Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Jon Ronson on online shaming and being a victim of online shaming (for daring to talk about online shaming)

From The Guardian:
An opinion was beginning to form, and feed off itself, that I had written an attack on social justice, a defence of white privilege. In coming out against online shaming I was silencing marginalised voices – because online shaming is the only recourse of the marginalised, whereas the world automatically allows people like Justine [Sacco] to succeed. But I just couldn’t see how Justine’s shaming made anything better, given that her joke was intended to mock racism. What happened to Justine struck me as just another terrible thing happening in the world.
I'm not against calling out. Calling a spade a spade is one of the perks of being part of a giant online platform that doesn't discriminate. Dogpiling and doxxing, however, should be treated as something far more dangerous and sinister, and not just an unfortunate side effect. What bothered me most about the Justine Sacco thing -- and for the record, because people tend to misunderstand criticizing the action taken with defending the act, I think what she tweeted was wrong and careless -- was the glee in which the online mob (headed by Gawker's Sam Biddle) had in "taking down the man." Um, Gawker is the man in this situation. But operating under moral imperative to right a wrong, it didn't matter.