Troll Attack SWATH

Reddit Scandal: “Those Meaningless Internet Points”

For my money, the most interesting story this week wasn’t Obama’s unsurprising comeback in the second debate—I’ve always said he plays a street-savvy long game, to laudable effect—but the outing by Gawker of the internet’s most notorious troll, Michael Brutsch, a.k.a. Violentacrez on Reddit.  This brought into the spotlight an issue I have long had with trolling, or making any sort of controversial attack or negative comment online: If you wouldn’t have the balls to say it to my face (or anyone else you are vilifying or degrading) as who you are in real life, you shouldn’t do it online.

Anonymous slander, stalking, offense, intimidation, humiliation et al. is cowardice, pure and simple.  When it becomes harassment and bullying of weaker people, it is downright dangerous—we’ve all heard stories of suicides resulting from the lethal psychological effects of the egregious behavior of what Anderson Cooper calls “little people,” which is the term he used in reference to Brutsch for a special segment on the Reddit scandal.  Anderson is someone I have made fun of myself a few times in these pages, but (almost) always as myself, the notable exception being when I posed as Tom Cruise to offer Anderson advice in The Tom Cruise Guide to Gay Sex in Your 50s.  When I am spoofing a celebrity, which I’ve done twice as Cruise and Lady Gaga, it’s pretty clear to readers that it’s me, and if it isn’t then I will cheerfully own up to it.

Bully on You — Part Two


by James Killough

Please read Part One first.

In between the time I posted the first part of this series and now, Harvey Weinstein managed to browbeat the Motion Picture Association of America into lowering its rating for Bully from R to PG-13 following a petition signed by over half a million students nationwide.  This means the film can now be shown in schools, the most appropriate and effective venues to screen it in.  In terms of social benefit, this might be Weinstein’s worthiest victory ever.

From Bruce Weber's series "Wrestling Requires Two" (2012), one of the more vicious gladiators in the vast free-for-all of opinion websites, was as wantonly unkind about this landmark reversal as it was when it ran a piece a couple of days ago effectively trashing Mike Wallace’s career just after he died.  Gawker insists that Bully isn’t really for teenagers, but I don’t agree; as I said in part one of this series, it’s a feature-length public service announcement.  Teenagers should be its primary audience.