The only explanation that makes sense to me is misogyny

Let’s consider two morally problematic actions:

1. Surreptitiously taking photographs of women, or stealing them from the women’s Facebook pages, and posting them on a forum with the explicit intent of having you and your buddies leer at said women.

2. Unmasking the identity of a person who participates in a forum pseudonymously, against that person’s wishes.

The last few days, since a reporter at Gawker did action (2) to the moderator of a forum dedicated to (1), I have been trying to imagine a reasonable system of ethics under which (1) is acceptable but (2) is not. Indeed, I can’t even come up with a reasonable argument why (2) is worse than (1). Or an explanation, other than misogyny, why a person would think (2) is worse than (1).

Nevertheless, the reaction of much of the Reddit user community has been anger at Gawker for the unmasking, and solidarity with the moderator of a forum titled “Creepshots”.

Personally, I’m inclined to agree with Scott Lemieux: while outing pseudonymous people online is generally a bad thing, this case is probably a reasonable exception.

Also, one of the most stunning revelations in the Gawker story, in my mind, is the relationship between Reddit’s administrators and the guy who was running the “Creepshots” forum.

But Violentacrez has historically had a close relationship with Reddit’s staff, a fact far less well-known than his controversial behavior. [. . .] A few years ago, while Jailbait [a forum dedicated to leering a photos of teenage girls] was still going strong, Reddit’s administrators gave him a special one-of-a-kind “pimp hat” badge to honor his contributions to the site, which he proudly displayed on his profile. Brutsch said he was even in the final running for a job as a customer support representative at Reddit last year.

This is beyond the laissez-faire “we let people post whatever legal content they want” attitude. Seriously, if someone you know runs a forum dedicated to leering at teenage girls, or leering over photos of women taken surreptitiously, you don’t give that person an award. You shun them.

How can this be for real?

Someone tried to leave this comment on my blog:

Aug 21st 2012 – Interior decoration is a matter of pleasure or stress, depending on how you look at it. This technology is brand new and has only been around for the past 6 months. The flight is scheduled according to the needs of the passenger at his or her own pace complete with any stops or side-trips that may be requested. How can this be for real? Something is going wrong. It is 2012, and this is the United States of America

Does that make any sense? Not really. I posted it because I found it particularly amusing. This was, indeed, the 167th spam comment I’ve received. (In the URL field was the address for some site selling cheap handbags.) Something is going wrong, at least for this commenter. It is 2012, this is the United States of America, and I moderate my comments, bozo!

socialized pot

A few months ago, I made a half-joking post about the government monopoly on the retail sale of liquor in many states, including my native Oregon, calling it “socialized booze”. Part of the point of that post is that I am tired of people calling things (like certain recent laws to improve health care) “socialism” that don’t involve public or government ownership of capital. When people misuse the word “socialism” to mean “government subsidy or social welfare program”, I have an urge to hit them over the head with a political science textbook.

Anyway, if you think socialized booze is weird, wait until you learn about socialized pot. This fall, Oregonians will vote on a ballot measure to legalize marijuana. But this measure wouldn’t just legalize marijuana, but set up a system where the state government would buy pot from growers and sell it to consumers at state stores.

Mind you, I don’t have a strong opinion on this measure, and as I don’t live in Oregon anymore I don’t need to decide how vote on it. I am sympathetic to legalizing marijuana and to changing our drug laws generally. But I’m not quite sure of the wisdom of having the government in the pot-selling business. (Or the booze-selling business, for that matter.)