Not sure where I’m going with this, so forgive me if it rambles.
I have decided to finally cut off from all of this nonsense because, basically, it’s all too insane. Insane and inane.
A few weeks ago, I decided to do a twitter experiment. I tweeted gobbledygook. I translated a random phrase into Uzbek, then added random letters and words – a bit like speaking in tongues. It was read by 277 people and one person favorited it.
Months ago, as people know, I sent a message to a person called Wanda Probe, aka DeeJay Bewy ‘confessing’ to being a pedophile who had assaulted over 9000 children in the guise of Father Christmas, the Pope and Scout Leader. I thought that any sane person would realise this was just a joke, but no – not only did she take it as the absolute truth, it has now become part of Glen Canning’s blog, too. He has taken a lot of time to tell everybody that the police are after me, that I am Amanda Todd’s stalker. There was even an online petition trying to get the Sussex police to investigate me. Does he seriously believe it? Trouble is, I think he does.
The online world has just become a melee of people shouting – shouting silently through their keyboards. Everyone’s demanding their bit of attention, everyone’s competing for followers, for retweets, for blog hits, for anything that makes them think they exist. Everyone dreams of their tweet going viral, or being featured somewhere in the Press. Everyone’s chasing that 15 minutes of fame. Every blogger knows it. I got a huge thrill in the days when I was getting thousands of hits a week.
But it’s all turned sour. People now know that it’s not being nice that gets attention – it’s all about being nasty or controversial. And now there’s a symbiotic relationship between online lunatics and people who want attention. Katie Hopkins says something ridiculously provocative and the gullible crowd piles in to have a go at her. Some boring person in need of publicity announces that they are getting hated online and suddenly takes centre stage.
But it’s infectious. There’s something oddly addictive about having people chuck negativity at you. Recently, Glen Canning tweeted:’For some of us it’s easier to just sit there and hate than it is to stand up and be hated.’ Actually, it’s even easier to stand up and be hated – I should know.
Let’s get something straight. The people who hate Canning are the families of the boys involved in the Parsons tragedy. Everyone else is just in it for the lulz, mostly. Canning is just an online twit who attracts criticism from people looking for a bit of controversy. But why does Canning think he needs to stand up and be hated? He’s just part of the game. Instead of just ignoring the likes of Frank Mag, he makes it worse by creating sock puppet accounts to create an argument. Instead of taking on board what was said by Meghan Murphy about his noodie pics, he goes into a hissy fit. And instead of rationally approaching the problem of the MSVU professor, he goes ahead and tweets a dick pic. And in a mindlessly hateful way, he tells people I am Amanda Todd’s stalker. It’s all just a circle of aggravation.
At one point with this blog, I toyed with the idea of trying to give it a real meaning, but the scope was too wide. I guess that my main aim was to cover all the facets that go together to create the circumstances in which vulnerable young people like Amanda and others end up doing what they do, but it’s all too vast a subject. Also, there was no way in which I could combat the purposeful blindness of the average person.
If I tried to warn of the dangers of young children smoking marijuana, nobody cared. It didn’t matter if there was a ton of evidence supporting my claims, people didn’t want to think about it. It was irrelevant that the tragedy that befell Rehtaeh Parsons was partly fuelled by drugs, or that the highs and lows of ‘self-medication’ might have contributed to Amanda’s behavioural problems.
If I tried to warn of the perils of drinking, most people simply dismissed it as one of those things that teens do. Again, the fact that the Parsons event happened when they were all off their heads on drink and weed seems to have passed by unnoticed.
One thing that might protect children is legislation covering teen chat rooms. But that’s never going to happen. One might expect a huge outcry about sites like cameracaptures and stickamcaptures and many others which thrive on showing videos of young girls like Amanda, but that didn’t come either.
As for parenting – forget it. Trying to start a campaign for responsible parenting is tilting at windmills.
So where does that leave me?
The Parsons and the Todd story have morphed into different things now.
Carol Todd is a sort of media circus. I tuned into a live chat with her recently. It was weird. It was run by someone calling herself Aunt Candie. Only 20-30 people turned up to listen and, rather oddly, Brandon DeBoer (‘Brandon is in charge of Aunt Candie’s Awareness (ACA) Marketing & Branding – Marketing Director – Public Relations) kept posting adverts. Carol repeated the Snowflake story which we all know by heart, and then it kind of petered out. There’s another big event in Ireland soon, but that looks a bit weak judging by the website.
However, Carol Todd is now just Carol Todd. She’s a figurehead for all the campaigns, the human equivalent of clickbait. It doesn’t particularly matter what she says or doesn’t say, what she did or didn’t do. She attracts public attention to the problems of online activity, so let her get on with it.
Canning is an oaf, but really, deep down, he’s doing his best. Carol was canny and with the help of the Vancouver Sun she manipulated the media brilliantly. But Canning is a loose cannon who could benefit from a bit of advice. However, he too has a part to play (he’s just playing it badly), so let him get on with it.
As for my quest for the truth? I’m tempted to say it was all pointless, but I’m not sure. This blog is still the most comprehensive overview of the entire Todd story, and I would like to think there are things here that would have remained unknown had it not been for hard work. There have been over a million hits on the blog, so maybe someone somewhere learned from it. But in general, it’s had no impact. People want the myth, not the truth.
The Canning/Parsons case was intriguing. There are hints of a more interesting backstory online. Again, from a wider perspective, surely it’s important to try to understand why a young girl ends up in that predicament? But never mind. People don’t want the truth, they just want the rape story.
Todd and Parsons are becoming modern fairy tales. Instead of telling kids the story of Little Red Riding Hood, you tell them of Amanda Todd. And it’s true because it’s on YouTube. Instead of desperately trying to convince a daughter to behave herself, tell the the Tale of Rehtaeh Parsons to frighten them into chastity.
So what’s next for me? I’ve given up. It’s time to move on. To go Internet cold turkey. Or at least Canning/Todd cold turkey. Ha ha! It’s going to be difficult. No more going on twitter to add to the latest Canning/Todd gossip. No more checking for Todd/Parsons rubbish on a daily basis. I might pop into the blog every now and then to see if anyone has commented ‘This is a work of genius’. What the Hell am I going to do? Join in the odd #Springwatch or #Poldark debate, probably.
Hmmmm….Yes, I have just cottoned on that I’ve chosen to announce my giving up of the Internet on the Internet! Well, I had to tell somebody, didn’t I?
Take care everybody! And to Glen and Carol – try to enjoy life without me!