just can't cope with the comments. I've under-grown the old one, but not the need for it.

And if my younger son on the left there would stop stealing my clothes and pull up his go ram pants he wouldn't look like a penguin wearing a burlap sack.

Excellent post, mah. This part, this one right here? Priceless.

That's it. My Momgamer poster is going up over my Camryn Manheim poster.

The internet and internet message boards give people and unprecedented level of freedom of speech. What the intarweb doesn't offer is the "control" factor that public speech does. It's easy to be an online critic/bully/asshole when there's no chance you'll get punched in the mouth.

Bear wrote:

The internet and internet message boards give people and unprecedented level of freedom of speech. What the intarweb doesn't offer is the "control" factor that public speech does. It's easy to be an online critic/bully/asshole when there's no chance you'll get punched in the mouth.

While that's certainly true, I'm of the belief that I won't tell anyone something on the internet I wouldn't tell them in real life. In other words, if I'd tell it to your face, I'll tell you on the internets too.

As to the story itself, it was someone after their 5 minutes; I say let em have it, so we can get it out of the way and move on to stuff that's actually important.

AnimeJ wrote:

While that's certainly true, I'm of the belief that I won't tell anyone something on the internet I wouldn't tell them in real life.

Exactly. If you don't broadcast details of your life to a couple of billion people, the chances of anyone saying anything personally nasty to you are about zilch. Put yourself out in the public sphere, you have to take the good and the bad.

What the people who are complaining here want is to be is noticed and known, but only on their own terms. "Say nice things about me, or say nothing." That's just not realistic.

Now when it comes to libel, like when someone on a chatroom says, "I know X and X is criminal," that's a whole different thing. But that's not the issue here.

AnimeJ wrote:
Bear wrote:

The internet and internet message boards give people and unprecedented level of freedom of speech. What the intarweb doesn't offer is the "control" factor that public speech does. It's easy to be an online critic/bully/asshole when there's no chance you'll get punched in the mouth.

While that's certainly true, I'm of the belief that I won't tell anyone something on the internet I wouldn't tell them in real life. In other words, if I'd tell it to your face, I'll tell you on the internets too.

Yeah, but I'm more of a jerk in real life than on the internet. Heck, I'm bad enough during Gears and Beers.

momgamer wrote:

Oh, and I have four kids of normal proportions, and believe me I farkin' knew I was pregnant.

IMAGE(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v48/mszilla/ferry1web.jpg)

See?

Really? Because that one in front looks be to 2 feet tall. 2 and a half tops.

Finally, pictures of momgamer's daughters!

Finally, pictures of momgamer's daughters!

Get the hose!

That's the son for which you were wantin' to borrow the wood shampoo then?

H.P. Lovesauce wrote:

That's it. My Momgamer poster is going up over my Camryn Manheim poster.

How will you cover the other three quarters of the poster?

ZING!

Finally, pictures of momgamer's daughters!

Maybe they are already among us... lurking. Always lurking.

Dr_Awkward wrote:

Really? Because that one in front looks be to 2 feet tall. 2 and a half tops.

What you are seeing there is the Embarassed Teenager Compression Jutsu. And what was she embarassed about, you ask? Her hair was blowing in the wind and there was a cute guy at a table inside the ferry cabin who might have seen it. She is also the master of the Slot-Machine Eyeroll Jutsu and the 30-grit Neural Sandpaper Voice Jutsu.

*Legion* wrote:

Finally, pictures of momgamer's daughters!

Do you remember the interesting kitchen utensils discussion?

Paleocon wrote:

That's the son for which you were wantin' to borrow the wood shampoo then? ;)

Yep. That's my Gray Hair Generator.

The dude with the Tom Baker hairdo in the middle is my elder son, who just went into the Army. I have it on good authority he no longer has that hairdo.

Stylez wrote:

Maybe they are already among us... lurking. Always lurking.

Are you kidding me? There are no teenage female otaku here. Unless you're discussing the comparative hotness of several animated guys and contrasting that with the guy who played Murtagh in Eregon or arguing over exactly how to pronounce certain words when singing the theme songs you can forget it. Besides, they prefer to do that in person. As far as they're concerned, the only real functions of the entire Internet are ordering Manga/anime, emailing in their homework, a bunch of webcomics, RedvsBlue, and Foamy.

My parents stopped after two kids. They couldn't handle any more.

That was our plan, too. But then he really wanted to try for a little girl, and we ended up with a matched set.

momgamer wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

Finally, pictures of momgamer's daughters!

Do you remember the interesting kitchen utensils discussion? ;)

(defeated voice): "sorry, ma'am...."

Are you kidding me? There are no teenage female otaku here

I've been stuffing the GWJ suggestion box over this very issue!

momgamer wrote:

That was our plan, too. But then he really wanted to try for a little girl, and we ended up with a matched set.

My mom's friend tried for a little girl. Result: six kids and the final being the girl. Problem with having the girl last is she's around boys all of the time.

*Legion* wrote:
Are you kidding me? There are no teenage female otaku here

I've been stuffing the GWJ suggestion box over this very issue!

At least you're not stuffing the issue over the suggestion box. Hiyo!