If Facebook is the new global village, it’s a village full of fucken’idiots, simpletons and dribblejaws (with the honourable exception of all my friends of course).
One of the people accused of lighting some of the devastating fires in Victoria has had his lack of education and sad love life splattered across the news pages in a way that doesn’t appear to advance the story at all.
Now this has turned into a vigilante exercise in witch burning. A number of people have started Facebook groups that have, despite the protests of the founders, become lynch mobs. This group, Make it know B****** S****** is the man who was arrested for arson, is the most prominent. Here’s what founder Yvette Langstaff has to say:
People need to put a name to the crime, not be left in dark. This site is for people to vent thier frustrations of our legal system, for people to grieve & leave messages of support to our hardworking firefighters and volunteers.
Please do not post photo’s of suspect on this site and we do not condone lynch mob’s..
“Vent their frustrations of our legal system”? What the hell is this? What has the legal system done? Nothing except follow due process. A suspect has been charged and is in custody. He will face a trial on arson and possession of child pornography (if there’s a link there I can’t see it). What is there to be frustrated at? What’s with the wandering apostrophes?
(Interlude) For new readers, let me briefly explain: a “dribblejaws” is someone of socially-retarded manners and limited intelligence. A dribblejaws believes in conspiracies, is generally attracted to the politics of the lunar right and will tend to lurk in cyberspace dribbling their noxious bile. They tend to gather in packs and can be relied upon to express moral outrage over anything they don’t fully comprehend (which is most things).
[update 3.30pm] Well, I didn’t know when I wrote that definition, but it seems that one of the founders of the Langstaff group is a well-known Australian “patriot” called Darrin Hodges. He’s since removed himself publicly from his admin role on the group pages. Darrin is a member of several far right groups in Australia. On his Facebook page Hodges lists German rightist philosopher Oswald Spengler and British National Party leader Nick Griffin as his heroes.
Darrin also posts on the AUSSIE PRIDE – We grew here, you flew here group on Facebook. Dribblejaws all.
There you go, who’d have thunk it!
Thanks to the anti-dribblejaws group that has sprung up on Facebook for this information.
For example, a dribblejaws would be outraged at the fact that the legal system prevents the village idiots from forming a lynch mob armed with pitchforks and firebrands and from tieing the alleged arsonist to a stake and having their own human BBQ. A good example of the dribblejaws mentality is this thoughtful comment posted on the Langstaff group Facebook page:
The people that died in these fires never had a chance so why should this sick perverted peddo bastard be in protective custody…He’s getting 3 meals a day a nice warm bed 2 sleep in and can sleep at night knowing hes safe where he is,,while the poor buggas that have lost everything including loved ones probably cant even sleep at night…The law stinks and gaol is a 5 star resort for these bastards…Also to think that its a criminal offence 2 have groups like this is disgusting,,the public need to know because the scum will probably be let out of jail 2 do it again!!!!
That one’s actually quite mild. While I’ve been writing this post another comment has appeared and I managed to grab it before the moderators took it down:
burn the prick on the stake…. The impact that these fires have had on the people fighting it, the people living it and the families of the people killed by it is un imaginable. this guy needs to pay. i’ve been out fighting this(bunyip & churchill) for a while now. remember these fires have been burning way before 7th feb. my husband and i both have lost our job in this last week because we werent availiable to work as we were out fighting the fires.. make him suffer as we are all doing now!!
I sympathise with people like this poster who bravely faced the fires. I’ve been through my own bushfire at close quarters and I know the fear and loathing they inspire. In my case the arsonists were the bushfire brigade who back-burned in the middle of the night without telling us and then the fires came back up the gully towards my house. But “burn the prick on the stake”? This is irrational and the result of emotional tiredness. We are going back to the Dark Ages with this “Witches of Facebook” mentality.
While I’ve been composing this post another Farcebuerk loonytoon has established a new group: Arsenist B****** S****** should get maximum penalty. You see the trend, poor spelling and grammar, a dribblejaws’ hallmark.
