Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lazy Blogger's Guide to the Joel Johnson Racist Twitter-Stalk Shitstorm

a couple days ago there were a couple posts on popular tech-blog Gizmodo that generated a lot of blog-media response and about 100K views of shitstorm. well, not hardcore shitstorm. but all told maybe an internetquake level 4, 5, 6ish event? ( mel gibson hate rant, iPhone 4 theft, michael jackson dying are approx. level 8, 9, 10ish).

but, in defense of its magnitude, this particular shitstorm involved Real Issues. ones like race, and privilege, and 'other-ing', and generally being different and getting along on the internet. These are the shitstorms that get me singing in the rain because the latent social psychology is easily converted to actionable real world wisdom: The sexy black woman you stalk on Twitter can easily be the sexy smart woman you stalk/ogle from afar in the bar! or the hot/stupid/broke man! or whatever sates your personal hunger for new and different shit/'diversity'.

In spirit, the idea of "Let's everyone stalk each other!" has a level-10 merit for any conversation even vaguely connected to the notion of information/power/freedom-to-all internet idealism. should subjective novelistic creative non-fiction be part of the content agenda? When you complain about a hot-trendy restaurant, are you challenging the food, the presentation, or the hype?

worldwide q&a sessions figure to be a confusing mess for a few more days, but at least people are talking. getting the shit out of their system. i think we still need blogs to serve as Ex-Lax for these all-too-often constipated states of america. the internet, for better and worse, is our collective mental toilet bowl.
still, there's a lot of bullshit out in them thar pageviews. a lot of noise. and too much noise is annoying. but as you probably remember, or are soon to forget, TAN is like your expensive/free pair of noise canceling headphones that allows you to listen to the real issues at a comfortable level without exposing yourself to the problem of noisy-reading fatigue...

so let's light some incense throw on some grown folk music, and chillax the internet with some soothing TAN-notes of equanimity:

the short backstory: a white tech-blogger whrites a short bit on stalking a sexy black christian woman to diversify his internet culture diet. backlash ensues.

for those who want to get in and get out, here's a soundbyte: read about the joel johnson twitstorm? see, that's what happens when u steal $5 and people act like its $10 (feel free to spice that up while sharing!)

this is the main point because this is a major problem with internet discourse: people commit the crime of stealing $1 or $5, and they're often accused of stealing $5 or $10. PLEASE REMEMBER THIS AS YOU GO FORTH AND SHITSTORM THE INTERNET. It's easy to pad your i'm-so-smart invoice with a couple extra bucks in pursuit of pageview juice-and-gin. but you're f'ing up the pricing of our intellectual/cultural economy. so mind the details.

but, wait. what does that mean, like, exactly? <--(most of this post is my brain on drugs, these parts are your brain on italics)

what does that stealing money bit mean: this is a funny thing, to me, because people love to engage in the aesthetics of debate and intellectual discourse. the unexamined life is not worth living, and all that. but then everyone walks up to the podium and talks like adults in Charlie Brown cartoons.

(aside to young people: this is also the main problem with intergenerational intermingling. when youngs and olds converse. young people (high school, college, ignoramuses of any age) often like to ACT and present the AESTHETIC of engaging in intellectual discourse. Older people (30+) are just annoyed with coming to inhabit this squandered youth business. And olds (50+) don't bother cause they're going to die soon, and are focused on *preparing for landing*. in fact, my personal suspicion is that children ages 5-8, or so, are the only real human beings who fully embrace the pure ignorant bliss of raw fresh-off-the-vine intellectual curiosity. (also if you're a rich and financially independent celebrity. i.e. Gwyneth Paltrow isn't perfect; she's come full circle to be pure, innocent, like a child.))

