[Air-l] vampirefreaks et al

Sabryna Cornish cornish at uiuc.edu
Thu Sep 14 15:12:36 PDT 2006

Hi Jonathan--

I don't know the answer to your question, but I did find your story fascinating in a different respect. I think perhaps the scariest part of your conversation with the reporter for me is the fact that he seemed to already have made up his mind that it was the web site that had a large part in the resulting action. I am currently looking at how mass media portrayed the internet when it first came out and then plan on expanding to see if certain reporters who covered technology/the Internet at the time were biased in their coverage. Your comments here indicate that perhaps I might be on to something:-)...


---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 17:00:55 -0400
>From: Jonathan Sterne <jonathan.sterne at mcgill.ca>  
>Subject: Re: [Air-l] vampirefreaks et al  
>To: <air-l at listserv.aoir.org>
>Hi All,
>I've been on the phone with reporters on and off today and am struggling a
>bit with the whole event.  Mostly, the questions are about the "impacts" of
>various technologies, to which I respond that the technology with the most
>impact yesterday was a gun.
>But I just had a long back and forth with a reporter from the National Post
>who was saying "the guy had this website, why didn't anybody do anything?"
>I tried to explain the subtleties of goth subculture, darkness and all that
>to no avail.  The old "most of the people on this website never do anything"
>argument wasn't washing either.  My line was that the responsible people for
>doing something were the people close to the shooter, whether they be online
>or offline friends.  The reporter then turned it back on me and asked
>whether that wasn't simply dismissing online communication as a serious
>Sooooo, I'm turning the question around to you: at what point do people have
>a responsibility to "intervene" in something they see online and if that
>point comes, what form should their reaction take?
>I write this noting that there was just a big report (I think I saw this in
>the paper a day or two ago) by the Canadian anti-defamation league about the
>proliferation of hate websites and governments being unable to regulate
>Jonathan Sterne
>Department of Art History and Communication Studies
>McGill University
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Sabryna Cornish
Ph.D. candidate, ABD
Institute of Communications Research

Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.
–Robert Louis Stevenson

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