I am constantly frustrated about “our” legal system too. It doesn’t let me smoke dope or drive really fast while I’m pissed and my civil liberties are curtailed in many subtle ways every day. But online lynch mobs are not the answer.
It seems that some of the Facebook sites might be in breach of a supression order and that the founders/contributors could be liable for contempt charges. How dare “our” legal system try to protect the rights of the “peddo bastard”. Well, fuck you dribblejaws.
But hang on, it gets worse, now the supposed ex-girlfriend of the alleged arsonist is also being outed on social networking pages. Do you bastards have no sense of moral boundaries? Do you not understand the fundamentals of privacy.The Inquistr site (their spelling) has published this little snippet and a photograph:
If anyone knows anything more, let us know. There’s two possibilities here: S****** [my edit] lit the fire to get back at her, given she may have been on call with the CFA at the time, or possibly she has a fire obsession as well (birds of a feather).
Jeezusfuck what is this shit – more inflamatory village gossip. I know, let’s have a romantic double burning, you bring the faggots, I’ll bring marshmallows [faggots is a word that upsets the dribblejaws as they can't use a dictionary]. In the interests of completeness I am linking to the site, but you’ll get no further details from EM. The Melbourne Herald Sun is also publishing pictures of the young woman, even though her mother said that any relationship she had with the accused ended more than a year ago.
I’ve written previously on the booming practice of news organisations plundering Facebook and other social networking sites for images and copy. It’s an insidious practice that violates all rules of decency and any privacy that people might have. There is no reason for the frenzy that attaches to this cheap and nasty way of news-gathering. It’s a huge intrusion and I think it should be stopped.
I keep returning the the idea of moral panic here at EM and with good reason. The use of emotional fear is a great way to generate hysteria and mass anger, particularly at false targets. [links to EM posts on moral panic at the end]
What these village idiot schmucks don’t actually realise is that by going bonkers and howling for “justice” they are actually playing into the hands of the very legal system that they claim to despise. The Victorian police are already calling for blogs and other social networking sites to be closed down – “banned” is the word they use – for publishing details of the accused. Go figure you numbnucks. Why don’t you sit quietly in a dark room until it passes. You could, with luck, be out by Easter.
Better still, and easier for your limited intelligence to comprehend, why don’t you take a leaf out of this sensible person’s post on the Langstaff site and just go away:
I am utterly shocked that friends of mine have joined this group.
Has he been convicted? No. Has he had a trial? No. Basically, even though he probably did do it, this is all based on hearsay. Not exactly conforming to the rule of law or tenets of democracy or even the old catch-cry ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ And if he did do it, then it is likely to go through the proper channels and he will face imprisonment – - unless you guys have jeopordised the process further with this group.
The fires were awful, heartbreaking, traumatic, and caused completely unexpected devastation in this day and age, in our context. But this kind of utterly thoughtless mob mentality is hardly the answer.
Linking the arson suspect to child porn charges is a great way to inflame the dribblejaws. I know nothing of the suspect, except what I’ve read in the excitable press coverage. In this case it seems that the media is like a pack of vultures. Now that the village idiots have let loose to chase the monster down, the MSM can join the hunt. They bray and bay from the edges of the ruck, goading and encouraging the mob.
One such is the New Zealand Herald, which published a story and a photo of the accused in its print edition today (Tuesday 17), but has not put it on the NZH website.
It’s a pity that this comes on the heels of a thoughtful piece in the Dominion Post on Saturday about the emotional impact of covering human tragedy. Unfortunately, the piece, Witness to tragedy, does not appear to be available on the paper’s website.
It is a pity because Michael Field’s summary of the emotions churning through many news stories is a sober reminder of the dilemmas confronting reporters when they are sent to cover events that involve the tragic loss of life.
However, it seems that not all journalists share Field’s concerns about the ethics of intrusion and gossip. Plenty are willing to salivate alongside the leaders of the Facebook rabble calling for more blood. In particular the blood of the “accused firebug”.
Previous EM posts on moral panic (so I don’t have to explain myself again)