The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'something awful'
The internet, with its detachment between online and offline actions and its lack of a private register, has spawned the phenomenon of griefers, or highly organised subcultures of people (mostly young men) who delight in ruining other people's online fun:
Consider the case of the Avatar class Titan, flown by the Band of Brothers Guild in the massively multiplayer deep-space EVE Online. The vessel was far bigger and far deadlier than any other in the game. Kilometers in length and well over a million metric tons unloaded, it had never once been destroyed in combat. Only a handful of player alliances had ever acquired a Titan, and this one, in particular, had cost the players who bankrolled it in-game resources worth more than $10,000.
So, naturally, Commander Sesfan Qu'lah, chief executive of the GoonFleet Corporation and leader of the greater GoonSwarm Alliance — better known outside EVE as Isaiah Houston, senior and medieval-history major at Penn State University — led a Something Awful invasion force to attack and destroy it.
"The ability to inflict that huge amount of actual, real-life damage on someone is amazingly satisfying" says Houston. "The way that you win in EVE is you basically make life so miserable for someone else that they actually quit the game and don't come back."
To see the philosophy in action, skim the pages of Something Awful or Encyclopedia Dramatica, where it seems every pocket of the Web harbors objects of ridicule. Vampire goths with MySpace pages, white supremacist bloggers, self-diagnosed Asperger's sufferers coming out to share their struggles with the online world — all these and many others have been found guilty of taking themselves seriously and condemned to crude but hilarious derision.Griefers defend their behaviour by claiming that they're merely giving those who take the internet far too seriously a reality check. The implied subtext is that anything that happens online is just a game and doesn't count. Though, given how the internet has become a mainstream part of many people's lives (witness, for example, the rise in social networking websites), this assertion makes about as much sense as Tom Hodgkinson's call to kill your Facebook account, throw away your email address and instead socialise in the pub with people near you. There's not a great leap from asserting that anything that happens online doesn't really count and absurdly ludditic claims like "if you don't know what someone smells like, they're a stranger".
On the other hand, there is no such thing as the right to be respected, or even to not be ridiculed. If one posts a web page detailing one's peculiar political views, conspiracy theories and/or sexual fetishes online, one can expect to be laughed at and even snidely remarked about. Though there is a distinction between demolishing someone's homepage in a blog or discussion forum and actively gathering a posse and going out to hound them off the net.
Griefing happens in the real world, though it's usually called other things, such as bullying. The difference is that the internet has democratised bullying. In the real world, in more conformistic societies, bullies can typically only be those either of or contending for alpha social status, enforcing an exaggerated version of majority values by picking on those perceived to not conform to them (witness the use of the word "gay", sometimes semi-euphemised as "ghey", as a general-purpose term of derision), and in more liberal or pluralistic environments, even that is frowned upon. Online, anyone can find a group of like-minded misfits, make up a cool-sounding name, set up a virtual clubhouse and start picking on mutually agreed targets, with little fear of social consequences.
Shamelessly stolen from Something Awful:
What happens when a Something Awful goon gets sent to several mental institutions? He writes an article about it, describing the unique sorts of characters most normal people rarely get the chance to observe and interact with to this extent, the camaraderie that forms in that environment, and why it's a bad idea to date chicks you meet in mental hospitals: (via MeFi)
The worst person on the ward though was a small little guy named Rafael. Rafael demanded to be called Obie, and would randomly scream out things like "I did not take her panties off!" Rafael also had the bad habit of hiding in the women's shower room, trying to catch a peek at various butter-troll patients.
The story of Ricky and Lisa started well before I arrived in Summit. Lisa was a 22 year old married mother of two, in the ward for yet another suicide attempt. Ricky was your typical fat, greasy fucked up looking mama's boy: 40, living at home, no job, no chance in life. He was discharged 3 days before I was brought in. He apparently fell in love with Lisa. I'm guessing she was the first girl who ever was nice to him, because once he was discharged, he spent literally ALL DAY calling the payphones asking for her. From the time the phones were turned on after breakfast to the time they were turned off for lights out, like clockwork almost every call would be Ricky asking for Lisa.
Ross was easily the worst roommate I ever had. He was loud, hyper and just downright annoying as hell. He decided that I would be his new best friend, even though it was painfully clear I couldn't stand him. Everywhere I went on the wing, Ross would follow me. If I got up and moved, Ross would be about 3 steps behind me. He was like a bloodhound, no matter where I was, he'd find me. Soon my hatred for Ross knew no bounds. Ross was also the biggest wigger I've ever seen in my life. Think of that piece of shit movie Malibu's Most Wanted. He was that guy. He also had the rather unfortunate habit of calling everyone "nigga". The staff, patients, even the servers upstairs in the dining hall. Since many of the staff was black, this was not taken kindly.
P-P-P-Powerbook: a true story. Briefly, guy in Seattle tries selling a new PowerBook on eBay, finds a scammer trying to con him out of it using a dodgy escrow service, and posts to Something Awful. The SA Goons then collaborate to play an expensive prank on the scammer, sending them the P-P-P-Powerbook, a hand-decorated ring binder, valued for Customs at US$2,000. Meanwhile, goons in the UK track the scammer's address to a dodgy-looking barber shop in North London, whose proprietor (one Jean Climax) presumably takes delivery of items for various slippery customers, and observe as the scammer (a Romanian chap, by all accounts) takes delivery of his new P-P-P-Powerbook.
Those bad-ass jock bullies of internet humour, Something Awful, have a new temporary front page which takes the piss out of coolsie/hipster music-news site Pitchfork.
Something Awful gores indie's sacred cows, i.e., Joy Division, The Smiths, Pavement and My Bloody Valentine. (via Graham)
Everyone who considers themself a hipster should take note: name-dropping Pavement isn't going to win you any merit badges in my scout troop. You'd be a fool not to see that even the bands that everyone loves are just as terrible as the bands that everyone makes fun of. The only difference between Nickelback and The Smiths is that Smiths fans dress slightly better and don't beat their girlfriends as hard.
I hypothesize that if Ian Curtis had continued to live and exert his gothic influence over the band, they would have eventually sounded like Siouxie and the Banshees except with a terrible singer. I also hypothesize that Ian Curtis would now be fat.
They're dead-on about Loveless, btw:
Its one of those rare albums that really sounds like the album cover looks: its an indecipherable blur of noise and distorted guitars. It boggles the mind that so many goofy hipsters are so in love with an album with so little to offer. All of the songs sound basically the same, and you really have to pay attention to figure out where one ends and the next begins. The lyrics are so incomprehensible that they might as well not even be there at all. Although there are certainly noises on this album that have never been made before or since, none of them are particularly interesting noises. In most cases, its the sound of several guitars playing a couple of chords with a few layers of grinding and feedback in the background. Sure, it probably took quite a bit of time and money to make those sounds, but are they particularly interesting? No, not really; when its all put together, it just sounds like a waterfall of sludge running through your speakers.
This is part of the Your Band Sucks section, which also includes articles about bands like Radiohead and Coldplay (though, granted, there's no challenge there).