Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Classics Professor Battles Internet Attacks

Sad but true--

Mary Beard, Classics Professor, Battles Internet Attacks - " . . . But little could have prepared her for the furor she faced after she appeared on a weekly BBC debate show last month and, while discussing immigration, expressed the unpopular view that Britain’s social services would not be overburdened when restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian movement around Europe are lifted next year. Her remarks, made on Jan. 17, unleashed a torrent of vicious, crude and personal online attacks, many targeting her unadorned style and her long, unkempt gray hair. Anonymous attackers also superimposed a picture of her face on a pornographic image. But rather than retire to her fainting couch (it is in her Newnham office, should she need it), or accept what happened as the cost of being a public figure in the Internet age, Ms. Beard decided to fight back. Adopting what she said was a “high-risk strategy,” Ms. Beard reproduced on her blog some of the most unsavory remarks and the mocked-up image, which she has since removed. “I wanted people to see how bad it is,” she said in an interview at Cambridge’s Newnham College, which she attended and where she has taught for nearly 30 years. “You never know what it’s like, because no mainstream paper will print it, nobody on the radio will let you say it, and so it came to look as if I was worried that they said I hadn’t done my hair. “What was said was pornographic, violent, sexist, misogynist and also frightfully silly,” she said. The comments would prove fatal for Don’t Start Me Off, an off-color online forum that became a bulletin board for her worst abusers. The site was eventually shuttered by its moderator, Richard White, who, in an about-face unexpected from an online provocateur, sent Ms. Beard a lengthy apology. . . ."

Best tactic is to usually ignore trolls--they are desperate for attention--don't give it to them. Just ignore them.

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