Change of Mind

Recently my thinking on an issue has evolved, and I thought I would share it here. It’s semi-political, in a way, but relatively non-partisan. It has to do with how celebrities are treated, whether they are in the entertainment industry or well known political peeps or whomever.

In the past, I basically dgaffed. My view was that, for movie stars especially, they became famous by seeking the spotlight, so live by the sword, die by the sword. I had no patience for their bitching about the paparazzi. The exception was Princess Diana, but, still, was it a photographer’s fault her chauffeur drove like a maniac?

That was a long time ago, and before celebs were on twitter along with their stalkers. Same for politicians, etc. It’s really not a solution to say “get off social media.” I can, since I don’t actually have a writing career. But a politician can’t. An established author must have an online presence. Actors are probably told the same. Etc.

They are not only relentlessly mocked and harassed, but also impersonated to an insane degree. This goes far beyond the annoyance of having some shutterbug snap a photo when they’re trying to relax at a resort.

The other day a singer I follow on Twitter, Rosanne Cash, had her entire account recopied word for word, photo for photo. That account then followed me. My first reaction was hey neato Rosanne follows me now! But I looked more closely and figured out it was a fake. I reported it, and Twitter deleted it.

Why do people do that? To begin setting up scams. Most likely after fake-Rosanne amassed enough followers she’d begin flirting with some men, tell them she wanted to chat offline, and hit them up for money for whatever thing. They’d send money by PayPal and she’d disappear.

My reporting fake-Rosanne will probably accomplish nothing. She’ll try again. She’ll choose a different celeb. I reported another fake account a while back and it too was deleted. Twitter does take action ~ it also will get rid of those awful antisemitic Q accounts too if you report them. But there are so many that it’s hopeless.

I feel sorry for celebs now. Some actors like Scarlett Johansson are victimized by “deepfake porn,” videos that make it seem like they are really acting in porn movies. The technology is so good that these creeps can superimpose faces on other women’s bodies and apparently you can’t tell the difference. No one should have to put up with that in the name of “free speech.”

It’s all because of this idiotic idea that we should be able to access the internet anonymously and thus be completely unaccountable for our behavior. Get TOS’d? No problem. Make a new anon gmail and begin again. I’ve said before that I’m against anonymous speech and there are only more and more reasons piling up why it’s a bad thing. My view is we should have one ID, from say a fingerprint, that follows us everywhere online, no escape from our words and behavior.

No worries, you can still be a creepy troll… but everyone will know who you are right away. The nasty stalkers will still be able to dog their fave celebs and politicians all over Twitter in the name of free speech, and they can still be obnoxious and crude in the comments on Fox News, but we will know who they are and where they are the second they hit send. That will most likely make a lot of these jerks have second thoughts about blurting out their vile spew. Neither “little people” nor stars should have to put up with this continual harassment.

44 responses to “Change of Mind

  1. You’re right, no-one should.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So true. Often some people act without thinking about the consequences on others.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The world today is filled with all these people who are too lazy to go out and get a job and they just try to take advantage of others.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Nope, missed that one. Anonymity is a human right.

    (Supreme Court, McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, 514 U.S. 334)

    Quoting: “Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.”

    You’re worried about online people getting their little feelers all mashed up. And for that, you’ll expose people who have strong opinions, ideas, politics, philosophies, religions, or whatever to actual real-world assaults, repression, firings, murders, or tours in Siberia?

    Shall I be outed so that some skateboard swinging little commie-maggot gets his dumb ass killed trying to “change my mind”? Should they know where you live when you step off the GroupThink PC bus and actually have an opinion someone doesn’t like? How about all those guys you “swiped left” because they were turds? Should they know where you do your shopping and your kids live so that they get to personally express their displeasure at mashing up their sensitive dangly bits and pride? How about all them Hero O’ Da Peepul whistleblowers that turn up anonymously every time some power player steps on his dick?

    Do you REALLY want to ID the guy who’s trying to tell you where the bodies are buried to the people who buried them?

    Pfft. Sorry about everyone’s sensitive selves. Block, move on, stop using Facebook (or whatever) or GROW A THICKER HIDE. You (generically speaking, not you in particular) have no right to not be offended. Those are reasonable responses to a democratizing process, not going all Kim Jong-un and mashing everyone into the same beige LockThought so they all get along.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not a matter of feelings. I’m talking about nonstop harassment and threats to people who aren’t anonymous because they have been using their names all along and are branded. When I want to promote a book, I can’t be anonymous because I’m NOT anon. So, if some jerk decides to troll me, he can easily find me here and in meatspace. He can send an army of accounts after me to send pictures of ovens because they hate Jews, or misogynistic slurs because they hate women. And that’s all protected speech for THEM and no protections for me. I should have to leave the internet to these people?

