Tag Archives: 4chan

Tumblr and SJWs: The Difference Between Having a Problem and Being One

So roughly two months ago Gordon said I would be “providing some cutting observations on the state of Tumblr”, and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’ve done enough research to finally tackle this thing. In this case “this thing” refers to “the internet’s conceptions of Tumblr and its users, specifically those who have been deemed ‘social justice warriors'”. It’s going to be a long one, so sit back, buckle up, and do one other thing you would do when riding in a vehicle.

everybodyhatestumblrEverybody Hates Tumblr

I’m not going to pretend I know where you spend your time on the internet, but chances are that you’ve come across the general sentiment that Tumblr is “all that is wrong with the internet” or “a literal cancer” or some other hyperbole. It’s gotten to the point where just invoking the site’s name in relation to anything can be, and usually is, a damning condemnation.

As far as I can tell, there exists a much stronger bias towards it than even 4chan, with the latter being heralded as the primordial ooze that the vast majority of our memes come from, a primal, unadulterated place that has stood true to its roots. That’s a conversation for another time, but the point is that Tumblr has come to carry more negatie connotations than other social networking sites, with a lot of that having to do with it being the homeland of SJWs, or “Social Justice Warriors”-

What Is A Social Justice Warrior? [Wow, Google Image Search Has Not Been Kind To That Search Term]

This YouTube video is a pretty short, funny breakdown of what one is:

If you didn’t feel like watching it, here’s what the dude defines it as, providing three definitions that get more and more easy-to-understand:

  1. a derogatory term for people who advocate for socially marginalized groups
  2. a bad name for feminists
  3. a bad name for women-are-cool people

Continue reading

Lisa Nakamura Part 1: Tumblr Activism and This Bridge Called My Back 

On Thursday and Friday UVic hosted Lisa Nakamura, Collegiate Professor from the University of Michigan, to speak about her research on Digital Media and Race, Gender and Sexuality. Nakamura has been writing about digital media since 1994. While she has written several books about race and the internet, some of her shorter pieces focus on things like “The Racialization of Labour in World of Warcraft”. In order to feel qualified to write about platforms like World of Warcraft, she spent hours playing the game herself.

On Thursday, Nakamura’s talk was titled “The Digital Afterlife of This Bridge Called My Back: Women of Color, Feminism and the Internet”. She began by giving a brief overview of the book and explained why it matters so much.

As an anthology that prioritized written work by women of colour, This Bridge Called My Back responded to the whitewashing of feminism long before movements like the #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen hashtag began to highlight the problem. This book also introduced the concept of intersectionality, which has since become a key element of feminist theory.

Unfortunately, since it’s original publication the groundbreaking collection has struggled to remain in print. According to Wikipedia,

“The anthology was first published in 1981 by Persephone Press, and the second edition was published in 1983 by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. The book was out in its third edition, published by Third Woman Press, until 2008, when its contract with Third Woman Press expired and it went out of print.”

The book’s struggle to remain in print made it an “artificially scarce commodity” and drove up the price. At its inflated price, the book’s authors might even have been unable to afford their own work.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 9.48.27 PM Continue reading

“The Sincerity Wars” or “Hitler Did Nothing Wrong”

Not too long ago, Evan did a Shame Day about 4chan’s semi-joking attempt to wreck a Taylor Swift radio contest by getting some random 39-year-old voted rated as Swifts “biggest fan”. The original post declaring 4Chan’s intentions stated that “Charles Z.” was only in it for a chance to “sniff Swift’s hair” (I can’t speculate on whether or not that’s meant to be a joke) and that it was a chance to crush the dreams of thousands of “whiny teeny boppers.” The campaign was overwhelmingly successful. Charles Z. shot to the first place with a mile-wide margin and the radio station wound up cancelling the whole event.

In spite of Evan’s comments that this was generally a lousy move and a tacit endorsement of sexual harassment, I’m going to have to disagree with him. Firstly, I’m not taking the whole “hair-sniffing” thing as being all that serious, and secondly, I don’t think this really had much of anything to do with Charles Z. or even Taylor Swift for that matter.

