Tuesday, March 26, 2013

After Dark, March 26, 2013

Tell Me a Story
Sharing is part of theatre
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Anderson Cooper mentioned something like, "The hashtag 'rape' on Twitter is astonishing." I was half-listening to a pious discussion of the Steubenville rape and decided to check out Twitter to see what real people were saying. This can be an unpleasant and delightful thing to do, but it was late night and my book was boring me.

I knew that #rape has been, for a while after the Steubenville sentencing, the purview of the shitheads who decided that the rape victim deserved it because she had gotten pissed yadda yadda yadda. But immediately after Cooper had spoken, another angry group took over the hashtag: those who wanted the hides of the two rapists. In the middle of this arrived one stupid youngster: a West Virginia highschool wrestling champ I'll call just Duane C. He made a "joke" about keeping his girlfriend in line by hitting her and tweeted a picture of a young woman with a black eye. The Twittersphere subsequently became like the wild west. Duane C., who may have been thinking he was like one of those comics who tests the limits, pushed on and, yes, found his supporters and, needless to say, his detractors.

"That would make a great fucking play!"

Then something quite astounding happened and I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it. A large band of soi-disant hackers began to threaten young Duane but hidden amongst them was one that IS the real item (I Googled his handle)...this was no joke. What did Duane do? He egged on these people with uglier and uglier jokes. The star hacker mentioned Duane's nice iPhone. Duane reposted with something like, "Idiot, I have a Razr." Even I knew the significance of this information.

Then the hacker tweeted a traffic ticket. On it was the wrestler's name, the make of his mother's car, the license plate number etc. Duane got a little quieter. Then Duane was invited to check his Facebook page (with a link for the rest of us). It no longer existed. Duane disappeared from the Twitter discussion. The next day, I did a search for his handle and his Twitter account, too, had disappeared. Some of the other hackers crowed and promised to keep an eye on the Twittersphere should Duane return.

Tangent: a young woman on Twitter had said she found Duane's tweets funny, for a while she also became a target of the hackers who - as a group - warned her to shut up or else. She panicked, begged forgiveness and told Duane, "I am out of here!"

It may have been the best drama I had seen in months and I thought, "That would make a great fucking play!"

Then this: 

I was listening to Marc Maron's podcast, WTF, and an interview with Lynn Shawcroft. Shawcroft is Canadian, a standup comic and she was married to the iconic (and hilarious) Mitch Hedberg who died of an overdose at 37. Shawcroft, also a drug addict at the time, was with him. Imagine that last night: two standup comics on a bender that has an inevitable conclusion. Imagine the play it would make.

My point is that - one way or another (let's say Facebook) - we must share these stories with creative people. In our stories - in our lives - sometimes there are elements that speak to many, many more people than those few at our dinner tables. There are themes - like "clever" Duane facing the torches and pitchforks of our common nightmares or the madness of couplehood like Hedberg's and Shawcroft's - that are enduring. 

These stories must be offered. 

At the very least, they make for very good over-coffee tales.

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