Righteous Internet Pile- In Day, everyone! Today’s THE DAY! The day
we’re allowed to express extraordinary online offence at… anybody, really. As long as we all do it together, in one lovely pack! Like with that Grazia interviewee who revealed she couldn’t survive on £40k a year. Or the white American teenager who wore traditional Chinese dress to her prom. The Oxford uni chump, who last week posted about being infatuated with a lowly waitress. Who knows who’s next? The rapidly developing ways in which people can be considered to have transgressed mean we can only know for sure that, sooner or later, someone will. And once they do: yay! We may pile in upon them, as one! Unleash social media-platformed hell because that’s how we demonstrate what flawlessly, perfectly, good humans we are, relatively!
I mean, I say Righteous Internet Pile-in Day’s today. Actually: every day is RIP-I Day! Has been for, what? Five years? What a fabulous five years they’ve been! A time to lump together, give equivalency to, then dole out the same pile-in punishment, to whoever. Whether they’re that lot previously mentioned or… a footballer accused of rape! Or Harvey Weinstein!
Jonathan Franzen got it for his ‘writing rules’. Jamie Oliver got it for his ‘jerk rice’. I got it for writing a book: an offence punishable by RIP-I, because… actually, I’m not sure why. Unsure why most of the above got RIP-I’D, TBH.
I assume we deserved it. Why else would we have been attacked, lampooned, vilified with such alacrity by complete strangers? Why else would they e-scream so loudly about our stupidity, incompetence, insensitivity, foolishness? Insist we’d triggered their mental health issues. Rage against the danger we pose ‘young people’. Ignore or deny or stay wilfully ignorant to the fact that, when one lone individual is RIP-I’D, is mass-monstered online – they’re likely to become distressed in real life. Confused and befuddled. Humiliated by comments about their appearance. Anxious; ashamed. Paranoid to the point of PTSD; their sense of self so diminished by the judgements of a hundred Online Others – they stop knowing quite who they are.
I mean, I suppose, in the future, when contemplating taking part in a RIP-I, we could pause to ask if the latest subject is deserving of such treatment. Distinguish between, say, an RIP-I on a rapist, and one directed at a daft student with a crush, or a woman who’s not so great with money. Consider what might happen to them, emotionally, if we proceed. Wonder if, one day, they might be us…
Or we could just carry on.