On Freedom and Fallacies

This is take two on this topic. I’m starting fresh a couple hours later, after a glass of wine and homemade chicken pot pie.
It’s the second take because this topic is really important to me and I don’t want to fuck it up.
Thank god I have quality guidance like that of Fame. Yes, you heard me, the ‘80s arts school drama. It’s on, and I’m chilling. Defragging my mind, as I like to say. Watching fluff is exactly the right fit, and has given me some interesting perspective as I crack this nut for a second time.
Funnily, a girl in this episode of Fame scoffs at the notion of writing her private thoughts and dreams in a diary at the teacher’s urging.
“If I wrote down my dreams,” she says, “I’d get arrested.”
Yeah. Huh. Ironic.
To that end, take note of the week that was in the world of the wide web. Proper fucked, indeed. It’s like a crash course in What Not to Do in the Intertubez.
A Montreal guy writes some shit in a forum then figures rifle + college = a good afternoon’s plan.
Like the motherfucking coward he was, he went out and tried to kill a bunch of people. Realizing he couldn’t even do a massacre right, he deprived us of the fun of letting cops kill him. The coward took his life. Fucking better off dead, anyhow.
But he wrote in forums.
We shoulda seen it coming.
A dickhead in Seattle decides he’s going to act like a fucking 13-year-old and reposts another city’s craigslist ad by some dirty-minded femme, and gets a couple hundred responses or something, then figgers he’s got rights to publish that private correspondence in an attempt to expose those apparent sickos to the world.
But they answered a public ad.
They shoulda seen it coming.
A young mother in Florida writes her secret other self dark thoughts on a public blog, and then her child goes mysteriously missing, improbably snatched from their window. Young mother kills herself 16 days into the toddler’s absence.
But she wrote dark shit on blogs, then her kid vanishes.
We shoulda seen it coming.
A video diarist on the world wide web is exposed as a professional actress working off a script. The show is produced, directed, and written, yet has duped the majority of its viewers, primarily through YouTube.com, into believing the so-called lonelygirl15 was a teenaged girl locked in her bedroom and homeschooled by orthodox religious parents. Doh.
She’s a fake.
Like ohmigod. But she, like, really talked to us, man!”
You shoulda seen it coming.
It’s happening. It’s really fucking happening.
You know what I’m talking about.
For some godforsaken reason, it’s starting to occur to people that this, like, internet thing might just be a way of seeing what’s really going on in the noggins of little people everywhere.
And, um, uh-oh, but what’s going on in those little people’s noggins everywhere is something that’s not very pretty.
Some people, it would seem, are angry.
Some of them even feel disenfranchised. And, look. They’re acting on this shit.
Yeah, well. When the odds are stacked, you ought not be surprised at the outcome. Probability and logic being what they are and all, yes?
I’m part of the generation that got schooled in Orwell’s classic 1984. We were raised to believe that someday, one day, the government would hear every word we would utter, and freedom would be a thing of the past.
I’ll be honest, the Digital Age scares me.
The ease with which people can access information about me is frightening. It should frighten you, too. Unfortunately, the time is coming nigh where voices on the web are not just an anonymous blur with little impact on the real world. Now, we’re not so anonymous, and now this world is more real than it is virtual.
There’s coming a time where what you say here is going to come home to haunt you. This is the age of insinuation, and anything you say can be manipulated and used against you. Decide now if you plan to live in fear of that, or if you have the balls to play the game my way, and own your ability to say what you think and how you feel.
In forums such as this, someone such as me might decide to write a little bloggie in which the entire contents of our deepest darkest other selves are posted up on virtual walls for the world at large to indulge in.
In essence, it’s a voice. I have a voice, you have a voice, we all have voices.
It’s idyllic. A virtual Utopia in which we’re all given voices and identities, something that ironically clashes with our seemingly democratic lives – lives spent living in societies that claim to be governed by the people, of the people, for the people.
Only they’re not like any people I’ve ever known.
And I don’t feel like I belong.
And I’m tired of feeling this small because I’m just an ordinary gal.
I thought I’d take my voice and use it. I’m not alone. You’re doing it too. And him, and her, and hey.
We all took our existences online, where we thought we’d have the right to say what we think whenever the fuck it pops into mind.
Unfortunately, when such vocal freedom is enjoyed by a world at large, some of those voices will be beyond dissent. They will be voices of rage and fury and vengeance. Or maybe they’ll be coolly quiet.
And that’s a risk we take by allowing open dialogue.
Every now and then, though, those voices will be warning signals. Intervention might occur, and it might segue to prevention.
Just because assholes and the disenfranchised like these can use the web to serve their fucted means doesn’t necessitate that the rest of us should have to watch our words.
Sadly, the voice of reason doesn’t seem to resonate these days. I fear that the talking heads of today might soon decide that there is such thing as too much free speech and they will indeed succeed in legislating the internet.
In which case now might be the time to, like the good hunter Elmer Fudd suggests, be vewwy, vewwy qwiet.
Only we’re not hunting rabbits.

6 thoughts on “On Freedom and Fallacies

  1. Lower

    well said steff.
    its starting at schools where its easier to pull this crap off… you cant look at things on the net that you can see in a book a few shelves behind you…. you get barred from seeing info from groups because of thier opinions (alright.. this is the KKK we are talking about here..) but, point remains that the time we should be letting our kids explore this stuff, so they can realise what bias is … and develop a bullshit-filter… something that sadly most of this world seems to have missed out on.

  2. Spiritoftherain

    I never knew how hazardous it was to leave an information trail until my friend, we’ll call him G, got harassed by some kid after posting something in gamefaqs.com. Feeling pissed off at this kid, G decides to get his revenge. Within the day or so, G goes on google and the address he used to contact him, traces the kid’s contact info, his identity on a message board, various messenger identities, as well as links to his friends.

    He pretends to be said annoying kid to a friend he knows, finds out a hell of a lot more info, and pretty soon my friend G knows the kid’s home address, real name, school he goes to, name of his cat, parents’ names… all that lovely private info you don’t want a random stranger to know.

    And then armed with all this personal info about this kid, G contacts him from a different account, just to freak him out.

    “Hey, how’s your cat doing? What’s her name again? Sandy? Right, right… you’re still living on such and such address, correct? Hey, that’s not too far from where I live! I could come to your house sometime!”

    So on and so on. Basically, my friend gave this kid a moral lesson about not to start shit with random people on the internet, before blocking him, and posting the tale of revenge on his own blog.

    That, more than anything else, awoke me to the dangers of leaving personal info online. Admittedly since I’ve been hanging about since I was thirteen, I could have probably been a lot more careful. Now I don’t know how easily I can be traced down. G’s antics awoke me to what could happen if someone wanted to track me down, for whatever reason.

    Just goes to show how dangerous such an output of information can be for you in the long term. You never know who’s going to start taking an interest in your private life.


  3. Anonymous

    Beautiful, Steff.

    As for online identity, my primary line of defence is to periodically Google myself.

    – me.

  4. Solymar

    Great post, Steff.
    I was wondering what your take is on couples who have a peaceful, mutual breakup (stay good friends) and continue living together until their lease is up.
    Is it a recipe for disaster?

  5. freakangel

    What’s that quote?

    “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

    That Roosevelt was a smart man. It doesn’t matter whether you record your thoughts in a paper journal, on napkins at restaurants, or in a blog. The fact remains that your little secrets are always there to find. Digital just adds another dimension.

    There is no such thing as privacy. Just get a divorce, and you’ll find that out.

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