Monday, September 29, 2008

Brain Gremlin Attempts To Explain 4Chan To Bill O'Reilly And Oprah

I was originally going to post about this last week, but I didn't have a lot of time to get around to formulating posts because I was too busy being extremely lazy. Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account was hacked recently by some guy who guessed her security questions based on information he gleaned from Wikipedia, and he posted the password on an incredibly popular underground Internet community, knowing that it gets between 150,000 and 200,000 unique hits daily from teenagers who enjoy nothing more than creating random mischief.

Although no incriminating evidence against her was found and although she was alerted to the situation almost immediately by the site owner who also realized the magnitude of the situation and removed the post within minutes of its appearance, the damage had already been done and, conversely, nothing of value was really lost except a lot of scriptkiddies getting incredibly butthurt over having missed it. Still, I'm not going to pretend that the fact that she's as famous as she is stupid somehow excuses the actions of her Internet attacker. What was done is still illegal, no matter how anyone tries to rationalize it, and the person who violated her privacy should be duly punished.

Bill O'Reilly discovered that his newest super secret crush was victimized and came charging to the rescue atop the mighty, demon-eyed, winged steed with flames shooting from its flared nostrils that is his ego, armed with a plethora of the ignorant and misinformed statements that has made people with common sense realize they're yelling at their televisions for over a decade now. Even when his guest, Megan Kelly, an attourney, informed him that he was wrong, he very openly and rather disrespectfully disagreed with her by interrupting her to restate his own misinformed opinions.

Oh no! A FoxNews anchor is put personally in charge of the investigation by Bill O'Reilly! This guy is going DOWN! (Unless they find some distracting videos on YouTube of bears riding tricycles to spend fifteen minutes discussing on air.)

Disgusted by the government taking the time to investigate the crime and ascertain the website's threat level instead of doing something rash that the Republicans have been famous for over the past decade like calling martial law on all of humanity, Bill O'Reilly continues to spread his false and uninformed interpretations of actual events and actual law.

It's a good thing "there are no libel or slander laws anymore," Bill, or else you wouldn't get away with lying outright to your fans by being a big uptight idiot whose face looks like an owl was crossbred with a baby. Remember, it's only libel if it's untrue, and you can't argue that isn't what his face looks like.

This video just fails hard. It proves that nobody at FoxNews comprehends just what this website actually is. Ever since it was exposed to the mainstream a couple years ago, it's generally been the scapegoat for a lot of other communities that do much more significant and exploitative damage.

It's hilarious to me. Not the crime itself, but it's just funny to watch these reasonable, middle-aged pundits try to wrap their closed minds around something as unprecedented and atypical as 4chan. Even Oprah was trolled in her forums by someone strewing together a series of meaningless memes into a relevant sentence that she read on the air in an episode dedicated to exposing pedophiles.

This is where the average 4chan member would insert any number of "facepalm" pictures, because that is exactly what this amounts to, one giant, living, breathing facepalm. Bill O'Reilly and Oprah Winfrey are trying to apply their own myopic, adult ideas of prudence, civility, diplomacy, and order to the disorganized chaos of a bunch of kids who routinely post scat porn on a web forum that has almost no rules.

What O'Reilly refuses to understand or even acknowledge is that the website where Sarah Palin's email information was briefly posted is a website where people can post almost anything they want at any time, absolutely for free. No money exchanged hands for the email information. No one was put up to the task beforehand. This isn't FoxNews-dot-com. This isn't a credible news service. The only reason news gets posted on 4chan is if it's funny, and if it is, it usually has very little to do with anything that affects the world in any important way. Sarah Palin, John McCain, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, George W. Bush, Hilary Clinton, Bill O'Reilly and Over 9000 Pedophiles are only relevant when they do or say something stupid that the mentally unstable can laugh at. Ever wonder why we never see any Joe Biden posts? It's not because he's not newsworthy, it's because on a humor scale between one and ten, one being completely humorless and ten being hilarious, Joe Biden reigns in at boring-as-fuck.

The owner of 4chan founded the website on the belief in unmoderated free speech. Unfortunately, he discovered that people are generally idiots, so over the years, he had to apply at least a little moderation, but it's primarily reactionary. Child pornography is absolutely not tolerated, but rebellious teenagers being the idiots that they are, they often like to taunt authority to see what they can get away with. The way the forum is set up — the way nearly every forum is set up — the content has to be posted before any administrative action can take place. In this case in particular, administrative action consists of immediate removal of the content and a permanent ban of the infringing party. Other rules are completely arbitrary and enforced entirely at random, but that is the one consistent rule. This would kind of defeat Oprah's argument if only she spent as much time researching a website she openly criticizes as she does reading the books she convinces America are worth a shit. I guess knowing what you're talking about doesn't deliver the greatest shock value to the audience that you intentionally keep ignorant so they'll continue to worship you.

In the case of Sarah Palin's email information, it too had to be posted before any administrative action could take place. It's just literally impossible to guess what any moron kid is going to post on the Internet before they do. That's just the way it is. Until Bill O'Reilly becomes psychic, he shouldn't criticize others for not being psychic. From the information I could gather, it remained on the website for about four minutes before it was removed, the password changed, and Sarah Palin's people were contacted. The hacker posted it on the website hoping that the website would be blamed and he could blend in under the veil of anonymity once he realized how serious the ramifications of his actions actually were. He knew that the idiot newbies would wreak havoc on her email at an unprecedented rate, and his IP would be lost in the confusion.

Still, as someone who has known about 4chan as an excellent source for stupid pictures and bizarre new information about various Internet perversions since nearly its inception, it is funny to see it represented as a serious threat by people who are just now discovering it and utterly failing to comprehend it. Bill, Oprah, Anonymous is not organized. Anonymous is not an affiliation. Anonymous is not a Left Wing propoganda oranization. Anonymous is not a news organization. Anonymous is not a terrorist network. Anonymous is not a child porn ring. Anonymous is a bunch of stupid kids who swap stupid pictures and laugh at stupid shit. That's all it is.

Think of Anonymous as gremlins, like from the movie in the Eighties. Anonymous are hyperactive little trolls whose sole motivation to do anything is strictly "for the lulz." You will see Anonymous on your tractor, tearing out the dashboard while laughing hysterically. Anonymous covers your eyes as you drive your truck into a tree. If you shove Anonymous into a mircowave and turn it on, he will blow up. Anonymous is the gas station attendant you yell at over the price of gas. Anonymous is the bagger of your groceries that you sneer at as you ponder his waste of existence. Anonymous is the college kid whose parents don't know has spent all of his food money on pot. Anonymous has actually been known to report actual cases of child abuse that have led to the arrests of serious sexual offenders in some of the earliest recorded cases of online vigilantism. On 4chan, Anonymous can gather and laugh at all of the people who have stepped on their heads on the way to the top for being such giant fucking idiots.

Yes, you can decry the lack of basic respect that would cause a person to hack an email account and post it on a website, and you can continue to equate an experiment in ultimate free speech to global terrorism. However, you could also use this incident to reinforce a fact that has been common knoweldge to much of the Internet for years, that Yahoo's web service sucks outright, and you could question why a prominent political figure would resort to using a such an inept web service for her primary personal email account.

Let the little idiots have their online playground. If it suddenly went away tomorrow, nothing of value would really be lost, but it generally keeps them happily apathetic about creating mischief in real life. So there is that.


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