Oh, Jon.

So I’m trying to fall asleep listening to Jon Stewart again, and what does he do?

He invites someone who wrote a book on ‘Anonymous’  to talk about… Anonymous.

Oh, Jon. Fool.

It still boggles my mind to think that people actually believe that the phenomenon of high school/college age kids fucking around on the internet warrants… much of anything, really. Not books, not fear, not attention. Please, stop giving them attention.

Oh, and taking them seriously.

Here’s the clip that I’m talking about:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-18-2012/parmy-olson

It starts out with Jon mentioning Anonymous bored teenagers on 4chan wanting to ruin the author’s life. Now, I’ll concede that it’s very likely that someone heard about the book and started a thread about it, and then a couple dozen self-righteous manchildren attempted to absolutely destroy her with their usual methods of ordering pizzas to her address while wearing Guy Fawkes masks before  getting scared and hiding under their beds from the federal raid that was surely incoming to quell their terrorist activities.

But, y’know, that’s the extent. This woman isn’t in danger of anything that can’t be accomplished through ordering things to people’s addresses. Unless she’s deathly allergic to free mormon bibles, she can sleep easy.

The author then goes on to discuss her research- namely, how she contacted a “representitive” of the “network” to speak to a “UK representative” who was a “senior member” of anonymous.

For the uninitiated, that last sentence is actually just utter bullshit. ‘Anonymous’ does not have representatives, nor is it a network, and a person who is from the UK and considers themselves a member of anonymous  is not a “UK representative” any more than me getting a house in Britain would make it a US Embassy.

Now to give the author some credit, she does point out that the entire idea of Anonymous bored teenagers on 4chan having power is a mirage. Sadly, she honestly should have just stopped there.

The whole hype over ‘Anonymous’, ‘hackers on steroids’, ‘internet terrorists’… it is an illusion, created because people aren’t adapting to the internet as well as the people who do not know a world without it. To invoke Clark’s third law, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Technology is incredibly advanced, and as a result, people are becoming convinced that 14 year olds who got bored and stumbled onto 4chan are magicians.

And, y’know, as someone who wants to consider herself a skeptic I have to address this. 14 year olds who stumble upon 4chan and become illusioned with the idea of being an elite hacker terrorist in a secret club are not magicians.

But for those who really fail to grasp this entire concept, I’ll explain.

First off, no, anonymous is not a group. It’s an adjective. That’s all. If you’ve ever been too lazy to fill out your contact information when commenting on an article, congratulations, you are now a member of an elite hacker organization. Anonymous is not a group that has any special power. All it is- in it’s entirety- is the result of what happens when you mix normal human tendencies with the illusion that you will not face repercussions because you cannot be identified. People are assholes, and people like to feel like they’re elite and important. Mix those two together on a popular website that expects you to post anonymously (contrary to what the author of the book claims, you are not entirely forced to be on 4chan) where the illusion that you cannot be found is present and you get anonymous.

That’s all. There is literally nothing else to it, besides the details of the smoke and mirrors that allow them to look fancy.

Those smoke and mirrors, again, are just  the result of people not understanding technology. When anonymous takes down websites, all they’re doing is essentially zerging them. Nobody is hacking into anything and for the most part, 90% of those involved don’t even know what they’re doing. They downloaded a program that some guy made and followed the instructions in an image someone else posted and then they started reciting the cover up they’re going to make when the FBI busts them. Because they’re dangerous terrorists, you know.

I really wish there was more to explain, seeing as how poorly understood the whole topic is, but there really isn’t. That’s what makes it sad.

All the people who write about ‘Anonymous’ need to do, should they be able to stand the rampant misogyny and casual racism, is spend a while on 4chan (long enough to watch an entire ‘Operation’ be born and die unnoticed, at least), and they’ll be experts.

And then they can just sit there and think, “wow, I was actually about to take that group of fuck ups seriously” before going off and writing something useful, instead of something that would serve no purpose other than to stroke the egos of those who like to fancy themselves as internet terrorists in a secret club.

Anyways it’s 4am, and I don’t know why I stayed up writing about this for so long, but at least I’m tired now.

 

I hope.

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