but i digress: Joel Johnson (heretofore referred as JJ, for typing efficiency and also to set up a potential Dy-No-Mite joke) made a mistake, but it's not the $10 mistake all the Charlie Brown adults are talking about. JJ's mistake is not the stalking of the black girl on twitter. so if you think a tech blogger's use of the word "stalk" empowers real stalkers to hop to it and catch up on some REAL LIFE STALKING, you are now free to go.I'm not ashamed to admit that I hang out with real life stalkers, and none of them read Gizmodo. (They read Adult Friend Finder, and sometimes Lifehacker). Similarly if you think gizmodo as a 'well-read' blog has put 'sexy black women' in more danger than any previous formulation which contains the words "sexy" and "women" then you, too, are now free to leave the post's premises. (but check the archives! xo)

so. now that it's just you, me, and the sexy-black-women stalkers surely we can agree the incriminating diary confessional is JJ's right as an intellectual blog-renaissance man. he's curious. don't we want our writers to have some sense of art and creativity and curiosity? and yes, even our *pffft* blog-writers. Your 5-8 year old children/would-be-Gwyneth Paltrows should aspire to such noble goals. this is not irony! nor satire! this is a cultivated tone of earnest haughtiness meant to imply STANDARDS. an ocularly invisible bar, that exists, that you are likely below, but should aspire to reach. how else do we merge the population into the speed-lane of onward! upward! (<-- a question without a questionmark?)
JJ is challenging norms and status quo which is a lot more than we can say for all the sheep in this world. We want smart curious men and women. And this is how you smartly curiously investigate in 2010. The wiki on Balzac says he suffered from health problems throughout his life due to his intense writing schedule. This means he was well suited for blogging in 2010.

But this is not a negro dusting off the man after he's been knocked down (though in disclosure i've been close enough to JJ to notice, but not brush, the dirt off his shoulder). JJ did indeed make a mistake. His $5 mistake was having options to serve this noble aristocratic dilettante diversity *agenda* without going the sexy-black-woman-stalker route. this makes the story exploitative, and his defense of it wrong. 85-90% of the backlash doesn't properly address this. so they are also wrong, and that's how shitstorms ensue.

but the first/main comment in his own response does address this (also tweeted)... (by the way, doesn't this happen on the internet enough to be researched. a post where the actual content is mostly husk, but the life-bearing fruit/seeds come immediately after the fact, from the crowd. that's a book right there. go write it, someone! (here's more threads to follow)

What happened to the bold sub-headings to keep you on track: So we're way a long way from my brief concise soundbyte, and my word countometer that basically counts down from 1000-0 and shoots lasers up my ass when i approach the nobody's reading danger zone is flashing quite intensely. plus, i'm bored.  this was only an internetquake 4,5,6-level event...

so, uh, yes. jj in his crime stole $5 by not using the resources already available to him, and thus validates some of the exploitative finger-wagging aimed in his direction. on the other hand the people finger-wagging with talk of white privilege, racism, misogyny, are only making the problem worse. if you accuse someone who stole $5 of stealing $10 then (1) you're wrong, and can't pursue your prosecution to the full extent of intellectual law/logic. and (2) you're missing real problems like Time Magazine, and how privilege fronts feminism in most mainstream media stories. and if you want to battle you vs. me on this, well bring it. i will diary-stalk your face.

k, bai now. lasers hurting my ass.


  1. This.

    "I’m not ashamed to admit that I hang out with real life stalkers, and none of them read Gizmodo. (They read Adult Friend Finder, and sometimes Lifehacker)."

    made my day.

  2. Anonymous7/19/2010

    so tan, what percentage of these chivalrous defenders of 'sexy black woman' do you think actually know any black women?

  3. were it not for the decent spelling and grammar, i would think you wrote this either high or drunk as fuck. still another great piece though.

  4. anon: you mean the guys stalking for diversity? low?

    i'd rather have stalking for diversity, and the mess that brings than heads in the sand and trying to get an object not in motion to get moving.

    if that was your implied subtext...

  5. Anonymous7/20/2010

    ^ no i mean the people who attacked the author of the post, who attacked the blogger in defense of the black woman; how many of those actually know black women or a black woman?

  6. oh, well, a lot of backlash came from young black and sexy's on the internet. as opposed to, say, other tech bloggers ..

  7. Gizomodo's content is blatantly plagiarized where it isnt poorly written; you should be reading Engadget.


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