How To Not Accidentally Be An Asshole On The Internet

Hi friends! I have gotten mad a lot lately about people being assholes on the internet and I want to talk about being an asshole on the internet.

I am not talking about people who are deliberately assholes on the internet. If you are deliberately an asshole on the internet, it’s okay. Troll is a feeling. I know. I forgive you. I am talking about Accidentally Being An Asshole On The Internet, especially when it relates to that dreaded P-word. 

So let’s all take a second to look at what’s in our individual privilege cocktails (‘cause sometimes we get good stuff and sometimes we get bad stuff, and sometimes it’s an entirely different thing depending on where we’re drinking, much like cheap white wine, which is horrifying 351 days of the year but occasionally just what you wanted.)  In one context one might have been arbitrarily given the social upper hand (things like “being white” or “being able-bodied” fit here) and in one we might find ourselves royally screwed over by society (things like “being queer” and even just “being born with a vagina” fit here.) Sometimes the same thing will work in our favor in some situations, and against us in others. Some issues we hear about often and some we don’t. Some issues we value more for our personal identity than others. Intersectionality. We all has it.  

HOWEVER. There are times when context is a little more obvious, and when it’s generally understood that one particular party is getting the short end of the stick thanks to the Evil Overlords of Societal Norms And Stereotypes Et Cetera.  This doesn’t mean that those of us with the long end of the stick are always doing great! We might be feeling shitty because secretly we are dealing with an invisible but debilitating illness or because we are gay or because we stubbed our toe. And then sometimes we feel shitty as a result of the other conversation going on, the one about how the Original Speaker kind of feels crappy due to their lack of privilege in the topic at hand.

Here are some examples of these sorts of feelings:

  • "I have a lot of gay friends but I don’t like it when people think I’m gay by default!"
  • "Why are you all talking about trans people, it sucks that I am invisible as a femme/bisexual/whatever!"
  • "But I don’t think we can talk about race because my depression and lower-middle-class upbringing also prevents me from getting good job opportunities so I don’t think I am winning the privilege olympics so this isn’t fair!"

Sometimes we call these feelings things like “small violins” and sometimes we want to tell the speaker to shove it, and sometimes it turns out that we are the people with these unsavory feelings.

It’s okay if you have these feelings.  Feelings are totally valid. I have crappy feelings all the time where I feel resentful because I wanted to do my favorite thing in the universe, which is to Talk About Myself, and somebody had to rain on my parade.  I also frequently have feelings which make me want to walk up to screaming babies on the train and punch them in the face and scream at their parents to make their despicable little worm SHUT UP BECAUSE I AM TRYING TO READ.  

Let’s be honest: this is the only year-end top-anything list I give a rat’s ass about.

Thank you for this, Reed + Rader and Dazed Digital. THANK YOU. Forget editorials, from now on I only want fashion .gifs.
Cat fashion show. More at Gothamist.

…the reviewer’s rhetoric echoes a familiar view of technology as a binary opposition, with human connection on one side and computers on the other….To my mind, the relocation of social life to the internet is less a signal of the domination of machines or the loss of human connection than the perfect argument against anyone who claims the internet is making us stupid…. Internet socialization is far closer to a 19th century mode of intimacy than to a dystopian future of tragically disconnected robot prostitutes. There’s a Jane Austen-ish quality to online social life. The written word gains unmatched power and inarguable primacy.

Personal relationships now, to a much greater degree than, say, 30 years ago, hinge on our ability to write — if not necessarily well in a formal, Strunk & White manner, then at least effectively. This change makes us not disconnected so much as it makes us archaic. Austen’s characters easily expressed extreme emotion in long letters and then in person sat twitchily near one another, paralyzed with manners…. Our physical reactions when together are often cover-ups for what we could so candidly admit in writing.

I actually LITERALLY SQUEALED IRL while reading this, possibly because I live for defenses of antisocial textual introverts (hi world!!) and because I effing love media and above all things loathe Kids Today/The Internet Is Ruining Our Lives articles (not that there aren’t PROBLEMS but really this isn’t THE END OF EVERYTHING) and above all things really dig anything about language and bodies and text and bodies of text and ‘textual intimacy’ and I mean, yeah

Fitzgerald’s Jane Austen comment is interesting to me as well on a number of levels — we all know how I feel about Janie by now (and I’m guessing a lot of y’all are also familiar with the good time provided to us by our dear friend Eve K.S.) — and I think there’s a lot of interesing stuff going on there regarding technology alienation repression society norms blah blah blahdy blah blah, but for the most part just a really big YES THANK YOU.

 [via champagnecandy]

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AND TODAY IN USELESS POSTS, we proudly present you with: Weird Shit People Have Googled and SOMEHOW Landed on This Blog. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE AND WHY ARE YOU SEARCHING THE INTERNET FOR THIS?!!?

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"Misfortune" Cookies catering pretty durn well to my dark (and admittedly really adolescent, don’t think I ever really stopped trying to be Daria) sense of humor.  [via LAEM]

I stole this one from KateNever Marry a Woman With Big Feet, based on the book of the same name, has a seemingly endless collection of proverbs and sayings about women from around the world. Aside from the obvious fact that it’s a great international collection of traditional (mostly negative, but not all) attitudes toward the feminine and all the interesting conclusions we can draw thereof, an awful lot of them are also just straight-up hilarious. Just a sampling:

"By candlelight, even the goat seems to be a lady"

"A learned woman is a lost woman."  

