Sunday, October 31, 2010
A "TREAT" FOR THE SHIT-TALKERS, A "TRICK" FOR THE TALKED-ABOUT: AIRING OUT TORONTO'S "DIRTY" LAUNDRY
Dear Torontonians of the Upper East side,
Spotted: A local reality TV star holding hands with a promo model/go-go dancer/stripper/undercover call girl. Looks like her drunk club promoter/ friend-with-benefits and Facebook frenemy aren't too happy about this. Guess that's why they call them "one hit" wonders. Off to the next.
You know you love me. XOXO, Gossip Girl.
If this was "Gossip Girl" - or any TV show, for that matter - this excerpt could've derived from a hypothetical gossip website that was made to parody celebrity tabloids and spread supposedly harmless or humourous rumours about the elite - with room for speculation, of course. But, instead, this is an excerpt I concocted on my own, summarizing the "real" trash I read about certain Torontonians (some famous, some not) on http://www.thedirty.com/. Just in case you haven't read my previous articles mentioning (the "de-humanizing" nature of) "The Dirty," http://www.thedirty.com/ is a website that peer-pressures you into anonymously submitting "dirt" about anyone and anything - selecting from a list of cities and universities the person you would prefer to slander is from - and hiding behind an alias to attack anyone you and your friends can't admittedly "hate" to their faces. Empowering? Maybe for a little while. Guilt-free? Not so much.
Now, "The Dirty" has been offended their selves - by a Vancouver girl who warned the media about how many citizens destroy lives and reputations in their city on the infamous website. And with the vast accumulation of posts I've watched climb in the past week - about specific smaller towns set in the GTA area - I think it's about time I do the same: investigating possible suspects as the culprit for this virtual-tarnishing of Toronto's image.
Here are some direct excerpts from the "Toronto" section of the website - well, at least, the several I found especially disturbing, incriminating, and even somewhat illegal.
"(Mentions name? Illegal?) is a stripper from Toronto...When she needs to sell her body for money, she does drugs everyday of the week and can be seen at all the clubs where purple crayons are. "Nik" (the site founder/moderator), with a body like that and a horse face and her giant forehead, do you see model potential?"
"(About another girl) She finally grew up and now thinks she's the hottest shit, after she lost her virginity (personal info?). Became a bottle whore and now thinks she can control the world - and all guys with her saggy boobs. She has sex with guys so they can lend her their car, because being a manager at Bluenotes (location may reveal where she works and put her in danger) isn’t paying enough. Poor girl, doesn’t even have her license at 20. Would you?"
"(About another girl) This gold diggin’ sloot had been with her man for 4 years — practically engaged — before she decided to go to Cuba and bang three guys, including a couple purple gregrs. She comes back from Cuba and gives her BFs all the STDs (if this is true, she could be putting other men's health at risk, but this information is being sent to the wrong venue) she picked up there, only to dump him a month later..."
As you can see, visitors of http://www.thedirty.com/ take advantage of the moderator's leniencies towards what comments can be posted under each piece of "dirt." Clearly, comments that imply racial, homophobic, and prejudiced slurs should add up to enough to stall the heartless medium's undeserved success, but when these stories reveals another person's name, address, or disease - especially without their consent - legal action should most definitely be considered.
One Toronto victim did take action. Let's call her "B," a young woman who was pinpointed two weeks ago by a group of girls who simply assumed she posted about one of their friends on the website. "Even when the site owner said I had never put anyone up, they continued to harrass me and say that I was an escort and addicted to drugs - and all kinds of other horrible things. My boyfriend had it removed by spending $10,000 with a lawyer, but unfortunately, this girl and her friends won't leave me alone." "B" goes on to tell me that these girls were still publicly - and falsely - blaming her under the post that someone else wrote about their friend. She plans to file more charges, which will push the website to reveal the IP address(es) of the perpetrator(s)/girls who were making threats and posting about her. "We will move forward with criminal action for defamation of character and slander, not to mention civil suits for the lawyer fees - and more."
And why shouldn't she? "B" has the right to privacy and protection of her own identity, even if her enemies - or frenemies - do have "freedom of speech." Nasty posts online - especially on popular websites like Facebook and The Dirty, where practically "everyone" registers - can not only take away someone's good name but put their career, relationship, safety - and even life - in jeopardy. Even if you don't have a specific person as a "friend" on Facebook, google their name and link up to potentially any truth or lie - good or bad - about them. With "The Dirty," you can locate all the murmurs of the words "slut," "bitch," "ugly," "fat," "crazy" - or any other cringe-worthy noun or adjective in the English dictionary - about one person conveniently organized under one post.
However, Facebook isn't like "The Dirty" or "Perez Hilton" - in that sense anyway. Members can only see your activity if they have you as a "friend," and sometimes - as I discovered through my own witnessing and experiences - a Facebook "friend" isn't much of an (off-Facebook) friend at all.
Like when elementary school acquaintances add you simultaneously and then decide to make fun of "someone else with your name" (AKA you) on their wall post conversations. Or when people you knew all your life - and maybe didn't necessarily like - have their old "friends" creating vicious hate groups about them that are taken down a month after reporting it. And how about those ex-girlfriends, boys? The ones who shoot through psycho rampages and text-threaten female friends from YOUR cell phone, then reveal your 17-year-old mistresses on their Facebook statuses? Hey, what better way to get revenge than to post how much of a cheating a****** you are, for the whole world to see?
Except with Facebook, you may be able to identify people under their real names. With Facebook, relationship fights usually involve a tight-knit group of people who have resided in the same, small local community since they were pooping in their diapers. And once someone announces you're the village bicycle, the whole village knows...
But even when your "friend" knows that it's you bullying them online, you still continue to advertise her personal life online, doing what you wouldn't dare to do - to her face. Whether you're venting off steam and lashing out at her for your own personal issues or you're arguing about the way she has hurted you, the reasons why you're bullying her online can range from your home situation to your stress to - you, and your own insecurities. They say others put you down because they want to bring themselves up, to feel better about themselves. But, should their past be an excuse for their present or future behaviour towards you, a person possibly unrelated to their life at all?
Academia and media attempt to raise awareness about bullying online and offline - specifically in school - urging victims to come forward with their stories to teachers and principals. But, really, how much do they help? Horror stories about the school system doing nada - until the bullying results in a homicide or suicide - resurface, discouraging victims to "snitch" on the bully and thereby possibly making the situation worse. Some tell you to ignore the bullies, not giving them the ammunition or reaction they want from you. Yet, some bullies misinterpret this as a sign that you are tolerating what they're doing and then will continue to do it. Make too much noise, and they'll give people more reasons to make fun of you. Either way, you're screwed. When you're the target of a bully, you can cry or die, being kind or just as cruel back. Now, thanks to the internet - Facebook and other social networking sites - there's a hell of alot more opportunity for children, teens, and even adults to feed into their gossiping addiction. Even if the computer keeps a record of all the mean stuff the bully can be incriminated with, it can be used against the victim as well.
Spotted: A used-to-be frenemy making amends with her now-again BFF. The BFF takes some well-intended advice from her friend and dumps both her reality TV star boyfriend and drunk club promoter friend-with-benefits. Now, two beautiful, young ladies can paint the town red and shop and party 'till they drop. Ah, peace is finally restored back in girl world. Finally, a breath of fresh air.