Occident Prone

Welcome to Australia’s wild West

A blog called malice

Posted by occidentprone on June 22, 2008

Soon after the internet started it seemed everyone was an expert. Now, with Web 2.0 everyone is a critic.

YouTube, imdb, Amazon, social websites ask us to rank and comment, to demonstrate our good taste and our level of cool. Click a star rating and be a star. Even eBay asks us to rate each deal and sort the fair traders from the rogues.

And if you’re a blogger and you want more hits than The Sopranos, load up and start shooting. For Perez Hilton and Popbitch, cattiness is bread and butter. Even low-end bloggers see tastefully bared claws as the way to better rankings.

A friend, through a series of coincidences, found that he had a YouTube video dedicated to himself. He was featured on a blog which ridiculed the tasteless and other affronts to style. My friend’s choice of accessory had made him a marked man and a nest of gripers let the world know it through their funny but poisonous comments. They had never met my friend but video footage from the street meant they had seen enough to judge him and make assumptions about the rest of his life. (These critics were sitting at their computers bitching about strangers while my friend was out, you know, having a life.)

Aesthetes and intellectuals have found a stage for their egos and gossips spread rumours with tsunami devastation, all fancying themselves to be Oscar Wilde or Dorothy Parker.

Take the world famous example of Max Gogarty, who briefly blogged for The Guardian website. Read more about the Max fiasco at Social Media Influence.

The world outside the www (and yes people there is one) is of course an influence. The hyper-shallowness of glossy mags, lifestyle shows and photoshopped popstars mean we have aesthetic expectations (no matter how unrealistic), and goddamn it we won’t settle for anything less. In fact should anyone dare to hit the footpath in scuffed Hush Puppies and Target sunnies, video the outrage and post it, pronto. He deserves to be vilified.

What are we aiming for here? A culling of people at the extremes – don’t like fat people and too skinny is unhealthy, don’t like the overly sensitive or the outright boofish, don’t like Shannon Noll and Simon Tedeschi is a tosser – and then what do we have? A landscape of more of the same boring wannabes.

I have no right to hurl rocks, my own glass house is pretty untidy too – and I still think politicians are fair game. But for now I’m looking to Web 3.0, giving the karma thing a go and dreaming of the world (wide web) as it might be.



8 Responses to “A blog called malice”

  1. Rolly said

    Ahh! But life is what you make it….Or, perhaps what others make it for you.
    Not so long ago a young woman, dressed to the nines in the very latest of sartorial frippery, face plastered with a weeks wages worth of cosmetics and preoccupied with with her ‘Blackberry’ digital device, made her way through the lunch-time throng barging into less frenzied pedestrians and pushing aside several older shoppers in the process.
    One of them gently chided her suggesting that she might slow down a bit and show a little respect for the folk around her,
    “Get a life, why don’chya!” was the curt and scathing reply tossed over her shoulder as she continued on her way, pushing, shoving and scattering all before her in the frantic pursuit of her “life”.

  2. occidentprone said

    Too true Rolly, just like tourists in exotic lands viewing their dream holiday through a video camera viewfinder.

  3. Kace said

    Oh, I definitely agree with the precious time people waste on taking photos and videos…..
    I also have a friend who was the victim of some hurtful pictures on the www. it’s funny until it’s you or someone you care about. How easy it is now to laugh at people or make fun of people or bitch about people as though it doesn’t matter, because they will never hear you.

  4. occidentprone said

    Kace, it’s especially true if you are an anonymous blogger – there is a responsibility that comes with that mask.

  5. Retarius said

    Rolly, I read a similar anecdote from Ruth Ostrow or (someone like that) in which a “gorgeous” blonde in a very expensive sports car screamed filthy abuse at the narrator and a terrified old woman she was trying to help across the road. The car had screamed to a halt a few centimetres from them and the driver, far from abashed, wanted them off her road. I also read a letter in The West a few years ago about some lout coming off a train at Perth station and knocking a middle-aged woman for six. A young couple from Victoria helped her aboard the train. None of the bastards aboard would help by yielding a seat. It makes you feel like taking a shotgun out with you to enlighten a few of them – but! – is it really all that different to when the nobility had their goons kicking people out of the way of their sedan chairs and coaches? Perhaps the only real change is that some of us now think it’s not the natural order of things.

  6. Rolly said

    Indeed Retarius,

    ’twas ever thus.

  7. Kace said

    I have been thinking about this, and agree with you Occident, that politicians are fair game… as are celebrities, sports stars and anyone who publicly posts photos or videos of themselves on the web. BUT… if someone were to take a picture of me, say, on the bus, or walking down the street, and then post it and make fun of it (maybe my hair, or bad fashion sense!), then I would be fuming. Same goes for my house, car, business etc. If you put yourself out there, you can expect to be ridiculed, but what about those of us who think we have the right to live privately and only be made fun of to our faces??

  8. occidentprone said

    Welcome to a world where Simon Cowell is an idol and cattiness is the new black!

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