The First Amendment is great, huh? It gives people the right to (mostly) say whatever they like, because the lawyers and landholders who wrote the Constitution recognized that democracy requires people to debate and share opinions without worrying about reprisals or censorship from the government. The cost of this is that you have to allow people to hold racist protests and draw pictures of animals with human sex parts and so on, but allowing people to hold and share beliefs that most people find abhorrent or stupid is how we know we are free. Ayn Rand once said, by way of defending pornography, “Every infringement of human rights has begun with a suppression of a given right’s least attractive practitioners.” We should be free to write and say whatever we want, even if we’re pornographers, racists, or fans of Ayn Rand’s books.
We don’t have those same rights on Facebook, however.
Facebook isn’t just a cool place for you to hang out and chat with your buddies and share hot new content you found surfing the World Wide Web. It’s a platform owned by a massive corporation that makes money off of advertising and can do pretty much whatever it likes with the stuff you post on it. Which isn’t to say Facebook is evil, exactly, but it’s not your friend, and it’s not under any legal obligation to protect speech or use its site to say whatever you like. Zuckerberg and company get to decide what is and is not permissible on their property, and since they own the internet’s second-most-popular site, that gives them a lot of power.
In practice, Facebook uses this power to make itself as advertiser-friendly as possible. This means they suspend users for posting NSFW content and remove photos of “offensive” body parts like dicks and female nipples. They’ve also taken down aggressively racist content and videos of extreme violence. The arguments for banning these kinds of content are simple—Facebook is used by children and millions of users who are offended by that nasty stuff, and the website is supposed to be a place that “helps you connect and share with the people in your life,” not a free-for-all where hate groups can organize and broadcast their poison.
Juggalos Are OK, Cupid; or, Don’t Be a Tumblr Asshole to People Trying to Find Love
Something like 70 percent of the internet is people going, “Hey did you see this cute/funny/sad/tragic/OMG/WTF/fail thing?” and passing around the meme du jour—a wacky crime story from Florida, an amazing photo of natural phenomenon that just has to be seen to be believed, a fake video of an eagle snatching a kid in a park, a cat that looks like something other than a cat. Yesterday, the hot, clickable content being viewed, blogged, reblogged, shared, and no doubt monetized was a Tumblr called OkCupid Juggalos.
Juggalos, of course, are diehard fans of the crypto-Christian rap duo Insane Clown Posse, and OkCupid is a really popular free online dating site. Combine the two things, and you get awkward, posturing selfies of men and women with painted faces and poorly done tattoos, coupled with their ungrammatical statements about being “chill,” loving Faygo, and being “crazy.” Hilarious.
The site is part of a subgenre of Tumblrs devoted to pointing out people, usually men, who have bizarre OkCupid profiles that sometimes make them sound like psychopaths or rapists. (It’s such a popular trope that OkCupid Juggalos isn’t even the only Tumblr devoted to Juggalos on OkCupid.) OkCupid Goldminedocuments a grab bag of creeps and weirdos; Okc_ebooks gets gullible users to respond to messages that are actually gibberish tweets from bot/poet @Horse_ebooks; the creator of OkCupid Enemies sought out people who weren’t good matches for him or her to find freakish profiles (that one’s apparently now defunct); Fedoras of OKC targets the usually nerdy, Reddit-using, neck-bearded gamer types who think they look good in fedoras; and Nice Guys of OkCupid (also defunct) went after dudes who claimed to be “nice guys” but were clearly entitled, misogynistic dicks who had some fucked-up thoughts about women.
OK, last question. I’m gonna ask a hard-hitting one. Tumblr. Why no “e”?
We checked the domain name for ‘Tumbler.com’ and it was this mom and pop store for tumbler glasses. We thought it’d be pretty fun one day, when we got enough money, to acquire their whole business. No joke! Actually, that’s a joke.
Apparently Women Love This 13-Year-Old Skateboarder Named Baby Scumbag
Steven Fernandez, aka Baby Scumbag, is just a normal 13-year-old skater from a bad neighborhood in LA. A normal 13-year-old skater who’s sponsored by a bunch of companies, has 38,000 subscribers onFacebook and 140,000 followers onInstagram, and gets photographed with guns and sexy (adult) women. He’s been skating since he was nine (here’s a video of him at 11), but unlike other absurdly talented kids likeRene Serrano and Evan Doherty, he’s developed a whole persona that revolves around trying to get girls and eating junk food (again: typical 13-year-old). It’s hard to tell how much of that is him putting on an act and how much of that is real, but either way, young Stephen knows more about what people on the internet like than all the “social media gurus” two and three times his age put together. I called him to ask what he wants to be when he grows up.
VICE: Hey, Steven how’s it going? I didn’t force you to miss school, right?
Baby Scumbag: Hey, VICE lady. Just chillin’. Just got home from school. Got out a little early.
You like school, or what? Yeah, school is cool, but it’s kind of tough out here in poverty. You see a lot bad stuff around here, like gang-related stuff, drugs. I live in Compton, California. The border of South Central.
So, you’re super popular at school, right? Nah, I’m just a normal kid going to school. An average teenager.
How did you get start getting sponsored? Well it all started when I had posted a video of skateboarding, and people actually enjoyed watching the video. As I started making more videos, I started getting more sponsors as well.
What’s a typical day in the life of Baby Scumbag? Hang out at school, homework, skateboarding, maybe even go film. And a little masturbation.
Jerome LOL is a young artist who found his niche in reappropriating GIFs and images from the early days of the internet—a time he calls web 1.0. His work hits a certain nostalgic nerve, and if you remember Rihanna’sSNL performance with the dolphins in the background, then you’re already familiar with what Jerome is all about.