      Liked by 1 person

    • So, there’s a difference between the kind of anonymity you two are discussing. Retaliation by the government and retaliation by Twitter, friends, family, and coworkers are definitely different things. Social media changed a lot about the way we hold discussions. We don’t need town halls or op-eds or even a soap box anymore. McIntyre does not protect private speech that impersonates other people. McIntyre does not protect any and all anonymous speech. Yes, people who speak online are subject to TOS, and yes, TOS should be crafted to permit anonymous speech only to a point, but not to the point of stealing someone’s online presence or harassing folks with threats of violence. Deletion isn’t enough. Those perpetrators should be prosecuted. IMHO

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep. If only the providers were willing to use the money they make from their advertisers to hire enough people to force everyone to follow the rules we all agreed to. Like FB doesn’t have enough money for that! Good riddance to all FB products ~ one of my better decisions.


  5. I agree with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I often wonder if the keyboard makes people so mean or even out of character

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Fuhgeddaboudit, Paula. I want people to know me by Fandango and not my real name. Why? Not because I want to engage in any inappropriate or untoward activity on the internet, but because I’ve already had my identity stolen twice and I don’t want it to happen a third time. So it’s important for me to maintain my anonymity in cyberspace.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I’m of two minds after reading comments. Two Norwegian newspapers have closed comments because people didn’t discuss; they flung muck. Real names don’t stop people from that. Yet, as a deterrent, having access to posters real names is something newspapers usually have had, even if printing using a pseudonym. SoMe is so vast and so busy, however, that you can’t keep up with accountability any more.

    I use my real name, I’m in the phone book, but I’m also in Norway. Things are more transparent here and so in many ways safer, but that doesn’t stop the muck flinging.

    I think folks who fling muck should be held accountable. Whether or not they use their real name seems not to matter and probably shouldn’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Interesting read. Thanks for the perspective. I’m also impressed that you figured out the Twitter page was a fake! Nice!! (not on it myself but am on other social media sites)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! Well, I knew I had followed the original Rosanne, so when the fake one followed me, I saw I hadn’t followed her back. That’s weird, I thought ~ when did I unfollow Rosanne? Then I looked down my list and saw a second one!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. So agree with you, and despite the right of anonymity, a burgeoning world pop. and internet usage means that real anonymity is impossible in real terms but only in pretend terms (i.e. ostrich terms). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I could not possibly agree more, Paula.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Not that it matters–just wanted to weigh in. I think just about everyone finds it offensive to be attacked or otherwise acted upon aggressively by someone who is anonymous. We all, pretty much, regard that as cowardly and annoying. Not to equate it with modern terrorism, but there are similar elements to it. The fact that we are, at times, essentially a bunch of mean primates added to this weird Internet thing–not a good combo. The Internet has still to grow up. Or we do. Paula, I think you are right in wanting the Internet to be more civilized–meaning, maybe some enforceable rules of conduct, just like in the real world.
    I think I’m semi-anonymous, and I intend to stay that way, at least until the royalties on my novel start pouring in, but, then, I don’t attack people on the Internet. Why would I do that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. I do think that’s an important question ~ why do the anon trolls attack people on the internet? Not always, but very often it is to drive them away, to deprive them by using fear and veiled threats in the form of photos and slurs, of that precious free speech. When the male gamers attacked the women who dared to invade their gaming turf, this was exactly their motive, to drive them away. When these anon Q tweeters use racist messages against blacks and Jews and everyone who is not a white Christian Trump supporter they WANT to chase them off twitter by making them afraid. It’s their goal. They want to deprive others of free speech by scaring them BECAUSE they are anonymous.


  13. Nothing has changed except the volume. I’m pretty friggin’ old, and I remember an appreciable amount of my life going by before the internet was even invented. You want to know who got bombarded by anonymous letters, notes in the lockers, prank and/or criminal phone calls, untrackable rumors, etc.?

    Everyone, that’s who. You just don’t remember because the rumor that you got drunk and blew Bobby behind the gym or were a secret lesbian relationship with the school librarian, or that the reason you got into that club was because they felt sorry for you and needed a low-IQ for the books or because you were an A-List Princess who never had to work for a damned thing in your life, or your Dad is a Nazi hiding out from the government or your mom is a lush who disappears for upwards of a week at at time when the fleet came in, while it stung, and maybe was even memorable (and possibly even true), it only involved about two dozen people, tops. That was the size of the social circle that meant shit to you one way or the other.

    Now if I decide to make up some goofy horseshit about you or your family, the intent, nastiness, and viciousness doesn’t change a whit — but it goes out to the ENTIRE WORLD and I’m backed up and supported by hundreds of other scumbuckets instead of just my local crew I hang out with down at the Keg and Bottle.

    Same issue. More people. Same solution. Get a thicker skin, start blocking people, limit your social circles to people you give a shit about, and stop spinning your wheels trying to regulate all of us in order to get a handle on some shitbucket in Encino who you don’t even know but who seems to be up your ass all the time.


  14. There’s a risk with everything. There’s a loss with every gain. Privacy for big bucks and entertaining. Love of passion for acting with loss of control. It’s life’s balance we must accept.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to believe this ~ and still do somewhat. I don’t feel much sympathy for the public figure who gets photographed when out in public. That’s the breaks. But I am sympathetic to the harassment of their kids and the porn vids.


  15. Absolutely well said!

    Liked by 1 person

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