Polly Ver­non

Right­eous In­ter­net Pile- In Day, ev­ery­one! To­day’s THE DAY! The day

Grazia (UK) - - Contents -

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.

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