Sunday, February 18, 2007

postal scrotum: Charles on cyber-mobs

Charles writes in response to the previous post:

Fascinating post on suicide and anti-semitism. I don't have much to add on the subject, but I will say that Korea's online mobs are evil. That's what I will call them--mobs. "Vigilante" implies, at least on some level, that there is justice being done, and these mobs are nothing about justice. Even the term "warrior" has an undertone of honor and bravery, and I refuse to ascribe these attributes to cowards who hide behind the mask of anonymity to tear down others. No, they are mobs, 폭도 [p'ok-do] plain and simple.

Or perhaps it is not so plain and simple. Mobs often form spontaneously, as people get caught up in the moment and act without considering the consequences of their actions. The Korean online mobs draw power and courage from numbers, just like any other mob, but their attacks are cruel and calculated. And they know exactly what effect they are having on their targets. They work within the Korean system of interconnectedness to achieve their goals. And what are their goals? To destroy an individual's social ego. And in a society where the social ego makes up the better part of one's identity, this is the equivalent of psychological murder. Actual physical death is no doubt an unintended side effect, but the mobs are well aware that their actions could lead to that. And still they persist.

I believe there is a special plane of Hell reserved for those who delight in destroying others without ever taking individual responsibility for their actions. There they will be stripped naked before their peers and tortured and humiliated in the most horrific ways imaginable.

I realize that the mob mentality, the internet mentality, and suicide are complex issue that are not going to be resolved in a few paragraphs. What I wrote above was more an expression of frustration and anger than a properly conceived theory. But I think we agree that these online mobs are worthy of nothing but contempt.

Hmm. Didn't expect to get so worked up about that.



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