Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Internet is Effing INSANE part 2

Sometimes, as a blogger, we have no way of knowing what post is going to explode on us.  To my surprise, my most popular post to date in terms of views is a post where my friend Dan and I speculate on Yosemite Sam's junk.  Now, I know that 588 views do not quite equate to an internet explosion, but it just goes to show, you never know what's going to be wildly popular, or unpopular.

Two days ago, feminist blogger, lawyer and activist Jill Filipovic wrote a one-off post at Feministe about a note that was left in her bag by a TSA agent after they found an item of a... *koff* personal nature in her luggage.  Jill's initial reaction to it was lighthearted, while still acknowledging that hey, this is not cool.
Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not ok, but I also just died laughing in my hotel room.
Then kaboom.  I guess a few other sites including Jezebel got a hold of the story and the whole thing has kind of gone kablooey.  Kind of?  Actually, to be more accurate, it seems that the whole damned internet has gone apeshit over this story. You'd almost think that Jill had dared to insult the Bloggess or something.

Can I just say, first, that it is totally possible to find something incredibly inappropriate and incredibly hilarious at the same time.  I would have giggled too.  But I laugh at dead baby jokes and make smart ass remarks about heroin addiction.  Doesn't mean either of these things aren't horrifying.  Sometimes you gotta laugh, to keep from crying.

So far this story has hit Fox News, Gawker, Forbes and a number of other media outlets.  The original post itself has 20 trackbacks at this time.  A lot of the articles focus on the issue of privacy which has been an ongoing concern with the TSA and for some, this is just another example.  There's a weird faction of articles that want to focus on the 'hot-chick-practices-self-love' angle, which is kind of creepy as fuck if you ask me.

Us ladies, we like to get off sometimes.  T'ain't no big thing.  Why you gotta make it a big thing?

The most eye-crossingly bizarre commenters and articles are the ones that are claiming that Jill must have done this all for attention and hits to her blog.  One commenter on the original thread ripped into Jill (comment 79: trigger warning) and made some not-so-veiled threats, which I loved the hell out of Jill's response (comment 80):
But thanks for the weird rape threat? You seem totally cool and normal.
While I understand and practice the whole caveat emptor where stories on the interwebs are concerned, it really shocks me the vitriol that is being spit at Jill over this whole thing.  She has been accused of purposely planting said item in her luggage with the knowledge that it would be searched; of writing the note herself to make the TSA look bad and I ask.. why are people so convinced it's not true?  It's not like the TSA hasn't come under fire for way worse things.

And if it isn't true and she made it up?  Who the fuck cares?  On one hand, some of us may have gotten a much needed giggle for the day.  On the other hand, it has reopened discussion about civil liberties and privacy and how much of our freedom we should be willing to give up in the name of security.  It has opened up discussion in regards to what kind of respect should be shown by people who are given clearance to rifle through our most personal belongings.

Oh, and the people I really love - and by "Love" I mean "would like to hit with a brick" - are the people who are all 'Well if she was so embarrassed, why did she post about it?'  You can point out that something is a huge invasion of privacy without being embarrassed.  The fact that it was posted tells me she couldn't have been too embarrassed.  If anything would be embarassing it's probably the way this whole affair has blown out of proportion.

I personally hope that this doesn't end up affecting Jill on a personal and professional level, as someone who blogs under her real name and has covered a number of serious topics.  It'd be a shame that a severe over-reaction to what seemed to be a quick post made in jest ended up undermining a promising career or turning her away from blogging.


  1. Totally agree. The point of the story is that they not only invade her (and our, everyone's) privacy with society's implicit consent because, supposedly "we want to feel safe", but then they show what this fake veil of safety really is, a group of gross, jaded employees staring, pointing and laughing at a woman helplessly laid bare (metaphorically of course). None of us want to be judged and shouldn't be subjected to the small-minded jibes of petty assholes granted a modicum of authority.
    We all should be scared because of this. It shows people who are bestowed any kind of authority inevitably abuse it for cheap giggles.
    I'm with you, hopefully Jill can use this to elevate herself and her writing.

  2. Us ladies, we like to get off sometimes. T'ain't no big thing. Why you gotta make it a big thing?

    There's so much comedy in there.

    *that's what she said*

  3. I'm so glad you posted about this! I couldn't believe what I was reading in the comments section of some of the articles covering the story. (HOLY RUN-ON SENTENCE) Honestly, I would have laughed too and been pissed off simultaneously. It's funny because it IS embarassing. It's disturbing because it makes you wonder how long they fondled her items, etc.

    Freakin' people.

  4. Weird Chris, your comment got flagged as spam for some reason.. I don't even HAVE spam filters on, to the best of my recollection.

  5. Holy shit, this is just astounding. I am reading through the comments, and can't believe how calm and clear she is despite all the trolling and name-calling BS!

    I hope this doesn't cause a divide with her and her closest friends who passed the story on... I guess no one would have anticipated the amount of coverage it was going to get.

    And #79 was very triggering. I wish she'd just delete it. Very violent and angry.

  6. Apparently the guy makes a living out of being an asshole, at least that's my understanding. Definitely doesn't make it excusable.. actually the fact that he is known for being an assbag just makes me sad for the world.


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