A Cautionary Tale

The internet is a wonderful thing. I can hardly remember how it was possible to function before Wikipedia and Mapquest. If I had the internet as a teenager my life would have been drastically different. I could have connected to like-minded souls and gleaned information on the music I loved so much more easily. And then undoubtedly and inevitably I would have rushed headlong into one or another cyberpedo kidnapping plot that most kids could spot a mile away. So maybe things unfold the way they are meant to happen.

Anyway, it’s great, except when it’s not. Like, except when adults set up fake teenage myspace pages to harass a little girl until she commits suicide. Or when people create viruses to fuck up your shit just because they can, or because they want your grandmother to fall for fake virus malware and send money to an offshore account. Or when people are anonymously and unnecessarily mean. I don’t read the comments on youtube anymore, because under even the cutest, sweetest, most harmless kitten video possible, there will always be at least one moron stating something vile. When I read these comments I get scared for the planet.

Another crap use of the internet: hacking into famous or known people’s email and facebook accounts to steal their photos and post them on your shitty website in order to make money and a “name” for yourself. 
And thus our tale begins.

My friend Anki worked for MTV Norway for a few years, first producing Headbanger’s Ball, then hosting it along with producing. She is pretty well known in Europe, but lives in LA now and is not as famous in the states. Anki is very hard-working and passionate about everything she does; she knows the music she speaks of very well, and I’ve seen her dive in completely when she has a project, only coming up for air when it’s finished. When I met her I was impressed with her intelligence and wit, and we bonded immediately over expensive shoes and strong cocktails.

Anki is also beautiful. Like, really beautiful. When I eat across the table from her I blank occasionally as I watch the planes of her face reflect light. Her skin is incredible, her features refined and symmetrical, she’s never taken a bad photo in her life. I would hate her if she wasn’t so cool. Here’s Anki and I looking booberiffic the last time we hung out:

Despite the low cut nature of our dresses on this particular evening, Anki is generally very modest and ladylike, especially considering her love of black metal and hardcore. It was one of the things that initially attracted me to her: this girl who knows the heaviest music yet carries herself with elegance. Anki does not dive into intimacy quickly and doesn’t have one night stands. During her stint with MTV she worked very hard to maintain a professional stance despite the fact that she’s an attractive woman surrounded by guys in bands.

Cut to internet villains on the loose: One particular set hacked into her friend’s facebook account and sent her a couple of harmless-seeming questions about her email address from that facebook account. Anki responded, thinking she was having a conversation with a friend, and through that conversation enough information was gleaned to hack into her email account. 

You can guess where I’m headed. In 2009 Anki was navigating a long distance relationship, and had sent her boyfriend at the time some hot photos. Nothing too crazy, but topless and obviously intended for someone she is comfortable with seeing her naked. She had the presence of mind to delete everything after sending, and the photos were not in her thoughts in 2011. But she forgot some of the autosaves in the drafts folder. These photos were then stolen by strangers and posted on the world wide web on a site that specializes in amateur sex photos, primarily stolen from hacked facebook accounts.
And thus a nice girl gets exposed in a way she finds most embarrassing. There for the world to see: first, her name in bold type, her occupation, some photos stolen from facebook, one of her smiling, one with her dog (for the love of God, not the dog!). Then the jacked photos, in succession, with enthusiastic commentary underneath. Anki was beyond mortified. She felt destroyed, embarrassed, violated, vulnerable, and ashamed.
I’m not going to post the web link here because I don’t want to give the site more publicity or have its owner come after me in some way. And happily, the photos are down now. After tearfully breaking the news to her mother and the people closest to her, Anki waged an email campaign to get the photos taken down. They were removed after a time but then put back up again due to popular demand, because she looks smoking in the photos and the site’s “readers” liked the fact that she is curvacious rather than stick skinny. But I checked prior to starting this blog and they’re down once more.

While I was searching for Anki, I spent some time on the site scrolling through page after page of people taking nude, sexy, pornographic photos of themselves. It was both fascinating and repellent. If Anki’s photos went up in the manner they did, surely many of these people had their intimate moments stolen as well. But many of them also looked to be desperate little girls hoping for attention and validation that they are attractive and desirable. And that made me sad.
I see these often beautiful young women so quick to give themselves away and I can’t help but wish that they thought better of themselves. They smile into the camera sweetly and two photos later are spreading their butt cheeks for close-up as if the world was their proctologist. I’m a fucking Cycle Slut from Hell, and I still find it shocking how willing so many young women are to photograph themselves in the most pornographic positions possible. The lack of self esteem is palpable and sad, from both men and women.
I am also saddened at how callous so many are about hurting others through anonymous comments, through websites like the one described above, or through malicious and purposeful attacks through the computer. There is a lack of empathy visible that seems almost sociopathic in nature. I guess the internet reflects the best and the worst of ourselves.

So what’s the moral of the story? Don’t take nude photos of yourself unless you want them to be seen? I guess that’s a start. And I guess it would be nice if everyone stopped being so super shitty on the internet. But I know I’m preaching to the choir here. I suppose I just want everyone to know this kind of violation is possible and happens every day, so take care of yourselves and each other out there in cyberspace.

Namaste, bitches.

Another Party Heard From

ME (sitting in a salon chair): So I’ve been really getting into silent movies on Netflix and TCM lately.

JOEY (brushing dye onto my hair): That’s cool.

ME: Yeah, they’re so visual, and the women look gorgeous, but with a completely different set of beauty standards. I watched Camille with Alla Nazimova and it was so sad and beautiful that I cried through the whole thing.

JOEY:  Well, it must be nice not to have to pay a nickel for it anymore.

ME: What?

JOEY: And you don’t have to stretch your neck up to see the screen while that guy plinks on the piano. That’s gotta be good.

ME: You know, you really are an asshole.

JOEY: Well, I never! Sit still, I have to shave your mustache and it takes a steady hand…
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