Monday, January 21, 2008

Don't all y'all have mamas?

Friend of the blog FranIAm had a post last week about the level of anger in political discussions here on the internet. Along similar lines, I'd like to discuss the level of civil discourse here on the 'Net, though not about politics.

This is Alice the Snorg Girl. She may be the very definition of Internet Famous. A company called Snorg Tees advertises their tee shirts with funny slogans on many websites. Alice, a 19 year old co-ed from Georgia, is their main model. She doesn't model for anybody else. Snorg apparently pays her in tee shirts, so she isn't Internet Rich or any other kind of rich. She has had other modeling offers, but being a level headed young woman, she checks them out beforehand, and none of them appear to be above board.

Here's my opinion about Alice the Snorg Girl. She is adorable. She is cute the way 19 year old co-eds are supposed to be cute. In nearly every picture, she is smiling or laughing, and her enjoyment looks genuine. This picture, with the "We're Going Streaking" slogan and her looking like she's about to take the tee shirt off, is the closest thing to Not Suitable For Work off all the Snorg ads, and you have to be a prudish person to think this is objectionable. I'd say that Alice has "Girl Next Door" looks, but that phrase has been appropriated by Playboy, who thinks the over-inflated and over made up blondes they get to pose nude are "Girls Next Door".

Mine is not the only opinion about Alice the Snorg Girl. Snorg Tee Shirt ads appeared on the website Wonkette, a snarky satirical place that skewers all of Washington D.C. Some people are vicious about attacks on Alice the Snorg Girl. They say she's too fat or that her teeth are funny or other specific complaints about her appearance. Others think she's pretty, as do I, but can't control their opinions there. Fantasies of a disgusting nature about what the commenter wants to do with the Snorg Girl and what other people and/or appliances will be involved in the act are also disappointingly common. Wonkette even went so far to threaten to ban people who had "Snorg Girl" in their comments.

As friend of the blog DistributorCap wrote in the comments here a few weeks back, ours is a "community without faces". The faceless aspect for some means they think it is a community without consequences. They write stuff they would never say to someone's face, or at least I hope they would never say it to someone's face. I don't find it's a big problem among the commenters here, with the exception possibly of the roving troll, but there is certainly a lack of manners on the Internet is some circles, and it's not hard to find those circles if you wander very far.

I don't know how to strike a blow for civility in this case, but I think the sentence "Don't all y'all have mamas?" should be the standard way to request that things calm down a tick or two.

Just sayin'.

Now playing: Etta James - Tell Mama


dguzman said...

Amen, bruthah. As wonderful as this series of tubes that we call the Interwebs is, some people seem to lose their senses of decency and humanity while spinning around the interwebs.

FranIAm said...

Man Matty- you got the words o' wisdom up in heah.

You know, I found something similar was true when I was in the corporate world... People - people who actually did know other people- would say crap in email that they would never say in a meeting or face to face.

This is the same thing, but exponentially worse because of the faceless aspect.

There is such a simmering undercurrent of anger in the world. I am aware of it in myself, but through various practices, the greatest being my faith, I work to temper that.

And I am not always successful. However I do have the components of awareness and desire, let's hope that counts for something.

It saddens and scares me to hear of how that simmering- hell near boiling, current is at work with this young woman. What are we becoming? What have we already become?

Great post Matty. Thank you.

Matty Boy said...

I learned the "wait before responding" rule to e-mails many years ago. It's easy to let emotions go crazy. I got myself worked up about stuff and a day later, even I couldn't exactly figure out what made me so upset that I wrote what I did.

Lots of people are learning that lesson over and over again around the InterTubes.

CDP said...

Very nice post, and you also touch on something else that bothers me right now, which is the relentless scrutiny and criticism of every aspect of appearance, particularly that of young women. She's adorable, end of story.

Matty Boy said...

I agree, CDP. There's a lyric in a song by Pink from a few years back.

Tired of being compared to damn Britney Spears,
She's so pretty, but that just ain't me.

Now of course, Pink has done a pretty good job of keeping herself out of the tabloid headlines, while Britney... amazingly sad fall.

sfmike said...

She's darling, and partly because she looks like a real person with a few extra pounds and non-perfect orthodontics. And just about all 19year olds are essentially physically beautiful, they just don't know it until they look at their own photos thirty years later and wonder why they were insecure.

Anonymous said...

A few extra pounds? What are you talking about? You think they should all look like emaciated runway models? I only wish I knew someone like her when I was 19.