There's the good, the great, and then there's the BEST. Welcome to MTV Geek's Best of 2012 -- what we thought were the cream of the crop this year in the world of GEEK!
I'll let the following quotes related to this most OMG moment in Geek this year speak for themselves:
"Get over yourself, you pretentious prick."
-- @robertliefeld to @Ssnyder1835
"what a stuck up b**ch. I hope all them people who gave her money get raped and die of cancer
--YouTube commenter to Anita Sarkeesian
"dammit, dammit, dammit I am so sick and tired of the whole COSPLAY-Chiks. I know a few who are actually pretty cool-and BIG Shocker, love and read Comics.So as in all things, they are the exception to the rule. Heres the statement I wanna make, based on THE RULE: "Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-. Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC"
--Tony Harris on Facebook
"Oh Sue...you're seeing my stuff all the time. You just don't know it. Happiness is torturing dumb f**k female fangirl bloggers."
--"John Vee" to Sue from the blog "DC Women Kicking Ass"
"I will kill you, my friend."
--@CultDrive to @DanSlott
I was thinking of just going on and on quoting horrible horrible stuff from teh Internets this year, as sort of a convenient and highly-Tweetable list of sheer depressing bad karma that one can share with friends. I mean -- I haven't even gotten into the political stuff yet! But, this is a Geek blog, and I will limit myself to Geek topics; in 2012, sadly, there was no deficit in the amount of Internet Rage going on in our own community.
The most recent example of Internet Rage is, of course, the death threats levied against "Amazing Spider-Man" writer Dan Slott. But let's not also forget the sad, savage carnival of anger and terror slung back-and-forth all thoughout this year, in the name of Comics, Videogames, Cosplay, and even My Little Pony.
What the HELL, people?
Let's remember the case of feminist videogame critic Anita Sarkeesian, who was the focal point of a systematic reign of Online Terrorism -- because that's what it is, folks, Terrorism. The recipient of many rape and death threats, Sarkeesian's face was even used in a Flash "game" that allowed users to beat her to a bloody pulp. Why did this happen to her? The way it always starts. Somebody Had An Opinion On The Internet.
From a Flash game used to simulate beating Anita Sarkeesian in the face
While the national news focuses on the death threats against Slott, let's not forget the case of "John Vee," who, at one point in 2012, Harassed Every Woman In Comics On The Internet with threatening and sexually offensive attacks. I wish I was exaggerating about the "Every Woman In Comics On The Internet" thing -- but that was literally the case (and included myself). When comic writers Ron Marz and Mark Millar got involved in identifying the perp in question, it was discovered that some female comic creators and bloggers (including myself) were suffering in silence and being terrorized by this man FOR UP TO THREE YEARS. "John Vee" took the online harassment one step further, threatening to stalk some of his targets in "real life."
The (deleted) Twitter handle of "John Vee," who stalked and threatened numerous women online
But really, what does the concept of "real life" mean to somebody who sends an email or leaves an online comment to a comics writer or blogger or editor threatening to murder them or rape them or rape their loved ones or hope their children die?
As if to "balance the scales," public figures like "Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn were made the subject of virtual witchhunts in 2012, with online petitions being created to have him be fired for a dumb post he wrote several years ago. It's easy to do. It's "Internet Justice," baby! Right? If somebody fires comics writer Gail Simone, he should be targeted online and the subject of death threats, correct? That's just Feminism in Action -- it's "payback time," baby! Yeah!
An eye for an eye, and the whole world goes blind.
Finally, in 2012 public figures in Geek took to the Internet to air their grievances. Rob Liefeld had a Twitter meltdown so famous that his RSS feed was locked into position by comic fans and professionals alike, waiting with bated breath for the next outburst. Tony Harris fed the "Fake Geek Girl" debate by letting loose on Facebook with a tirade against females he felt "DONT KNOW SH*T ABOUT COMICS, BEYOND WHATEVER GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH YOU DID TO GET REF ON THE MOST MAINSTREAM CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER". After the death of one beloved comics legend, a blogger thought it was a good idea to compare him to Joe Paterno, saying that working on "Before Watchmen" was on the same level of heinousness as allowing child-rape (the blog was subsequently deleted). And so on. And so on.
Dudes and dudettes, being a Geek on the Internet was damned stressful this year! So stressful that a number of prominent female bloggers within and without Geek culture said their bloggy goodbyes in 2012 -- some specifically citing online terrorism as a reason, and others just "opting out." So stressful that Dan Slott virtually had to go into hiding, comparing himself to Salman Rushdie in one interview.
In the end, as much as Internet Rage hurt so many lives in 2012, two other groups will be the most impacted by this phenomenon in the years to come:
1) The Fans
To the outside world, this sort of behavior only validates stereotypes of the mentally unstable weirdo-loner. Believe me. When I tell people who are not involved in Geek fandom about some of this stuff, they think y'all a bunch of James Holmies. It's not good. Also: your access to the comics and entertainment professionals you admire is going to be curtailed more and more. Because as each Slott-like incident hits the news, they are more and more afraid of YOU. It's a few bad apples doing this stuff, but it's ruining it for everybody. "This is why we can't have nice things," and all that.
2) Anybody Who Uses The Internet
You know who ultimately wins out after all these cases of cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking? Politicians who want to enact stricter controls over the Internet. This is their excuse to remove our ability to be anonymous on the Net, to enjoy a modicum of free speech. Every pinhead who says that restricting the ability of posters to leave threats and sexually demeaning messages to females online is effectively destroying "Free Speech" is...well, is a Pinhead. By tolerating and feeding into Internet Rage, we are setting up the foundations for the demise of the Internet as we know it.
And if you don't like what I have to say, well...Rage It Up! We have a whole 'nother year to fill. And as we all know (some more than others) -- Hate Gets The Hits.