Back at the start of October UK justice minister Chris Grayling proposed that internet trolls should face two years in prison. They are, he said, cowards who “poison our national life’, a truism but a surface skimming truism. A surfaction.
A case proceeding through the courts of Portland, Oregon, takes us deeper into the subject, reminding us of something we seem to have forgotten ten to fifteen years ago: in almost 100% of bullying events the dynamic most at play is low self-esteem. And when low self-esteem is in play, the biggest losers and the biggest targets of hate, are the low self-esteemed themselves – from themselves, by themselves, in the evening.
Andrea Bess Jennings is a pure example. Below are seven of a total of more than eight thousand tweets she sent to herself from her ‘drunk account’ – her twitter alter ego her sober self would immediately forget existed in the morning.
• YOU ARE A SICK PANSY AND NEED RE-EDUCATING PRONTO
• try breathing through your nose you sod
• I find that whenever you’re talking I have to turn away. The trouble being your face. Very disappointing. *Very*.
• Stupid trousers
• Remember yesterday? Actually probably best to forget yesterday isn’t it you daft c*nted plop
• Deep yellow piss atoms make your body, you know
• Here – idea: suffer and die in appalling circumstances. try and remember that.
Oregon authorities now face an acute dilemma: will they enshrine this more societally-damaging category of hate (self-hate) into criminal law, and if so, how? Legal experts raise the spectre of prison officers force feeding prisoners alcohol to meet definitional targets of punishing ‘drunk offenders’, allowing sober non-offenders freedom in daylight hours – an unworkable tangle of chemistry, body-mass, autonomy, deception, memory, nostalgia and physical restraint.
We’ve been in touch with Andrea however, and in a poem she’s written she hints at a solution:
ALL OF THIS IS HAPPENING, A SPIRAL OF EVENTS. THE RAIN IS RAINING HARDER, ON HOUSES – ALSO TENTS. FATNESS SUCKS US UNDER, THE DATA GATHERS PACE, ALL OF THIS IS HAPPENING, A PROVABLE DISGRACE.
ALL OF THIS IS HAPPENING, TANGLED UP IN BREW, THE LOWS ARE GETTING LOWER, FINGERS TURNING BLUE. SO MANY ARE THE NUMBERS THAT CHART THIS SPIRAL DOWN, TIME TO DRINK, OR TIME TO THINK – THAT’S A DRESSING DOWN
NONE OF THIS IS HAPPENING, MAKE IT GO AWAY, MY EARS ARE BLOCKED, DENIAL STOCKED, THIS CANNOT BE THE PLAY, NO NEED TO FRET, I’M NOT AS WET AS TIMES IN DISTANT BLUR, BUT TIMES ARE BLURRED BECAUSE YOU’RE CURD, AND FOOLISH AND ABSURD
MAKE ME AFRAID OF KEYBOARDS, OF SMARTPHONES AND PCs, TRAIN MY HEAD TO NAUSEATE AT QWERTY AND SUCH KEYS, THAT’S ALL IT TAKES, THOSE ARE THE BRAKES I NEED TO STOP THE TEASE, SO PLEASE GET WORKING, CODING, SPLICING, BE BUSY AS THE BEES