Friday, July 27, 2007

Goatse is a Hoax and Other Internet Disinformation

I had originally planned to do another article about a strange Internet phenomenon called Goatse. To cool Internet people, goatse is yesterday’s news. Me? Never heard of it. Luckily, a person can google just about anything. I quickly learned more than I’ll ever need or want to know about this most disgusting, revolting, sophomoric, cannot look away online experience, otherwise known as goatse.

For those with weak stomachs or traditionally strong moral values, please stop reading this article. In the end, you will be incredibly offended and/or sickened, and I will feel quite guilty for offending and/or sickening you. For everyone’s sake, surf away. Surf away and never look back.

Still here? Think you can take it? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Anyway, as I tried to say earlier, this article is no longer about a strange virtual reality phenomenon. Not that goatse, or its gerund form, goatsing, are anything but strange. No, no, no. Just the opposite. To be polite, I will call it the stretching of a private body part not meant to be stretched, leaving it so distorted and disgusting, and the front part of the body so revolting and distended…well…I’m not going to belabor this…

Click here if you have nerves of steel and want to be goatsed.

Apparently, the phenomenon became so huge the image disappeared from the original goatse site. I think someone complained. The poor thing is now up for sale. Isn’t that always the case? Just when the party gets rolling, cops show up and it’s time to go home. Luckily, someone else picked up the banner. Otherwise, those who thought they had nerves of steel would not be uncomfortably writhing in their seats.

Two days ago, as I began searching for blogging communities, I happened upon a story on Digg.com that had been dug by more than 2,000 people (now over 3,600). That’s a significant amount. Naturally, I wanted to know what the fuss was about. I checked out the story.

Some person from beginnorth.com claimed the candidates on the CNN YouTube Democratic Debate got goatsed for about 1/24 of a second. When people start talking about images projected for fractions of seconds, I can’t help but visualize SNL’s Mr. Subliminal. Kevin Nealon certainly had a way with split seconds.

According to beginnorth's article, the goatse image caused Hillary's face to sour. I didn’t have a chance to watch the debates, so I don't know whether Hill pussed or not. It sounded a little odd that something so split second actually produced a reaction, but I guess it's been known to happen. Beginnorth cleverly uploaded an image with goatse on CNN's screen, and asked other bloggers to confirm the goatse. Some did. One was a CBS affiliate in Minot, North Dakota.

What great fodder for my blog, I thought, but couldn’t find any more stories. I spent the next two days tooling around my site and joining communities. Goatse landed on the back burner for later development.

Lo and behold, when I finally returned, the goatse story was buried. Basically, people crushed it into the ground, stomping it like a cigarette, and grinding it into a pulp. Bloggers were angry. Why?

Well, goatse was a hoax. Kindy catchy. Goatse was a hoax that had no blokes. Its friend had a yen to create dead ends. Its deal made me squeal….oh….never mind.

Not only was the whole story a hoax, but its creator later transferred the story to their blog. What I mean is, the original Digg story was not on the person’s blog. I know this because I viewed it myself. The story appeared all by itself on a white page with no links. That alone was a little weird, but newbie me didn’t catch it. Two days later, the story was on the person’s blog on a black page. That blog contains this introduction:

“[Strange blog that no self-respecting blogger will ever read again] is a new blog that is part artistic experiment and part haven for the surreal side of our world. There will be articles, fake and real, but the glue that holds the blog together are the [pun on blog name] that make it up. A detail is simply a bizarre twist on reality. It can be a story or a picture. Fake or real. Funny or scary. Anything.”

Excuse me? Anything? Fake and real? How are people supposed to know the difference? Why don’t we all just close our eyes and dream the news? I hear lucid dreaming is the new black.

Graphics whore rode in on a white horse to defend bizarro blogger’s honor. Calling people sheeple, the person said everyone should have read the front page disclaimer before treating the story as a true news item.

"To me," posted grphxo, "the really provocative parts of this article are not within the article itself, but are the astoundingly clear examples of terrifying human behavior. The fact that many people (even though they watched the entire debate live and never saw the goatse image) believed it to be true. They took their own experience, their own FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE of the event and toss it out, substituting an internet claim for their own reality, swallowing the fake with ease. Some even claimed “I thought I saw something!” to cover the possibility that they might have missed it."

Problem is, the original story was not on bizarro’s blog. Whoops. Minor detail.

Like I said before, the Internet is turning our society into phishers and byters. One cannot necessarily believe what one reads on the Internet. Some disinformation is accidental, and some, as seen here, is unfortunately intentional. Bloggers have a duty to check out all the facts before posting an article. The new media must take its cues from old media. Fact checking is a basic tenet of journalism. Bloggers must have integrity. If the facts don’t check out, then say it’s alleged. Don’t just copy a bizarro blog item and publish it as your own.

For those who are disappointed this wasn’t an article about goatse on CNN, I have a surprise for you. Again, big disclaimer. This time run, do not walk to your nearest exit.

Do not look at this image if you were the least bit offended or sickened by goatse!

There. I wipe my hands of it.

Click to see Spewed Videos du Jour.

1 comments:

Ben said...

Hey Cheryl, greetings from the author of [Strange blog that no self-respecting blogger will ever read again] blog, more commonly referred to as Detales.

It sincerely troubles me to know that someone as sensitive and intelligent as yourself would take so much insult to my blog. Indeed, the mere fact that you took so much time out of your personal life to write such a detailed response to my article makes me feel guilty and ashamed.

I simply want you to know that it was never my intention to offend anyone or cause the controversy that I did. I admit it was foolish writing a story that could have so much impact without taking into account the consequences that could come with it.

However, I suppose that I can not try to feign innocence and hope for the best - it was wreckless and dangerous and I acknowledge that. But please understand that I was incarcerated for the past 6 years in an Ohio State Penetentiary and I have not yet been able to readjust to society as fully as I wished to. This whole blogging thing in fact is radically unfamiliar with me and the etiquette has somewhat eluded me.

I know what you're thinking - you probably think I'm some criminal or psychopath but I beg you not to pass judgements. I served my time for 3 accounts of child molestation and underwent extensive psychotherapy in order to be readmitted into society. This blog has been a way for me to keep busy and keep my mind off of the deviant desires that I am afflicted with. And maybe this can shed some light on why I was so compelled to publicize the Goatse image to a large audience - it's a constant struggle for me and sometimes I don't think right.

Also, I want to clarify: the reason that at one point the blog loaded smoothly and at another point the blog appeared to be against a white background is because the sudden traffic spike in getting so many diggs caused my server to overload and crash. I was not trying to mislead anyone.

But to conclude, I just want you to know that ultimately I love you for taking the time to write feedback and that I consider everybody's opinions with great care and consideration. Everyday is a struggle to overcome my previously destructive and ultimately damning lifestyle of molesting children and this blog is the only thing I have that keeps me sane. So please... don't take that away from me. I'm afraid of the consequences that might result from me losing my only hobby.

Once again, I appreciate your response and hope that we can possibly collaborate and start a friendship in the future as two bloggers who want to make a difference.

Love,
~Detales

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