At the time of this writing, nobody has been charged or convicted for the iCloud hacking attempt that allowed the leak of private, and in many cases, intimate/nude photographs and video of several well known celebrities to the internet – an event that had been unofficially dubbed ‘the Fappening’ by quick witted Redditors. Some believe a denizen from the ‘Deep Web’ was responsible; after realizing the inherent difficulty of getting paid for his or her ill-gotten bytes while maintaining anonymity in the face of a large number of investigators, agents and publicists, decided instead to follow a nobler hacker creed and released the data for free. According to most mainstream news network in the United States, the culprit was a hacker known as ‘4chan’. We may never know for sure.
But that didn’t stop a number of the legitimately pissed off and horrified victims of this breach of privacy to find moral high-ground not so legitimately in the ongoing battles against patriarchy and decency.
I’m going to be a tad unfair here and single out one of these celebrities in general, as she became the front-runner tagline in both the initial incident and the ridiculous media feeding frenzy that is occurring to this day because of it. Jennifer Lawrence, who admittedly is both talented (in my opinion anyway) and quite attractive (yet never nude in an official photo…at least not without strategic cover) has become the figurehead in this new war against the Internet Perverts. And in her ‘tell all’ public interview in this month’s Vanity Fair, she had some choice words for us roving bands of digital brigands and torrential rapists.
“Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this,” she says. “It does not mean that it comes with the territory. It’s my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting. I can’t believe that we even live in that kind of world. ”
“It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime,” she tells. “It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change. That’s why these Web sites are responsible. Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody’s mind is to make a profit from it. It’s so beyond me. I just can’t imagine being that detached from humanity. I can’t imagine being that thoughtless and careless and so empty inside.”
“Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offense. You should cower with shame."
Said, mind you, beneath a professional photo shoot depicting her naked torso – buoyant cleavage covered by surface tension and an elegant hand while gasping red lips and diamond-peppered slender neck lead to her other arm on which a virgin-white bird of paradise perches.
“I can’t believe we live in that kind of world” indeed. My opinion of her has lessened, but I can certainly confirm her acting talent: I know I wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face as I laid myself out as such a blatant commodity. I wonder how much Vanity Fair paid her.
That’s not why I’m posting this, and that isn’t how this is going to work. Before I question the tact of a risque photo shoot along side a declaration of damnation towards celebrity-chasers, let’s get the truth out of the way:
First of all, nobody is saying you have forfeited your right to privacy or security just because you are a celebrity. I don’t care if you are an award winning porn actress who just scored her third annual ‘Best Double-Anal-Double-Vaginal Scene’ with a special honorable mention for the bukkake category: Your personal and private images are yours alone. Any kind of data theft – especially the embarrassing and gut-wrenching dissemination of intimate images or video – is a terrible and deplorable crime.
But this is a known crime, with laws in place to prosecute the perpetrators.
I’m also not saying any one of these famous folk deserved their fates, even though I would have the foresight not to upload my arse onto a storage device I did not explicitly control or have access to. I would no more blame them than I would be the first to say to a rape victim “Well, look at what were you were wearing! You were asking for it!” Rape is not a battle of acceptable titulation levels, it is a crime.
But the tech-savvy citizens of the internet are not responsible for the crime you convict them with such statements.
Countless celebrities have fallen victim to a paparazzi’s zoom lense at the beach, or a vengeful ex, or a wardrobe malfunction. The tabloids and media sharing websites are quick to snap it all up, of course, and for the most part the thought of legal action is never even mentioned. Unless a ‘razzi‘ just got punched, it seems to fly mostly under the radar unless the starlet is employed by a particularly family-friendly company like Disney. Again – this does not make the act of privacy invasion any less terrible…but when the Internet Sweetheart, J-Law got hit by this train the outrage came from all sides even as folk torrented, shared, posted and begged for more.
Suddenly it became ‘uncool‘ to want to look at these photos. Rampant claims of normally indifferent one-hand keyboardists came flooding in on every post and comments section proudly saying that they would refrain from viewing these holy relics of nudity out of respect for the artists involved. Naturally, the media outlets lapped up the righteous tears shed by the poor models and actresses and between lavish, oily belches, decried the beastly elements that had caused this to occur in the first place. I was impressed…initially…with the collective White-Knight effect that was sweeping the internets: I can think of only one or two other celebrities that could have garnered such a ‘YOU LEAVE HER ALONE!‘ outcry. Britney Spears is not one of them.
But it quickly crossed the line of too much and people started calling bullshit on the tide of self righteous yes-men and women. The ones in charge of the ‘legitimate business’ who call these celebrities ‘Brave‘ and ‘An Inspiration against Online Bullying‘ while forgetting just last month’s issue was a 8 page in depth expose about their cellulite thighs or nipple-slips – I wonder was every baby-bump shockumentary done with the to-be mother’s consent? Anyway, que the angry throng of Social Justice Warriors who are still smarting hard from their impossible attempt to ‘raid 4chan’ and want a quick, validating win.
What better pony to bet on than the Online Darling? The Super Nice and Quirky and Weird girl? And hell, she’s won *awards*, and not just those crappy Emmys, but ACADEMY Awards. That meant this entire ‘Fappening‘ was fair game for all-out assault!
Suddenly, if you didn’t verbally eviscerate anyone who saw a candid picture of Olivia Munn’s arse, you were chugging Kool-Aid for Satan. A vote for Kate Upton’s blurry nipples was a vote for Institutionalized Puppy-Sodomy.
