This morning, one of the administrators of the George Takei bot on Facebook posted this interesting article about what happens when jackasses and the Internet collide.
 He used to actually post, I’m sure, and was really engaging and clever. Maybe he was always a team of interns with black belts in SEO, I don’t know – but for the past few years he has been steadily sliding into spammy mediocrity, and it’s getting increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that the people in his comments sections are just the worst human beings in the entire world. And yes, I absolutely include myself in that assessment since I still can’t resist wading in sometimes.
Anyway, the gist of the article is:
- A bunch of Melbourne university students existed
- One of them, female, attracted the attention of another, male
- Male discussed female in a private group chat with other male friends
- Chat went (sadly predictably) disgusting
- Aforementioned female was for some unfathomable reason added to the group chat
- Female was quickly removed from group chat, but could still see everything that had been said in the group chat up until that point
- Female screencapped the conversation and posted it online
- Conversation went viral
- Wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued
So. There are probably as many determinations as to at which point this series of events went wrong as there are people to judge it. For example, I think a lot of people would agree that it went wrong somewhere around (4). Certainly I can see how it was upsetting for the unsuspecting girl in question to see the lustful and unpleasant thoughts of men actually written out in text form. Nobody wants that.
I also see a lot of people (both men and women) saying it was really only (7) that turned things ugly, since it was a private chat and people, regardless of their gender, will be dirty (and surely offensive to someone, most particularly the person they’re talking about behind their hands) when talking about attractive members of the opposite and / or same sex, or indeed when talking about anybody. I think there was a scene in the Narnia chronicles where Lucy gets to hear what people are saying about her behind her back, and nobody comes out of it looking good.
But okay, there’s a debate in it, certainly. For my part, I think the guys should absolutely be ashamed of their knuckle-dragging behaviour. It’s really not okay, and even though in this case the biggest deal was that it actually came to light, the case can be made that those sorts of conversations really only serve to reassure the involved parties that it’s fine to talk and think that way. And … it’s not, is it? Sure, it’s not affecting our actions or public behaviour or thoughts / attitudes … only, is that true?
 And shamed for, within reason and with due acknowledgement that this whole thing was pretty much entirely their stupid fault. I’d hesitate to call out the social media firing squad though.
Myself, I generally assume anything I write down in a chat or on social media or anywhere else will eventually be seen, for better or (quite regularly) for worse. It doesn’t necessarily improve my verbal behaviour, but I guess it’s an ongoing process.
 Hah, if only. Of course, in practice basically nothing I write down ever sees the light of day. Such is life.
There also doesn’t seem to be much in the actually screencapped part of the conversation that I would say is bad, depending on how one wishes to take “I’d throw her on that bed”. I mean, were I single and were the girl amenable, I dare say I’d throw her on that bed. I couldn’t really say, it’s outside my jurisdiction.
 And, alright, seventeen years younger. Jesus when did I get so old.
The stuff about taking her to Thailand as a “bike”, I don’t know (but assume it’s some sort of gang-bang jargon), it’s not actually screencapped and is just added into the article text as a further accusation, which naturally makes me suspicious as to whether it was said at all. But by all means, let’s assume it was.
Not okay, guys. Have some respect for your fellow humans and their feelings – if not out of actual evolved sensibility, then out of enlightened self-interest.