By now you've probably heard the story: Former model Liskula Cohen, 37, subpoenas Google in January, in pursuit of a defamation suit "concerning her appearance, hygiene and sexual conduct" against the anonymous author of a Blogspot site called "Skanks in NYC." The blog features only five posts with photographs, all devoted to calling Cohen a "skank," "hag" and "ho." Cohen ultimately wins in court, and Google is forced to fork over the IP address and email of the anonymous blogger, identified as Cohen's acquaintance, Rosemary Port. A media frenzy ensues.
Dizzying, isn't it? And fascinating. Even though we live on and in it, sometimes it's easy to forget that the Interwebz is still a rather young entity, and we're only just starting to understand the power--both positive and negative--of this vast, largely anonymous space.
Inevitably, people have landed on both sides of this matter. And though a court did side with Cohen when she initially pressed Google, we're likely see the saga shift legal momentum with respect to Port's suit (perhaps "all the way to the Supreme Court"), for months.
The Web being a maze of aliases, handles, social identities and passwords, it's only natural for us to revel in the freedom of its virtual invisibility cloak. After all, stalking an ex quietly on Facebook is much easier than hunting the fucker down at his neighborhood haunts. Pay-as-you-go online porn is effortless compared to walking behind the partition at a dingy, outdated video store. Discussion boards for personal problems are sometimes more accessible and helpful than group therapy. Who would sniff their nose at a buffer for the stuff we're not so proud of?
But anonymous Internet flaming, which we see so often on blogs, YouTube, social networks and message boards, is the e-quivalent of pulling a shirt over your head, running over to somebody, kicking them in the mouth, yelling, "You're a fat asshole, you fucking fat asshole!" and then taking off down the street. Afterwards, one person's still bleeding, and their attacker--a total chickenshit--has already moved on.
Or, as Maureen Dowd cited in NYT's Opinion section:
"The velocity and volume on the Web are so great that nothing is forgotten and nothing is remembered," says Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic. "The Internet is like closing time at a blue-collar bar in Boston. Everyone's drunk and ugly and they're going to pass out in a few minutes."
It's simply impossible to respect this brand of cowardice, at least for us. Recently, some anonymous shitbag lamely slammed DISGRASIAN for being "BOOORRINNG" on The Roast List. Every comment posted in reply was also anonymous (save for a dude named "RelentlessX", who's probably either a huge fan of Avril Lavigne and the Pussycat Dolls, or this guy). To be honest, it's hard to dignify criticism from phantoms: Er... um... we guess we're sorry we don't impress a bunch of dickless, spineless, St. Martin's Guide-less, anonymous pussies. Perhaps they're just not our demo? Our demo probably gets laid more.
We at DISGRASIAN don't have a legal position (Sorry Mom, still not going to law school!) on Port's anonymous mudslinging, but we do have an opinion. And we're posting it here:
Rosemary Port's worst anonymous words may have been: "How old is this skank? 40 something? She's a psychotic, lying, whoring, still going to clubs at her age, skank." Not only is her prose a hot mess, but she didn't have the nards to stand behind them. We couldn't care less that a model loves snorting crack while wearing uncooked bacon and at the center of a bukkake circle (Don't they all? Hee!), if the person telling us can't stand up while saying so.
That's an opinion, like it or not. We're not only willing to state it, but sign our names behind it.
Mine is Diana Nguyen.