You bastards!!

I woke up after July 4th to find this fresh pile right before us. During the weekend before hand, Donald Trump posted to his Twitter account a GIF of him brawling with WWE chairman Vince McMahon with the CNN logo superimposed on McMahon’s head. Trump posted it not long after the investigations into his alleged collusion with Russia found no substantial evidence for such collusion, after non-stop accusations by the press that he was the agent of Russia. By this point, it has also been revealed that some on CNN’s own team know that the Russia story is not supported by any solid evidence – in other words, it’s bullshit and they know it. So the GIF can be taken as Donald Trump essentially gloating over the fact that his side of the story is winning over the mainstream media.

And how did the media take it? They thought that Trump was signalling a violent, authoritarian crackdown on his critics. Over a fucking meme!

That’s right, anti-CNN memes are considered to be a form of incitement to violence. Before this, there was a whole other shitshow from the right about how Kathy Griffin and the Trumpesque Caesar of Shakespeare at the Park and how these were supposedly violence against the President, and now I find the media and their liberal supporters proclaiming that their lives are in danger because Trump shared a meme on his Twitter. There are few richer hypocrisies than this!

And CNN were so offended and scared by the meme it was their top story, their reporters and their friends screeching all day about how Trump reemed them in the ass with simply a moving image that mocked them. But, that’s where the fun ends. Since they wouldn’t take being mocked by a meme for all to see, or perhaps because they believe memes are incitement to violence, CNN decided that it would be appropriate to try and track down the person who made the meme to begin with. At first it had emerged that the maker of a meme was a Reddit user named HanAssholeSolo, who may or may not have been either a teenager or a 40-year old man depending on who you ask. They dug up some information about the Reddit user, contacted him and were apparently able to get an apology out of him. He promised not to do another anti-CNN meme again, and CNN said that they would reveal all the information they dug up if that changed. In essence, they cyber-stalked a guy they thought was responsible for nothing more than creating a meme that offended them that was shared by the President, and threatened to dox him if he made more memes. That is fucking reprehensible! You’re putting someone’s privacy on the line because of what is just a meme.

The journalistic class can cower all they like behind the excuse that he made other memes that they reckon think are Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic or whatever, but none of it changes the fact that there was no reason for CNN to go after this guy. He committed no crime, he hurt no one, all he apparently did was offend some powerful people. So-called journalists and media pundits actually think they have a right to expose someone and take away their anonymity in order to expose their “hate”. What the fuck kind of thinking is that!? In a different time, these people might have been aristocrats looking for seditious critics of the monarchy, Catholic elites searching for suspected heretics, or imperial Romans going after Christians. “We have the right to expose people for their subversive thoughts and expressions” is their mantra, and to that end they will stop at nothing, even if it means targeting innocent people, to satisfy their lust for control. And they’re proud of what they do.

Oh and they haven’t just been acting unethically either. They are likely criminals as well. According to Julian Assange of Wikileaks, CNN has violated Section 135.60 of New York’s criminal code, which prohibits coercion in the second degree, specifically the part which prohibits exposure of a secret or publicizing an asserted fact which would subject a person to ridicule or contempt. Senator Ted Cruz also thinks that CNN may have violated the criminal code of the state of Georgia, specifically § 16-8-16 which deals with theft by extortion, in which the public dissemination of any information relating to any person in order to ruin his reputation is prohibited. What’s more, section 241 of the United States Code prohibits conspiracy against a person exercising their legal rights as provided by the laws and Constitution of the United States. I think it’s possible that CNN broke the law and that a legal case that could be brought against CNN, and I hope there is a case brought against them because it couldn’t happen to a more deserving organization. They can pretend to be defending their freedom of the press all they like, but what press freedom entitles people to threaten to dox an innocent person exercising freedom of expression online over a meme?