"A short woman is only good for washing clothes."  (Maybe this explains why I can only bring myself to do laundry like once a month?)

"The three ugliest things of their own kind - a thin red haired woman, a thin yellow horse, a thin white cow." (Damn!)

"An ugly wife makes a good hedge around the garden"

"Even the smartest woman ends up in the kitchen" 

Let’s just leave it at that this was the best 35 minutes of reading I had so far today: Moe Tkacik discussing at great length everything from the economy, American Apparel, Gawker Media and Jezebel and that Redbook cover that put Jezebel on my (and probably your) daily radar to begin with, that whole Emily Gould scandal, personal vs private, journalism vs branding/advertising, The Wall Street Journal, personal psychology of being a writer/journalist/blogger in this day and age, New York and microfame, the effect of the internet on journalism, thing which are tangentially related to about 18 conversations I’ve had about these things in the past two weeks, and a lot of crap which probably interacts with why I’m sitting here keeping a fashion blog laughing sarcastically at any lofty/naieve/stupid writerly/arty childhood dreams I had and breaking down over journalism vs photojournalism vs art photography vs fashion photography vs fashion media vs “real media” vs offensively targeted “women’s media” vs my rusting English major vs this sentence isn’t even making sense anymore but basically it was a great read.

Somehow, the rest of George Vlasich's almost painfully tacky Americana-and-sports subject matter makes perfect sense on, uh, such a tacky Americana medium, but I think I'm gonna go so far to say that if there's one thing I never imagined running across in my life and am totally floored by, it's probably INSANELY DETAILED MICHAEL JACKSON AND JAY-Z 50'S-LUNCHBOX-STYLE ART DONE ON AN ETCH-A-SKETCH. Yeah, that just happened. Amazing. [via LAEM]

NYFW on Twitter: Livestreamed vs. Traditional Shows

So by now we all basically get it that fashion folks have been getting its designer knickers in a giant bunch over BLOGS AND TWITTER AND SOCIAL MEDIA AND DIGITAL DEMOCRATIZATION for like the past year or so, and Derek Blasberg and Nick Knight are duking it out over whether fashion week is dying or being reborn, and even finally caught on and started interviewing folks on "The Future of Fashion." (Heidi Slimane's in particular is rad.)  NYFW was littered with blogger conferences, Tavi's hairbows are causing an uproar or whaaaatever, and half the designers out there are freaking out that Polyvore/Chictopia/Weardrobe/Looklet/Lookbook/YOUR BLOG dilutes their brand integrity/exclusivity while the other half are throwing huge marketing budgets dedicated to reaching their audiences.

I tracked a handful of NYFW designers in Trendrr (full disclosure: I work here) and found some interesting lookin’ stuff regarding livestreamed shows versus traditional ones.  Below is a graph of Twitter conversation per-day about a handful of New York designers (admittedly chosen arbitrarily). You’re familiar with all those names in blue and green, I’m sure — and will note that all the designers graphs seem to follow a logical curve in which there’s a spike the day of their show and a gradual tapering afterwards as coverage occurs and the declines.  And you’ll also note the HUGEASS PINK SPIKES.  Those pink spikes belong to Rodarte, Alexander Wang, and Marc Jacobs.  All of whom livestreamed their shows and have gone to great lengths to reach, you know, us.

Now granted, this seems pretty obvious: MJ, Alex, and Rodarte are pretty buzzy to begin with, and are going to be talked about more than Doo.Ri.  And we can’t establish cause/effect from anything here, but it sure seems there’s at least a correlation between Twitter conversation and livestreamed shows.  (Let it also be known that I weaseled my way out of AP Stat in high school and satisfied my college math requirement with, um, social psychology, so take that as my disclaimer.)

Still, it seems that by a huge majority, Twitter conversation (do some visual area-under-the-curve-ing there, folks) was dedicated to designers who livestreamed their fashion shows and embraced their fanbase (rather than stressing exclusivity to the media elite, celebrities, and other fashion insiders) by inviting them to watch, comment, and participate.  I know I definitely tweeted more about Rodarte than Yigal Azrouel (though now that I think about it, more of my paycheck has gone to Yigal than the sisters Mulleavy in the past year, but I’ve definitely given Rodarte more free advertising via this blog. Hmm.)


"'Do you know that cats can’t wear corsets? Do you have a cat? Have you ever tied something round his middle? They can’t stand! Not at all! They just fall over. I know because I tried!’"

— Some sound advice from Jean Paul Gautier, on cats. Just in case you were planning on putting your kitten in a bustier any time soon!

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Catorialist. I CAN’T HELP MYSELF, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME NOT TO POST THIS.  Even though if we’re friends I IM’d this to you weeks ago and/or squealed about it on Facebook weeks ago too… I only wish it was updated more often. But what is the internet good for other than pictures of cats?!?
Also, I want one of these of people’s dogs in ridiculous clothes too.