It is a discomforting thing to realize that one of the more potent subcultures of the Internet consists of men who froth in rage when denied what they consider their inalienable right to jack off to illegitimately acquired photographs of nude celebrities.
But if you spend any time contemplating the comments in the subreddit "The Fappening," a clearinghouse designed to share the latest information as to the whereabouts of naked Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton selfies, it's hard to come to any other conclusion: The Internet has nurtured a thriving community of entitled, predatory assholes who find strength and solidarity in their circle-jerk self-affirmation. There might be a smidgen of Pynchonesque humor to be derived from the "Fappening" label -- a portmanteau of "happening" and a slang word for masturbation -- but the deeper you dig, the less easy it is to chuckle.
Consider, for example, this quote posted on "The Fappening" subreddit:
Fucking reddit, grow a pair of balls. Dont give in to these white knight cunts.
In the parlance of business, a "white knight" is a party that steps in to save a corporation from a hostile acquisition by acting as a friendly investor. It's an act of chivalry, on the financial pages. But on Reddit, a white knight is a guy who treats women nicely. Or, to borrow from the definition posted at the subreddit "Whiteknighting," it's "a male that treats women as goddesses and does nothing but shower them in compliments on how wonderful and beautiful and special they are." In the context of The Fappening, the white knights are the Reddit admins -- and anybody else -- attempting to shut down threads in which links to the photos are being shared.
Oppose misogyny and objectification? Congratulations, you're a white knight, which means you're a bad guy to the pickup artists and men's rights activists and nude selfie distributors.
There's an obvious lesson to be learned from the Fappening fiasco. The convenience of our cloud-backup-equipped smartphones makes us all more vulnerable than ever before to humiliating invasions of our privacy. But let's not get so caught up in blaming the victims of this mess for their insufficient cybersecurity that we forget that this kind of breach doesn't happen without the incitement of predatory demand. And that's where the real blame should be directed. If you want to know how these people think, here's a few more quotes from Reddit:
Seriously, I keep clicking imgur links and getting stonewalled. Fuck them.
If an event such as this happens again, I will not accept calling anything other than the Second Cumming.
If he gets arrested before they are all released I'm going to be so fucking pissed
I hope he has it all worked out, so that if he gets raided he will just press a button and instantly share the rest of all the shit, post it to 4chan and reddit and pretty much everyfuckingwhere else.
EVERYTHING IS GETTING BANNED??? THE LIVE STREAM AND THE COLLECTION OF ALL THE NUDES THAT THEDUKE AS POSTED?? WHAT IS GOING ON??
Holy fuck the live thread and the compilation thread are banned. What the actual fucking fuck.
Once this is all said and done can we get completed organized albums of all the photos in the sidebar or in a sticky post. Heh sticky
FFFFUUUUUCCCCKKKAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMWWWWHWHHHHHYYYYY?! Alison Brie, where are you?! God-fucking-dammit!
Frontpage to the Internet my ass. Hype and Monday morning quarterback morals with censorship and white knights.