Thursday, 12 September 2013

Juvenal and the internet: Fear and Loathing Online

If Old Holborn’s been trolling to the extent stated by Jonathan Maitland in ITV’s Tonight program, his Twitter feed shows he’s been behaving himself recently; but he knew the program was coming out.

Juvenal: read more at Angela's SAS blog
The Libertarian Alliance compared OH to Juvenal (left, who admittedly railed bitterly against those who he saw as his lessers), but ignored the dearth of literacy and materials in ancient Rome relative to today. And also satire’s traditional targets, as Maitland pointed out: not “the weak and vulnerable” but public figures, especially those in power.

Old Holborn didn’t help himself, coming across as something of a psychopath:

It isn’t my responsibility what other people find offensive. If you don’t like it, turn off.

But it’s not always possible to turn off. Even the act of looking at a computer screen increases cerebral arousal and can create a compulsion to look further.

That’s maybe why some people can’t look away, most notably 14-year-old Hannah Smith, who killed herself after trolls – anonymous hyper-offensive posters – ground her down so much on living didn’t appear an option.

Maitland traced a troll, "Jamie Card", who posted offensive comments about a woman’s 2-year-old child with Down’s Syndrome. However, under present laws, he has to be caught “with his hands on the keyboard”.

Robert Ambridge: read more at Daily Mail
Old Holborn (Robert Ambridge - masked, right) defended himself as a championing free speech. But, as one victim pointed out, trolls curtail the free speech of their victims. The internet becomes a lawless expanse where only the brave or the abusive dare tread, and where both statutory authorities and social-media operators fail in their duty to enact Tim Berners-Lee’s principle that they must "prevent the Web from being abused by destructive forces to an extent that the overall pain is greater than the gain".

Given that the Internet enables communication and organisation like nothing before, is Establishment inaction in the face of these abusers totally coincidental?

Charles Bond
300 words


How to deal with an Internet Troll -

Fear and Loathing Online - ITV player, until 11 october 2013

Fear and Loathing Online Homepage - scroll to bottom of page for sites to help you if you are a victim of trolling

Old Holborn's Twitter feed

Old Holborn: a Juvenal for our times - Libertarian Alliance blog

Facebook troll ["Jamie Card"] hijacked woman's account and pretended to give her child away

Tim Berners-Lee's internet archeology principles: filtering


  1. "Even the act of looking at a computer screen increases cerebral arousal and can create a compulsion to look further. "

    You sir are an idiot.


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