It got old REALLY quick, but honestly if you’ve been online as long as I have you kind of learn to ignore the trolls that want to wear halos just as quickly as the ones that are busy setting traps under bridges. Most of the “SJW” camp falls into these ‘rage against the injustice for upvotes and shares and subscribers!’ camp – even non-monetized fake internet points are too precious for them to stop hoarding, so they’ll say anything and with as much vitriol as a righteous man staring down the long 10 yards of the firing squad and spitting at the barrels aimed for his heart when the cartoonish villain commandant asks if he has any final words.
But then I get informed I am on par with a child molester, or a rapist or a stalker because I just happen to have eyes and an internet connection that was a little too fast for the takedowns to happen by the very people I’d be happy to get behind and raise banners for.
Suddenly, it wasn’t an issue of security or privacy or a data crime – no – it was a deliberate sexual assault perpetrated by a vast, defenseless cloud of eyes, all breathing heavily and engorging themselves upon the ill gotten fruits of their like-minded siblings.
My middle-class csi-male white ass was metaphorically shoved in with Bubba and Screwball, the two felons voted most likely to die with a scavenging rodent on their turgid meaty rape-sticks, and if I wanted early parole I’d better get off my privileged ass and make every other person who had seen porn on the internet feel like a cog in a sickly molestation machine.
Just because you are relatively new to the unchecked horrors of the internet and feel that my generation was pulling a Scrooge McDuck style money-bin dive into pornography instead of fighting for gender equality and sexual rights doesn’t mean it is true. More so, when you force me to be your enemy in the fight for justice and equality, I can no longer be your willing ally if you won’t at least let me leave you in peace. That’s why I get pissed right off about the Tumblr-style privilege bash fest that oozes to the surface in every eyes-on-us public debate. People love the idea of being the last-voice-standing…the underdog…fighting the giants that everyone else thought were invincible and – even if not triumphing – getting that dramatic cheek-slash on their face that knocks them down a peg or two.
Well, J-Law, Justice Warriors and White Knights, I’m afraid it’s not going to fly like that.
You’re talking about changing not only a solid third of the Internet, but Society’s acceptance of Sex Selling in general. This isn’t Luke Skywalker with a pair of Proton Torpedos at an exhaust port winnable…this is You, the Ewoks, Chewie and the whole gang pulling it together to attack the shield substation so the fight can *begin* in space. Yes, it’s terribly inconvenient that the same celebrity worship in legal, legitimate social circles that gave you your ‘star power’ is also what gives hackers a lucrative target to aim for, but you have to remember that unless someone has been *really* silly, no money ever changed hands in the iCloud hack. This was done because it *could* be done.
But that’s another old hacker thing that is barely remembered these days.
And regardless if someone was paid two dollars or a million Dogecoins, there will always be someone who does it for the love you instilled in them to do so. The passion of the hunt, or the thrill of their badly chosen 1990’s hacker alias becoming synonymous with some of the finest internet boobies on record…something that even the Tumblr fanatics I’m sure will agree would eclipse even their most violent signal boost frenzy.
I suppose, in the end, you’re going to have to readjust to life on the Internet. Not the fancy, shiny version that Apple and your Agent showed you, but the one that exists in real life, full of trolls, social engineering masters, the occasional real hacker and a LOT of people who mean you no harm, but sure as hell don’t appreciate being linked to an imagined sexual crime. You’re going to have to deal with the idea that some of us old, internet perverts are as harmless as the grey-haired ol’ man who just picked up an issue of Playboy at the drugstore and didn’t make a huge deal of it because there were some kids around and he didn’t want to draw attention to something that should be enjoyed by adults only. You may even have to rely on some of us who legitimately could help you find the perpetrators to the real crimes that have occurred against you.
Consent is key here: I’m sure everyone will agree. But it doesn’t just flow one way towards the pretty girls with the million dollar Hollywood deals and the personal-trainer bodies.
You’re going to have to realize that there are people who grew up thinking that the epitome of beauty was the Starlette of the Month, and that downloading all of her/his material was a silly but real way to pay tribute to that person. Just because one individual did so without your consent does not mean everyone would. Maybe, just maybe, if you *asked* your fans and your public to denounce this breach in privacy, people would listen.
More importantly, you labeling your public with false charges that could destroy a person’s livelihood, family and career is Not. Fucking. Acceptable. I don’t care how tongue-in-cheek you are being, or how angry you are at the whole world wanting to see your tits…you need to calm them the fuck down and remember that you are entering a world where accusations mean real life consequences, just as serious and as heartbreaking as the ones you yourselves are experiencing. If you demand justice against the person/persons who have wronged you, that is fine. Engaging the entirety of the internet will do nothing but remove allies from your fight.
Until calmer, saner heads prevail, here’s a celebrity/summarily convicted sex offender signing off. I’m going back to hang out with my l33t friend 4chan and Haxxor the Gibson. And, yeah, I’ll watch Hunger Games 3 and 4….but I sure the hell ain’t in it to see your nude ass on the big screen, so get the fuck over yourself.
May the odds be ever in your favour. [send all your high-paid lawyers’ cease and desist letters here, please]. Seems like they already are.
=- Studio Shinnyo 2014. Khattam-Shud, EOF.Posted under Manifestoes