It was about sincerity. Continue reading

Shame Day: Taylor Swift, Charles Z., and The Internet

Exactly one week ago I was browsing imgur and saw that 4chan was up to its old tricks again. To break this down and provide some context as quickly as possible, 4chan, as defined by Urban Dictionary:

you have just entered the very heart, soul, and life force of the internet. this is a place beyond sanity, wild and untamed. there is nothing new here. “new” content on 4chan is not found; it is created from old material. every interesting, offensive, shocking, or debate inspiring topic youve seen elsewhere has been posted here ad infinitum. we are the reason for “not safe for work”. we are the anonymous army. cross us and you will fail. anonymous is everywhere. you depend on us every day. we bag your groceries, we fix your computers. anonymous sees you before you see him. sitting at desks around the world right now is a nameless, faceless, unforgiving mafia composed of the best of the best.

For anyone who doubts the ability of the users of this site to get things done, allow me to direct you to the winner of TIME Magazine‘s  2009 Most Influential Person of the Year, Christopher Poole, a.k.a. moot, a.k.a. the founder of 4chan. As a little icing on the cake, you can check out what happened to nominees 2 to 21. Continue reading

#OccupyWallStreet: Protesting with Hashtags

So there’s about a thousand people protesting on Wall Street (ish) right now and I don’t really know exactly for what. The movement is #OccupyWallStreet and it started on September 17 and consists of about 1,000 (mostly) student-aged people (My official estimate of the demographic: I’m picturing literary references and lots of beards) just kind of hanging around the Wall Street area. Sometimes there are marches. People are sleeping in the park. People online are ordering pizzas to be delivered to the protesters. One girl took off her shirt.

You might want to know what people are actually protesting – that’s where things get more vague. Some advertisements speak of the need for One Demand, but nobody has decided what that demand is or should be or could be. Interviews with the protesters range from the idiotic to the informed, revealing mostly a mixture of the two (along the “I don’t know who my house representative is but I can tell you the percentage of the population that holds 50% of the wealth” line). The attitudes seem to be predominately socialist, or at least anti-capitalist, with lots of complaints alluding to the Bush tax cuts, the 2008 bank bailouts (if you don’t really know what those are about either, a good explanation by my friend Chris here.), and a lot of derogatory use of the word “corporations”.

An #OccupyWallStreet protester with an Anonymous mask and a hijab.

The whole situation is a strange crossover between internet networking and the real world – the Twitter support and piles of enthusiastic comments and exclamation all over the web have only translated to about 1,000 protesters at any time, and not even in the street the protest was planned for (the NYPD blocked off the key sections of Wall Street before any protesters got there). Online, however, the results are impressive (it’s kind of like looking at the Ron Paul campaign) – Anonymous, the 4chan-based hacker group with frightening amounts of power, is credited for much of the protest’s popularity.

It’s fascinating and kind of beautiful to watch – this is the first generation that grew up with the internet, and you can tell. Twitter-based protests are just called “protests” now. We are the generation that will use hashtags in our protest signs. It’s like old protests, but improved: we still have unconstructive platitudes, but at least some of them are ironic, dangit.

The coming-of-age of the first generation raised on the internet looks like this.

The use of the word “Occupy” in the title seems inaccurate, as if the protesters knew what they would do if they actually got control of the place. I’m imagining collages made with cut-up quarterly reports.

The thing is that Wall Street is now just as nonphysical as the organization of the protests – there’s not really much actual money to burn, anymore, and there aren’t safes full of the hoarded wealth of the rich. Significant money never really physically goes to Wall Street, or really anywhere – money is numbers in a computer and property value and stock value; it’s kind of hard to figure out where it actually exists.

The physicality of the protest is less impressive than its internet following and even seems a little incongruous – it’s like the event is being swallowed by its own abstractness; an internet-developed protest trying to cross the line of physical reality and occur in front of a physically symbolic place just doesn’t work out in the digital age.