51 Comments
Jan 22, 2022·edited Jan 22, 2022

miss raynecorp everything you write fills me with a feeling of YES! EXACTLY! and this is no exception it makes me think of the way people will claim to support restorative justice but can’t conceive of the idea that someone deserves basic respect or privacy or compassion even if they, like, say something off-color about neopronouns. I hope someday that when sharing my ideas I can make other people feel the way I do when I read your words.

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yes!!!

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aspiring to write this well and thoughtfully

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incredible writing as always. so perfectly nuanced & reflects a lot of my nebulous thoughts about tiktok & “cancel culture” so so well. really thoughtful piece. thank you!

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One thing that strikes me is how relatively new the idea is of actually holding people accountable. Specifically men. This is a newish thing we're doing and haven't quite made it 10 years (of it being more part of public discourse and action beyond what the justice system does(doesn't do)). And as a society, we haven't really figured it out - how to find a balance between doing nothing at all and everything possible. It was ok to bring this person's behavior into public discourse but we don't yet have any common agreed upon ideas about how do deal with it.

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Well said.

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Jan 23, 2022·edited Jan 23, 2022Liked by rayne fisher-quann

Dope piece! As ever, the respect you offer social media coupled with incisive analysis makes for an unmissable read. Love how you avoided the rabbit holes but still managed to efficiently touch on so many different strands towards the end asw. Only criticism would be the capitalisation of ‘Trojan-Horse’. That threw me off; I was convinced you had a custom keyboard without a shift key.

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Perfectly explained the frustration i had over this trend. Comsuming individual's life because your personal bad memories are triggerred is revengeful and unethical. The system of casual dating needs to improve, and has tons of stuffs to say, but none of the parties involved in this is driven by kind and justice, but attention, clout and an instant high. (Guilty to say that maybe the reason i am following this is to chase the social media high...)

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I definitely agree with this piece! seeing “west elm caleb” unfold feels like watching a black mirror episode about “what if callout-era tumblr was real life” and it is horrifying. the guy seems like a low-to-medium-grade sex pest but a corporate-sponsored humiliation campaign is over the top

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Incidents like this make me feel all "doomer"-y about the current state/spectacle of social media. I absolutely loved this essay for perfectly articulating how capitalism/neoliberal feminism shapes that state/spectacle. You're such a fantastic writer <3

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really loved this piece! your writing is masterful and i look forward to reading more <3

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i’m really happy to see someone intellectual commenting on this because i just had the worst feeling in my stomach about it the whole time. firstly… a public reckoning of this scale never seemed fit for someone who ghosted, even if it was multiple people. second, you’re right! i never even heard that he sent unsolicited nudes. that’s what would be worth calling out. and everyone was enjoying the call out so much, it felt directionless and callous, like totally devoid of meaning or teaching. also one more thing- i had the same thought about the term love bombing, it feels out of place in the context of a couple dates. it implies the cycle of abuse.. which if he’s ghosting, wouldn’t that contradict? but there should be a word for people who are way too affectionate/familiar on the first date bc no doubt they are manipulators, just maybe love bombing isn’t appropriate in that context.

thanks for your take!!! super refreshing❤️

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Have you seen the hollywood film “Strange Days” directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker)? If “you” haven’t it came out in late 90s and speaks of this as its a society that can upload experiences for others to experience. A black market pervades society as crime of all sorts is committed to indulge appetites that seek a kind of sensory fix. I found it interesting because you hi-lighted the seemingly obvious realm of tech oligarchs and how in this (and many dystopian sci-fi stories) they are synonymous with ruthless gangsters that commodify even the most intimate of personal freedoms as taking a shower and basking in the afterglow of who has let you into their heart long after they have discorporated. But I digress.

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This is a great piece, first time reading your stuff and I love the style.

