Thursday, August 27, 2015
Washington Post essay hits the idea of quick Internet fame as motivating some psychopathic violence
A front page essay in the Washington Post by Joel Achenbach, “An attack tailored for the Twitter age,” (online “Killer’s ultimate selfie: Roanoke selfie becoming the new norm”) link here , lays out a troubling motivation for some people in an age where gatekeepers to user content have disappeared: becoming famous.
Before the Internet, and the growth of “permissive” social media, no one could have expected this kind of instant “fame”, he says. It's hard to achieve "legitimate" fame without "competing" for it, the underlying idea is. But that leads to obsession with short term results and obsession with numbers games. To the best of my current knowledge, no one who has perpetrated an event like this has ever mentioned my own books or sites (self-published) in some hidden manifesto, but I wonder if I would be contacted if someone ever does.
That claim may not be leaning correctly. The Virginia Tech shooter also sent a similar “manifesto” to news but did not post images or videos on line, and neither did any of the other major shooters, who are easily enough “remembered” for their evil acts, one sentenced only yesterday in Colorado.
Still, the tone of the essay is disturbing, as is a related Post story on the New York Daily News’s tweet of its intended front page – but that was for newsstand print.
But, no question, this incident hit the journalism profession (which I cannot quite claim to have attained, yet) between the eyes. Another Post story reports that the two morning hosts on WDBJ7 in Roanoke VA (story) were the seventh and eight killed in the US since 1992 doing their jobs.