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How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life -

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the narration is kind of fascinating.


In the early days of Twitter, I was a keen shamer. When newspaper columnists made racist or homophobic statements, I joined the pile-on. Sometimes I led it. The journalist A. A. Gill once wrote a column about shooting a baboon on safari in Tanzania: “I’m told they can be tricky to shoot. They run up trees, hang on for grim life. They die hard, baboons. But not this one. A soft-nosed .357 blew his lungs out.” Gill did the deed because he “wanted to get a sense of what it might be like to kill someone, a stranger.”

I was among the first people to alert social media. (This was because Gill always gave my television documentaries bad reviews, so I tended to keep a vigilant eye on things he could be got for.) Within minutes, it was everywhere. Amid the hundreds of congratulatory messages I received, one stuck out: “Were you a bully at school?”

Still, in those early days, the collective fury felt righteous, powerful and effective. It felt as if hierarchies were being dismantled, as if justice were being democratized. As time passed, though, I watched these shame campaigns multiply, to the point that they targeted not just powerful institutions and public figures but really anyone perceived to have done something offensive. I also began to marvel at the disconnect between the severity of the crime and the gleeful savagery of the punishment. It almost felt as if shamings were now happening for their own sake, as if they were following a script.

Who is Justine?

Remember this?

And on Dec. 20, before the final leg of her trip to Cape Town:

“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

Oh geez I had forgotten that. Geez what an awful thing to tweet. 

I really hated reviving it.  Vile.

Yeah, makes me wonder what's wrong with that woman. 

did you guys read the article.

it had a certain insensitivity, but it was also contextual, and i get the attempt to be sarcastic against her own whiteness.  what's amazing is that such inflection is invisible, despite her stream of other snide self-remarks, since she's not a verified "comedian" (but some of the funniest quips are by non-comedians). what if she put the entire thing in quotes?

nothing is wrong with her.  the internet is wrong with her.

Adam, if one wanted, could he delete all his posts/comments from Pandawhale?

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