You've sold it to me; this is def a problem. But by the end, I am left wondering - what's your solution? You seem pretty against the idea of attention-based algorithms in general, but (pardon my neoliberal optimism), why wouldn't it be it enough for Tiktok etc just to have stronger content moderation for stuff like this?

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Because Tiktok has been around for years and has not adopted such policies, because cases slip through the gaps, and because this is a problem that happens across social media and within each new form of social media at some point. It's a product of culture, technology is merely the medium. You take Page 6, memes, social media, and a culture of people who've been spending too much time inside with a pandemic who's main point of contact with the outside world is the atomising and isolating experience of dating apps, twitter, facebook and tiktok, and out of that slurry you get this. If anything, part of the issue with moderating around this is the scale-is one person making a video where they misuse language used to describe abuse to describe flirting and "ghosting" something that needs to be taken down-especially if it doesn't contain explicit dox? Probably not. By the point it gets to that, it's already far too late, because people do that once it becomes a meme. It only gets dangerous at a similar point as when it's far too late to stop.

The big impression I got is it could be anyone. As was put in the article, for everyone, there is someone out there that has had a negative experience with them and dislikes them, and everyone has done something wrong-hopefully not unsolicited nudes wrong, but still wrong. It's an uncomfortable feeling to know that anyone can be put under the microscope like this, large corporations participating in this harassment disguised as accountability.

"What's your solution" is a bit of an off response to what amount to cultural criticism. Maybe there isn't an easy solution, and that's why it's so thought provoking and concerning. The answer certainly isn't some "neoliberal optimism" around the rules that tech companies use to attempt to restrain the algorithmic fuel on the fire that is the mob's worst impulses. The last 200 years of human civilization has shown that these considerations are only ever afterthoughts, particularly when the decision is left to profit making enterprises.

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I get where you're coming from, but I can't help wondering if you're being too cynical. Sure, companies have incentives to earn profit, but they also have incentives to look good and keep their user base happy. Better moderation isn't some impossible goal—if Youtube could be pressured into sharing half of it's ad revenue with creators and lose billions, I don't see why employing a few more moderators to stop things like Couch Guy - when they blow up *this* much - will never happen.

Of course moderating something like this is tricky, and there's grey areas, but that isn't to say it's impossible. (esp when clamping down on the most egregious cases of mob vigilantism like west elm Caleb)

I definitely agree with a lot of what you're saying—I doubt e-vigilante culture or shitty companies are going anywhere, but the conclusion you draw - that positive change is impossibe - seems quite extreme.

NB

i get the feeling that we both have very different outlooks on life, which i'm not sure will be changed in a substack comment war. ah well. at least i get to say 'egregious' and feel clever.

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masterful, a piece of writing capable of reopening nuanced conversations around cancel culture and the celebration of schadenfreude spectacle. addressing the missing ceiling of punitive response by suggesting a wave of intimate and more personal consequence is, 🧑‍🍳💋

thanks for the essay!

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your writing is nuanced and beautiful. everything i felt about this whole thing, you put it in the most accurate words, i feel so grateful. i aspire to write like you one day.

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This article was remiss in not mentioning the obvious role of unfettered female hypergamy in this story.

That dozens or even hundreds of females dated this one man over a short time period wasn’t at all notable to you?

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But no, of course, just the standard female diatribe about Chad not committing to me being a patriarchal misogynistic violation of my human rights.

And complaints about “casual dating culture,” but no mention of the legions of men who would prefer a committed relationship but are considered insufficiently attractive to deserve any shred of love or human intimacy by females. The “problem” of “west elm caleb” could be trivially solved if females simply treated the 99.9% of men less physically attractive than “caleb” like human beings and not subhuman pests.

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I'm not sure I agree feminism should be moving towards a smaller circle of influence and radical empathy - we've seen feminism works to reform through mass numbers campaigning on large-scale platforms. However, I agree that feigning romantic interest to get sex does not cut it for a cancel campaign. His unsolicited nudes are a far more concerning behaviour.

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