Jesus Fucking Christ

Anonymous is legion. Anonymous never forgives. And now, apparently, Anonymous has made it into the mainstream.

[Title image snipped and hidden below the fold at end of post]

On July 9th, Time Magazine's Lev Grossman did an exposé on 20 year old college student moot, the founder of 4chan. What is 4chan, you ask?

You may not realize it, but 4chan has probably touched your life. Possibly inappropriately. 4chan is unusual in several ways. It's extremely large and active; it gets 8.5 million page views a day and 3.3 million visitors a month. Since moot started it in 2003, those visitors have put up 145 million posts. By some metrics, 4chan is the fourth largest bulletin board on the Net.

moot founded 4chan when he was 15 as a space where he and his friends could talk about manga and anime; it's based on a popular Japanese site called 2channel. Like 2channel, 4chan is an imageboard: you're supposed to post pictures—snapshots, found images, original artwork, altered or defaced photos—rather than words. 4chan is divided into 43 different boards, ranging from video games to origami to food to "random." The most popular board on 4chan, by far, is random.

There are few rules on 4chan. Child pornography is off limits, but not much else is. Unlike most boards, 4chan doesn't require posters to register, which means they can post anonymously, which leads to a lot of uninhibited behavior. If you're looking for obscenity, blasphemy, homophobia, misogyny and racial insults, you don't have to dig too deep. [...]

Like a lot of unsanitary places, 4chan is gloriously fertile. What grows there is memes—ideas and jokes and fads that spread across the Net. [...]

Coarse as it is, 4chan has no rival as a hothouse for memes; they're bred and refined, and then they can escape and run amuck through the culture at large. For better or for worse, this is what the counterculture looks like today: raw, sarcastic, bare of any social or political agenda but frequently funny as hell.

Then, this month's Maxim did a four page piece ([1][2][3][4]) on Anonymous' battle with Scientology, a more beautiful and appropriate gutter death match no greater than which can be conceived. It seems that terrorizing those who belittle your religion-cum-multi-level-marketing-cum-pyramid scheme with the threat of a defamation lawsuit doesn't work very well when your intended targets are anonymous.

And now, lo and behold, the paper of record has decided to grace /b/ with its coverage in an in depth 10 page magazine piece.

The Grey Lady rightly characterizes /b/tards - the denizens of /b/, 4chan's random and most trafficked board - as classic internet trolls, who exist for the sole purpose of ruining other people's days, provoking them through rude and offensive practical jokes, and savoring the sweet, sweet schadenfreude that inevitably insues.

But, surprisingly, 4chan also demonstrates that trolling is a form of creative destruction for culture. Its inherent cynicism is often taken to ridiculous extremes, but in the process this cynicism acts as a universal acid, forcing us to stop taking our collective sacred cows too seriously, or at least be willing to examine them with a bit more skepticism, if not full out adopting the cynical position.

Through the destruction - the endless molesting, raping, and lynching of sacred cows, comes the creation of new cultural memes, new forms of humor, call backs, and cultural touchstones, many of which originated in /b/, but spread to the rest of Internet, and beyond: lolcats, Rickrolling, Goatse, 2girls1cup, to name a few.

Humor is essentially a cleanser of culture, culling the stale shibboleths of the previous generation and replacing them anew. This has typically been the role of the court jester, the class clown, the professional stand up comedian, all of whom are typically given special dispensation to discuss those touchy subjects that we couldn't get away with talking about in other contexts.

Now, with the power of these Intertubes, anyone and everyone can participate in destructively creative humor and cultural production, anonymously.

/inb4 Post Tits or GTFO

Edit: OP here, HAHAHA DISREGARD THAT, I SUCK COCKS.

Catallarchy: Moving stuff that could potentially be construed as gay porn below the fold so you don't get fired since 2003.

[Author's note: I didn't move this below the fold; one of my co-bloggers did. If your boss construes this image as gay porn and fires you, you shouldn't have been working for that giant douche in the first place. Take this as performance art career advice.]

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