And to add insult onto injury, it’s possible that CNN got the wrong guy. Buzzfeed claims that the meme wasn’t actually created by HanAssholeSolo, or was a version of HanAssholeSolo’s meme that was edited by someone else. I don’t trust Buzzfeed as a source, but if this is true then it’s entirely people that CNN went through all that trouble only to get the wrong guy. I can’t help but wonder who they’ll go after next. CNN now claims that they still don’t know who the memester was, but they also claim that it’s not the most important issue in the world. Really? If that’s true, why the fuck would they go through all the effort of digging up the personal information of someone who committed no crime or wrongdoing if it was all just nothing!? Better yet, why were you so outraged about the meme in the first place!?

And in the wake of this something’s been nagging me. A professor named Josh Chafetz tweeted that, in his view, freedom of speech only protects you from government censorship and not public censure from private entities. Aside from the fact that, as I’ve mentioned, there are probably laws against that, there’s a bitter hypocrisy associated with this because of how I see this argument from some on the left. I always thought the left as a political umbrella was generally opposed to the power of big business, right? They don’t like big corporations having too much power and doing whatever they want, right? So then why do left-liberals now seem to think it’s OK for CNN, a major media corporation run by a multi-millionaire, to threaten a private citizen’s right to freedom of expression? Because the government isn’t doing it? But then they go on about how right-wing billionaires such as Peter Thiel are supposedly silencing the freedom of the press for whatever reason. And I’ll tell you something else: I bet the makers of Nobody Speak, a pile of utter apologia that asserts that Gawker was innocent of wrongdoing despite outing several private individuals without their permission, probably don’t have anything to say about Jeff Zucker’s organization censoring a private law-abiding individual. Of course they don’t, because it’s not Donald Trump or Peter Thiel doing it. You’ve got someone who’s basically being censored over memes by a multi-million dollar corporation, and the left is telling us that’s perfectly fine even though they’re supposed to be against big business! Almost like they don’t actually care about that on principle, after all it’s OK when they’re being fascists isn’t it!? If you think you’re fighting the rich and billionaires because you think they’re coming after the freedom of the press and freedom of speech, but you’re OK with this shit from CNN, your cause is frankly fucking worthless to me!

Finally I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a man at the centre of the HanAssholeSolo debacle: one Andrew Kaczynski. After all, he’s the guy who dug up his information in the first place and he was the author of the article wherein CNN gave their veiled threat to begin with. And for this service, he is congratulated by his media colleagues who, like the fascists they truly are, laud the fact that he gave CNN leverage to dox a man over a meme by proclaiming that those who oppose them will “change their tune once identified”. This is not the first thing Kaczynski has done. He has ruined the life of another private citizen, one Justine Sacco, over what was supposed to be a joke tweet about her being a white person in Africa by publicly outing her for an angry Twitter mob to target, which led to her losing her job. But even worse was when, in 2013, he gave out the identities of two people – Mike Mulugeta and Sunil Tripathi – who he falsely believed were the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombings, and he reported that falsehood as fact. One of them, Sunil Tripathi, committed suicide after the false accusation resulted in him and his family being constantly harassed and threatened. All he’s known for otherwise is digging up dirt about politicians. So CNN basically hired a professional muckraker who is also known for ruining people’s lives for a paycheck. He is a scumbag, and I hope one day he gets what’s coming to him.

CNN is the most immoral company in media, and they’re what’s wrong with journalism today! They spin either lies or half-truths constantly, their journalists have no fucking clue what’s going on and make shit up but they expect you to take them as fact, but they consider themselves an untouchable class of people who cannot be criticized or else you’re against the free press. And for that reason, CNN and others like them think they can just do whatever they want, even if it’s flagrantly unethical. Can’t imagine why so few Americans trust the media. Can’t imagine why Trump is their President to begin with. Anyone who defends them, in my view, is not worthy of my time or trust. I don’t think I’ve been so outraged as I am about this whole thing.

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On the current generation of anime fandom

I have an aesthetic appreciation for anime, and I always have since my early teens, but I really don’t like the way other fans of anime act on the internet. If you’re on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, you like anime, and are following anime-related accounts, chances are you’ll come across a lot of memes clearly made by 14-year old kids about how anime is superior to cartoons because cartoons are supposedly made just for kids, and some memes about how if you don’t like anime then you’re probably just some idiot. Only in the age of social media, folks.

