I will start by saying that I am not a consistent blogger, in fact I wouldn't call myself a blogger at all. I mostly keep my opinions to myself and discuss them with a selected few over a nice cup of coffee... I review books sometimes. I do it as a hobby, strictly for my own pleasure. That's about it.
I have come across something recently that really disturbed me to that degree that I simply had to sit down and get some things off my chest. I have to highlight something that happens far too often in the 'intellectual' sphere of both authors and readers. Something that could be extremely dangerous if you allow it to gain momentum. This post relates to a short report made by Laura J. Mixon that managed to scoop up a Hugo and much attention with it. The post is non fiction and brings to light some horrifying abuse by the hands of an award nominated author, reader and reviewer by the name of Benjanun Sriduangkaew. See it here.->A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names
I could say that bullying in the reader/reviewer circles isn't a constant thing and that it happens rarely; I could say that authors don't often attack and belittle people that leave a negative review of their work; I could say that individuals that live solely for confrontation don't lurk around on book sites; I could say that there were no instances of cyber bullying spilling out to real life where people have gotten physically hurt. I would be lying on all accounts.
All people using the internet have experienced some form of trolling at one point or another in their lives. They differ in small ways but the end result is pretty much the same – to harass the living shit out of the recipient, sometimes with a specific goal in mind, sometimes for shits and giggles. This is done by individuals comfortable in their anonymity, and with a shitload of personal inadequacies and issues that they simply have to resolve on someone else's hide. Often they will try and disguise their actions as a positive moral stand, or they will aim for that aloof intellectual superiority. Whichever helps their cause at the moment, and lets them sleep better at night.
In forums you can find some established and long active individuals that have managed to form a comfortable circle of like-minded souls around them that allows them a bloated feeling of safety so they forgo anonymity all together, and execute their attacks using pack mentality. Basically they are smart enough to now there will be consequences if they are openly too hostile, and that the mob can easily turn against them at any time, so instead of biting out huge chunks they yap at your heels like a pack of rabid chihuahuas taking little nips as they go along, hoping that either they will tire you out, or bleed you to death - whichever comes first. This happens to be the lowest form of trolling you can encounter as the people involved don't have enough guts to stand proudly as individuals behind their beliefs, statements and actions whatever they may be. Bottom-feeders. Most of these trolls are simple enough to chalk up an imagined victory over the poor bastard they had in their sights soon in the game, usually after scoring a few equally imagined points and that is enough for them to happily piss off to under whatever rock they crawled out of leaving their victim behind without as much as a second glance.
Then you have the special cases. The truly dedicated ones. People who find power and pleasure in torture. I am happy to say I have only dealt with a small number of these, but certain experiences stay with you. They make you a bit wiser, and much more cautious.
You hear about other people's experiences with extreme cases like Kathleen Hale who stalked her reviewer online and came to her house. A very unhinged Richard Brittain came to his reviewers work and cracked her head open with a bottle. Author Andrea Smith wrote an entire novel that mocks a particular person that didn't like her work. She even approached the reviewer under a pen name after an already negative review without disclosing who she was. - Both she denies, please feel free to make up your own mind.
A very real question is this. At what point do you get concerned that you might get more than your feelings hurt?
I thought that I have seen some hate, backstabbing and vitriol in my days but Benjanun Sriduangkaew's actions have chilled me to the core. I have never, NEVER seen a person focus so much hate at another, for the simplest of reasons such as having their own personal taste that differs from her own. What has left me in a state of absolute shock and disgust was the way she described inflicting seriously horrific torture on people for the crimes of being of a certain race or colour, or having a certain sexual orientation or liking a novel by a particular author. I could literally feel the pleasurable haze that surrounded her in those brutal outbursts as she openly fantasizes on throwing acid in someone's face, genital mutilation, dissection and murder. It made me sick to my stomach. SHE makes me sick to my stomach. At certain points I could see that the response to her rants was completely irrelevant to her as her twisted mind gained momentum and the only thing that truly mattered was the verbal vomit of rage, sulfur and gore that spilled out of her mouth. She openly laments the fact that she cannot be there in person to use a scalpel to butcher someone. What in the everloving fuck?
THIS IS NOT FUCKING FUNNY!!! REQUIRES MUCH MUCH THERAPY!!!
Criminal psychology has a very interesting take on such behaviour if anybody wants to look it up. This is a woman that is clearly in a desperate need of some help. She is far beyond a troll, she left Troll Town a long fucking time ago and morphed into something only people with a few doctorates can name with absolute certainty. What is most alarming that this is a woman that was nominated for an award and was elevated in a community that has and promotes interaction with readers. People like me and my friends. This is a woman that has had, and still does many platforms as an author to establish herself and draw people in. And nobody has any fucking clue whom they are dealing with...
I am so tired of people like this, I am tired of abusers that crawl trough the dirt on their bellies to spit venom at anybody who has the misfortune to be around. I am tired of them striking at unsuspecting people aiming particularly for the most vulnerable. I am tired of watching them cry foul when they are discovered. Nothing gives you the right to belittle someone because they have a favourite author or they have enjoyed a story. Nothing gives you the right to throw your weight around because of your sexuality, race or religion. Nothing gives you the right to mock, ridicule and shame a person for being born where they were, having the parents that they do, or live a lifestyle that suits them. The fact that some people get published doesn't mean they own the language, have any intellectual superiority or moral high-ground to lord over people who have no aspirations in that field and are simply happy to be readers.
Benjanun Sriduangkaew supposedly apologized but as far as I have seen is unrepentant. She doesn't address any of her actual victims, rather generalizes the entire thing, placing the blame on someone else, her younger self, her poor poor life, and she is the massive victim of it all and everybody is cruel for not believing her. What Laura J. Mixon did took guts. What other people did to support her took a lot of guts also. This story could have been turned in a completely different way if in fact there wasn't documented evidence of incredible viciousness, cruelty and disturbing elements that came from Benjanun Sriduangkaew herself. There is a line that once crossed, is simply irreversible. I think that people are simply freaked out. The one that doesn't look quite right as children play comes to mind. There has been far too much twisted threats, far to much enjoyment in torture in her actions for people to feel relaxed around her, but that is entirely her fault. If her career is in the shitter, she only has to look into the mirror if she wants someone to blame. I will do my best to warn my friends, and signal boost Mixon and her report. There shouldn't be a place for people like RequiresHate in places where she can hurt other people. You shouldn't be a target because of your hobby. Fuck this.