The Times West Virginian

Life

July 9, 2012

For one week, good triumphs over evil online

Last week was a jubilant one for the Internet, the triumphant victory of good over evil, the temporary defeat of the trolls.

You heard of the first win, or saw it on the "Today" show when it sprang from computer screens to television. Karen Klein, a bus monitor taunted to tears by pubescent donkeys in a viral video, received several decades-worth of hazard pay in the form of a "vacation-of-a-lifetime fund" set up by horrified viewers. The fund has surpassed $650,000 — several vacations for several lifetimes.

You might be less familiar with a second — the righteous vindication of Anita Sarkeesian, a media critic who attempted to raise $6,000 on Kickstarter to conduct a study about the stereotyping of women in video games. Her request unplugged a sewer of misogyny online (Stereotypes: proved), but the sewer was met with a backlash to the backlash. Instead of her original modest goal, Sarkeesian's project raised more than $150,000.

For years, trolls have given the Internet an undue amount of bad press. They represent the worst of humanity; unfortunately handwringers assume they represent the status quo of the Web. So it's exhilarating to see the Internet also draw forth the best of humanity. In fact, I propose that an equal-and-opposite term is needed for the troll-battlers who uplift rather than denigrate. I propose we call them "sprites."

Everyone loved the exceedingly spritely nature of last week. Bloggers chronicled Klein and Sarkeesian's ballooning funds like they were hosting a PBS telethon (Can we get her to $500,000? For a tote bag?).

But there's something a tad uncomfortable about the sprite solution. However horrible the initial mistreatment of the two women, healing their wounds with dollar-bill Band-Aids seems misguided. The Cinderella narrative is one that American society likes a lot — cars from Oprah, "Extreme Home Makeovers" from ABC — but it's a cop-out to Bippity-Boppity away individual problems rather than to acknowledge that these problems are systemic, symbolic and ongoing.

Text Only
Life
  • GriefShare helps ease the pain of loss

    For years, Judy Brown was weighed down by the painful burden of the grief from losing many family members.
    Her dad died in 1999, her sister in 2001, her mother in 2003 and an uncle in 2005. Her in-laws had passed away, also.
    It was almost more than she could bear.

    March 1, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-02-24 at 3.00.28 PM.png VIDEO: Remembering Harold Ramis

    The comedy legend, best known for his role in the "Ghostbusters" films, has passed away.

    February 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Die-hard WVU fan goes to extremes to keep his attendance streak alive

    When WVU’s football team took on Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29, 2012, Rick Harshbarger was in the stands at Yankee Stadium cheering on the Mountaineers.
    The next day, Harshbarger was back in the Mountain State by noon to root for the WVU men’s basketball team as it faced Eastern Kentucky University at the Coliseum.

    February 15, 2014

  • Churches use big game as way of giving

    Super Bowl Sunday is almost like a national holiday.
    The day consists of family, friends, chips and dip, and various other festivities.
    But while the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos get ready to square off at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII today, Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont will be having a competition of its own.

    February 2, 2014

  • Change to Westminster show celebrates the everydog

    When the nation’s foremost dog show added an event open to mixed breeds, owners cheered that everydogs were finally having their day.
    They see the Westminster Kennel Club’s new agility competition, which will allow mutts at the elite event next month for the first time since the 1800s, as a singular chance to showcase what unpedigreed dogs can do.

    January 26, 2014

  • Family promise gave life to man in 31-year coma

    As his 7-year-old son Mikey lay in a hospital bed on life support, the victim of a drunk driver who had smashed into his family’s car, Paul Cortez took the boy’s hand and made a solemn promise to God: If his son survived, no matter in what condition, he and his family would always be there for him.

    January 26, 2014

  • Muppets mini-makeover aims to boost kids’ health

    Bert and Ernie jump rope and munch apples and carrots, and Cookie Monster has his namesake treat once a week, not every day. Can a Muppets mini-makeover improve kids’ health, too?
    A three-year experiment in South America suggests it can. Now, the Sesame Street project is coming to the United States.

    January 25, 2014

  • Should you friend your boss on Facebook?

    So? Should you and your boss be friends on Facebook? The answer, of course, is not simple.

    October 27, 2012

  • Aric and Melanie Naternicola.jpg Link to the past

    An old wood-and-iron lunk of an apple press is linking Aric Naternicola to a great-grandfather.
    “My grandfather (Joe Naternicola Sr.) told me his father had bought it from somebody 60, 70 years ago. And I restored it,” he said.

    October 24, 2012 3 Photos

  • 1059682_13738568.jpg Slate: The physics of cracking an egg

    My mother taught me to crack the egg on the rim of the mixing bowl before gently pulling the two halves apart with both hands, while my husband prefers to tap the eggshell gently with the dull edge of a knife. Others might favor striking the egg against the edge, or the surface, of a countertop.

    October 4, 2012 1 Photo

House Ads
Featured Ads