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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

I have a packed work day, so very little commentary here on this article in which a man’s Facebook account was used to ‘build a picture’ of him. It notes his discussions of drinking, and his joining the group ‘I secretly want to punch slow walking people in the back of the head’ – now, I know that punching people is never a good idea, but I toyed with joining that group, NOT because I have ever or would ever (unless in self defence) punch someone, OR because slow walking people annoy me (ok, people who dither in Coles blocking your path cos they’ve wedged themselves next to one of those big shelf stacking trolleys while they debate breakfast cereal cause me some mild annoyance when I want to be out the door and back home in a hurry, but only enough for me to press my lips togther and wait, or to say ‘Excuse me’) but  just because it made me laugh since who punches someone in the *back* of the head?

I don’t believe for a second that all the people who joined do punch people in the back of the head, or condone that in real life. Unfortunately some may, but I know friends who have joined it who joined it for a dumb laugh, not because it signifies that violence is a part of their world view. It is for instance, a source of real mirth for my sisters to say to one another ‘I’m gonna punch you in the ovary’ – and if there was a group to that effect, they’d join and I don’t feel that there’s any risk of that eventuating. I also don’t for instance think that everyone who joined the group ‘Why yes, I DO frequently burst into song’ actually does. Nor do I think that those who joined ‘Where the hell are all my bobby pins’ actually expect Facebook to solve that dilemma, or feel that missing bobby pins define their life – it’s just that it’s vaguely amusing to them.

Anyway, it sounds like this guy was kind of aggro, and I don’t doubt that his drinking and tendancy towards manly dickswinging influenced his behaviour – it’s just that the concept of scouring Facebook for his groups as well as his updates seems both wrong and silly. Silly because what the fuck do the conjunction of his two groups, the punching slow moving people group and the “God created Police s0 Firefighters could have heroes” group actually tell us? Really? That he’s a little pumped up on macho? Like we couldn’t have figured that out from him jabbing the guy in the eye?

Wrong because what sort of precedent does it set? What sorts of not-quite-right pictures could be built by the savvy lawyer in piecing together a person’s Facebook existence? Irony can be erased or glossed over, links made where there were none. Many people join groups rather indiscriminately, since it’s only really Facebook, it’s only really a form of entertainment/social networking, people are not necessarily weighing up the whole ‘Hmm, what picture does this paint of my life were I to stand trial for something’, and then there’s the other side, that it would be exceptionally easy to create the shiny happy account as evidence to support you if you *were* planning to do something wrong.

Also, what happens when it’s a rape case? When the defence lawyer starts piecing together the victims ‘secret life’? “Well your honour, I draw attention to the rather…racy pictures Ms ___ has posted on her Superwall over the last two years. If you combine this with the excessive number of *drinks* she has sent out, and the many references to drunken behaviour in public bars…well your honour, I think we are starting to get a picture of the kind of woman who has accused my client!'”.
Ok, I’ve really got to knuckle down to work, but before I do – *RANT* –
In another case, Saftwat Abdel-Hady was not so lucky.
Poor rapist, he had some ‘bad luck’ with technology. In this instance, pictures and texts on the mobile combined with other evidence to paint a picture of what had happened that night. Rather than a ‘let’s see what sort of person this person is by examination of what games they play on Facebook’ this was ‘what was going on that night’. I still have reservations in some of this, and need to think that through, but it is not an equivalent situation in any event.
But what really shat me was ‘not so lucky’. No Sattwat Abdel-Hady is a rapist, and there was some digital evidence to verify this. It wasn’t *bad luck* and furthermore, ‘was not so lucky’ makes it sound like you’re trying to evoke my sympathy, like ‘Poor bastard, his cat got run over, he’s shit out of luck’.
Also, the headline…throws book at digital navel gazers? Yeah, that’s what’s happening, not Big Brother access to information being manipulated by lawyers. Fuck.
Grr. Anyway. Off to work

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