WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: Internet anonymity = porn

EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER, I’M RE-POSTING SOME OLD BLOGS I THOUGHT WERE INTERESTING AND WORTH ANOTHER LOOK, OR A FIRST GLANCE FOR MY MANY NEW READERS.

Recently someone identified as “Marie” commented on a blog of mine where I questioned the Franklin Public Schools about a teacher forcing students to watch liberal CNN news programming. Of course the school district was evasive, and I reported their indifference to me.

Now here’s how “Marie” responded:

“I’m glad your kids spend 7-8 hours a day in a place where they may learn how to engage with a range of ideas or opinions they don’t agree with without getting defensive and storming out. Before you delete these comments to keep this precious blog unblemished by any other opinion, I hope you will take even a second to ask yourself why different ideas make you so mad, so angry, so disgusted and sure that the people who think that way must be evil and be destroyed. Just take a second and ask yourself if maybe everyone needs to calm down and engage like decent people again. And then you can delete me. I’m a neighbor who is trying to understand the other side. Ask around. There aren’t that many Maries on this street. And when you do find out who I am and see me driving by, I hope seeing me in person takes away some of the hostility I think comes more easily when you’re behind your keyboard than when you’re waving at a neighbor.”

First of all I don’t have kids (plural). Second, I doubt the person is a Marie, maybe not even a female, and not a resident on my street or anywhere in Franklin.

I do know this. Whoever the not-at-all courageous “Marie” is he or she felt quite bold being able to sit down at a computer and spew such junk using just a first (false?) name. And yes, I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of this cowardice throughout the years.

Made me think of this old blog:

I’ve been blogging about the issue for a long time. Here’s an edited, but still timely blog of mine from September 1, 2009:

Some background on a recent court battle that should be of great interest to bloggers.

?

began writing a blog in August 2008 about…

Image result for image, photo, liskula cohen

That’s model Liskula Cohen.

?

wrote a blog called, “Skanks in NYC.” The sole purpose of the anonymous blog was to trash Cohen with unflattering pictures and a litany of name-calling, including, “a psychotic, lying, whoring . . . skank.”

Cohen sued

?

and Google, the host of the anonymously written blog. Cohen sought to learn the identity of the individual sliming her.

A Manhattan judge ruled in Cohen’s favor, and the trash-talking blogger was unmasked as blogger Rosemary Port who now plans to sue the website. 

Port claimed she went after Cohen because Cohen said nasty things about Port to her boyfriend.

There’s more to the story that you can read here.

A larger issue is at play: the danger of anonymity on the Internet.

Not everyone who writes or comments anonymously on blogs or chat sites is irresponsible. However, given the opportunity to hide behind a fake name, a writer feels the incentive to engage in outrageous, negative, hostile, even false or libelous commentary. As columnist Dennis Prager once wrote:

“It is the very rare individual who sends a hate-filled, obscenity-laced e-mail that includes his name. As the recipient of such e-mails, I know firsthand how rarely people identify themselves when sending hate-filled mail. It is so rare, in fact, that I usually respond to hate mail that includes the writer’s name just to commend him for attaching his name to something so embarrassing.

The Internet practice of giving everyone the ability to express himself anonymously for millions to read has debased public discourse. Cursing, ad hominem attacks and/or the utter absence of logic characterize a large percentage of many websites’ ‘comments’ sections. And because people tend to do what society says it is OK to do, many people, especially younger people, are coming to view such primitive forms of self-expression as acceptable.

Some might argue that anonymity enables people to more freely express their thoughts. But this is not true. Anonymity only enables people to more freely express their feelings. Anonymity values feelings over thought, and immediate expression over thoughtful reflection.”

I call these people cowards. Ironically, liberal columnist Maureen Dowd used the same term in writing about the Cohen/Port case.

Reckless blogging is like a cancer, permeating the Internet. Sometimes, in the never-ending quest to make waves, the blogger can go too far.

There are bloggers who, like Michelle Port, have no intention of providing important information or discourse. Their sole purpose is to smear. Knowing they couldn’t face their targets or engage them in meaningful debate, fearing the very thought, they cowardly hide behind phony names or titles.

In a perfect world, everyone who writes a blog would have to divulge his/her identity and affiliation. Ditto for people who “comment.” Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen, and the irresponsibility will continue.

RELATED READING:

Is lying on the Internet now a crime?

Internet anonymity is as bad as Internet porn

Anonymity kills





2 thoughts on “WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: Internet anonymity = porn

Leave a Reply to Guy Wires Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s