October 27th, 2004


(no subject)

Whoa. anniesj wrote a satirical entry about satirical violence to the President and ended up with the Secret Service on her doorstep. And now she has a permanent file with the FBI. I didn't get to read the entry, and naturally she's taken it down now, so I can't speak for the entry itself. I think she's handling it the best way she can now that the damage is done, but the point she makes in this new entry is extremely worth repeating: "I want people to be aware that what they say on their LJ can cause problems for them in RL, because I love all of you and I don't wish what happened to me on you. You are more than welcome to discuss this post in your journal, and you are more than welcome to link to it from your journal. [...] Please, feel free to make an example out of me. So share this with your friends. Tell them what can happen. It's beneficial to all of us to know that this can happen, and hopefully, it'll prevent something like this from happening again."

Now, there are a few separate issues here, and one is that of civil liberties and did the Secret Service overstep their bounds and honestly, I'm going to say they didn't here. And keep in mind that I think our civil liberties have been horribly eroded already. But, on the other hand, I just said in my journal yesterday that I would not be surprised if assassination attempts were made on either candidate. This is a particularly heated election and that's the Secret Service's job, to check out stuff like that. You would hope that they would be able to distinguish satire from actual threat, but again, I didn't see the entry itself so I can't say what kind of impression it gave. It's the Service's job to check things out. The permanent FBI file is unfortunate, but there you go.

It seems that someone from LJ turned Annie into the Secret Service, however, and apparently not because that person genuinely thought she was threatening the President, but to get revenge because of fandom politics. And if that's true? That person is an ass. A grade-A, I-don't-need-enemies-if-I-have-you, that-was-wholly-uncalled-for ass.

And the third--and most important--point: It is incredibly easy to forget that the internet is not a magical playworld where we can say things with real-world impunity. I've done it myself. It's easy to forget that just because you interact mostly with friends online that they are not the only attention you are attracting, that there's always Google, and that there's always going to be someone who doesn't like you, and unlike in the real world where you can say things and have them disappear into time and thin air, your online interactions are captured in print. Please, please, please be careful with what you say. Not just about the President, or political figures, or any of that. I've started being more careful about writing unlocked entries mentioning family members, for example, and throwing hissyfits about plagiarism. Time and time again I've seen people spew things that they would never say in real life, because it's the internet and you almost feel like the people you're talking to aren't real--you'll tell them that they're fucking morons and should be killed by an axe to the head because they don't like the same movies/actors/anime/My Little Ponies you do. (No, seriously. "My Little Pony" and "You should die, you fucking moron." I actually saw this earlier today.) So please--this needs to be a wake up call that you are talking to real people, and that real people are listening whether you want them to or not, and that it's incredibly easy for you to say something you do not mean in any literal sense, and/or for someone to take what you said the wrong way.
msauvage purple

(no subject)

Just FYI, because people were asking last week--give me until 10 pm at the latest and I'll have the Lost recap up.

ETA: Okay, gimme a couple more minutes to proofread and put in some links.