Choke on a dick, Greedo6274!
Some horribly sad news with a horribly predictable outcome.
Queensland teenager Saxon Bird tragically died in a Gold Coast lifesaving championship last week. His last words to his mother reportedly were “I really don’t want to do this”. Organizers had been minutes away from canceling the event when he was struck in the head by his surfboard and killed.
In their grief, Bird’s friends and relatives posted a Facebook page dedicated to Saxon’s memory. You can guess where this is heading…
Mere days later the site had been swamped with obscene messages and hateful, malicious comments.
An anarchic online group is being blamed for the ‘prank’, but even if authorities were to track down the responsible parties, what action could actually be taken?
This is just the latest in a series of Facebook memorial’s which have been attacked. This year has also seen pages dedicated to Trinity Bates, an 8-year-old girl murdered in Bundaberg, and Elliot Fletcher, a 12-year-old stabbed in a schoolyard dispute in Brisbane, targeted by cyber-assholes.
My question to the people who created these pages is: what did they think was gonna happen?
Now, first things first, please don’t take this to mean that I’m defending or condoning the dickhole’s posting hurtful comments. They fully deserve to be publicly outed and shamed for their behavior.
What I’m saying is that anyone with even a slightly functional knowledge of the internet knows that respect, as well as so many other social conventions we take for granted on a daily basis, do not apply in cyberspace.
Let’s talk fact – the internet has afforded us the ability to retrieve information from anywhere in the world almost instantly. It’s enabled us the ability to constantly communicate with one another. It’s changed the way we view the world, and our belief in a basic right to be able to access or comment on whatever we wish, whenever we feel like it (right, Stephen Conroy?).
But in doing these things, it has created a system that can quite easily be utterly devoid of respect, courtesy or boundaries, depending entirely on the user of course.
If some racist, maladjusted idiot wants to post a comment on the YouTube clip for Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ saying “SHE IS A NIGGA BITCH, SHE CAN’T SING ADN IBET SHE SUX LOTS OF DICKS SP SHE COULD BE A SINGER LOL”… he can.
(Note: I can understand how these people may have issues with correct spelling or grammar, but why oh why do they always seem to have the Caps Lock on?)
So this guy has embraced the internet and his fans for 15 years??? FUCK HIM! Where's my Caps Lock?!
If you want to post on film-maker Kevin Smith’s View Askew forum “FUK FAT SMITH HE CANN’T DIRECT SHIT N HES NOT AS GOOD AS TRANSFROMERS 2!!!”… well, you can do that also.
And if some fool wants to join Saxon Bird’s memorial page on Facebook and write “FUCK HIM FAGGOT, I BET HES BLOWIN SUM DUDE IN HELL :P”… then guess what? That’ll happen too.
Of course none of these people would EVER have the balls to talk smack like that in person to the intended victim of their abuse. But that’s the point. The internet doesn’t just allow this kind of interaction, it thrives on it. The act of ‘trolling’, making deliberately inflammatory statements on various websites, is considered merely harmless fun. No one even blinks at being labeled a fucktard by some yahoo they’ve never met. Shit that would get your ass kicked in reality is just par for the course online.
In this kind of environment, whilst I appreciate the sentiment involved in creating a page to pay tribute to a dead friend or relative, you simply cannot expect the same kind of basic courtesy you would probably receive in person from 95% + of the general population.
And whilst it may seem the argument of a complete Luddite, does grief really need to take some kind of virtual form on the web? Is there any genuine solace to be found in a ‘Join this memorial group’ request?
It pays to ALWAYS remember that the world we live in and the online world we occasionally occupy are very different places.
Because even the interaction we’re sharing right now, between you the reader and this WordPress blog, is no substitute for real shared human experience.
Nevertheless I’ll continue to try to subscribe to the idea of treating others the way I want to be treated, both in person and on the net. But at the same time I’m not going to be fuckin flabbergasted when dArKkNiGhT41 at http://www.aintitcool.com tells me that my mother should have aborted me and then sterilized herself just because I wasn’t completely blown away by ‘The Watchmen’…
Maybe… a little… sniffle… hurt… sob… but not… surprised,