Helloooo peer pressure. Seriously, popular hatred of a legitimately bad musician should not applied this way.

A lot of these memes are based on really shallow arguments that the people behind them clearly have no interest in proving.  like how cartoons look like they’re made by children on Flash or CG (which would mean they’ve never watched any of the old episodes of The Simpsons), that they’re only made for children or family audiences (which would mean they’ve never watched anything made by Ralph Bakshi), that they are all censored and naive and if they aren’t made for kids then they are essentially mindlessly crude humor like Family Guy (again, if they watched Ralph Bakshi’s work, along the very first season of The Simpsons, they wouldn’t think so), and that they are all inferior to anime based solely on those generalized claims. They make very generalizing statements about cartoons, and about anime. They seem to judge anime as a medium positively but they only seem particularly invested in the popular contemporary anime shows and mangas , and it feels like not a lot of attention is particularly paid to anything outside of that, especially older animes. Going back to cartoons, it’s worth remembering that all the Western animation most of us are usually exposed to is Disney films, children’s cartoons, The Simpsons, South Park, Futurama, and Family Guy, so I can see where the asumption comes from, but it’s terrible how they generalize all forms of Western animation based on what they’ve been brought up with without looking outside of that.

This example is particularly ironic, because it utilizes what is by their standards a cartoon. A Disney film no less.

I ask all those who are are deeply interested in anime as a medium and are invested in critically examining the shows you love: do you really believe that there is not a single anime show, or movie, that isn’t great, let alone outrageously so? And before you answer that, how many anime shows have you seen in your lifetime so far? I admit that I personally have not seen every anime there is, and in fact I haven’t personally watched a lot of anime every anime fan on social media seems to love, so in some ways I haven’t felt the emotional investment many people may have, but the fact I that I maintain an interest in the artistic medium itself is enough for me. To tell the truth, I don’t think all the anime shows that I have seen are all really good. In fact, I’ve seen a few that are actually very flawed (perhaps not totally bad, but flawed), or only OK, and I still really like anime as an aesthetic style that I work with, without ever feeling compelled to make the same blanket judgments about anime and cartoons that social media anime fans would make.

I also have a major problem with the phenomenon of otaku, becasue it feels like its proponents proudly boast anime as their primary obsession above all else: academia, social life, other forms of artistic media, family, even the possibility of a romantic relationship. Somehow that fits in a strange sort of way. In the West, the word otaku has been taken to mean someone who was either an anime geek, someone obsessed with anime and Japanese culture, or a guru on these subjects, and is generally as a positive term, at least among people who consider themselves otakus. But in Japan, the word otaku tends to be a negative term used to describe obsessive people, and not just people obsessed with anime either, particularly people who are extremely obsessed and isolated. They might use it the same way we might describe the person who’s 30 years old but never goes outside, never interacts with people beyond the internet, possibly without taking baths or showers. It’s also been associated with men who cuddle body pillows depicting fictional characters (referred to as dakimakura). Some of the memes they put up, or at least the ones put up about them, seem to imply both the Western and Japanese definitions at once.

Whoever shares this on social media, they’re not implying anything positive about their mental activity.

What’s the problem? The problem is that it’s fundamentally unbalanced. There’s nothing wrong with having a substantial interest in Japanese culture. In fact, as I said earlier, I maintain an interest in anime and Japanese culture, but the attitude I see from anime fans and self-described otakus on social media is not only noxious and immature, it’s also pretty harmful to the world of anime fandom as a whole. The current social media generation of fans seem to pride themselves on their obsession with anime and bark its superiority over other forms of artistic media, all without any kind of immaturity, and I’m sure a lot of people sharing the memes aren’t such extreme fans in truth anyway, just boasting behind anonymity within social media. It feels like they just continually make stereotypes of themselves and their subculture in their attempt the set themselves apart as a unique and misunderstood subcultural movement. Or, you could just say, that’s when you get when you have a bunch of people in their early teens making memes for everybody. Either way, it feels like people in the age of social media do a lot to turn fandom into fandumb.