Part 1-Lulz from Anons
Anonymous is the go to collective of hackers for media outlets that want to drum up fear for internet freedom. The weapon of choice for Anonymous is a distributed denial of service attack, also known as DDoS. DDoS works by overloading a web server to the point where it can no longer function for a few hours. Nothing about it is very threatening in reality.
I’m writing this in a public library, sick with paranoia that these preteens around me are Anons. They look like Anons. In Anonspeak an Anon is a member of Anonymous. Anons will deny they are a member of anything. This is just the base of the inside-out pyramid of contradictions that form the body of Anonymous ideology.
Anons are far above the lowly label of group. Anonymous prefers the self-gratifying label of ‘hyper-consciousness.’ In truth, most Anons are a collection of sub-conscious slaves, sucked in by ingenious propaganda. Anonymous might be the latest development in bot net technology. A bot net is kind of like a large bank of computers that can be drawn upon for a DDoS attack. Hackers used to have to write computer viruses to create a bot net. Anonymous is like a bot net that is spread and maintained by viral ideology.
Anonymous is easy to get sucked into. I became obsessed myself. I don’t blame these kids for wanting to be activists, I understand that. Defiance is the appeal. Yet it doesn’t take a lot of insight to see that the true feature of an Anon is not activism or defiance. It is submission.
I’m an expert troll with over a decade of experience. In AnonSpeak a troll is a highly honorable position of power. A troll disconnects himself from all preconceived notions and creates a narrative that is designed to outrage others. Trolls feed off of lulz. Derived from the older acronym LOL, which means laughing out loud, lulz has a deeper connotation of self-satisfaction. I wrote a masterful opinion piece, every detail designed to outrage Anonymous and challenge as many of their ideologies as possible. I published it to AnonNews and traffic to my web site increased 50-fold overnight. It was cake. In AnonSpeak, cake is something that was just too damned easy.
If only I could have dropped it there. There were too many lulz to be had, too much cake for the eating. I had drawn myself into their twisted virtual world.
My magnum opus of trolling art rocketed to the top of the list of least popular stories on AnonNews. The piece was entitled “Why Anonymous is completely irrelevant.” Among other things, I criticized AnonNews for putting up advertisements and using PayPal to take donations. Within a day, the ads were down. AnonNews began to accept donations through a different service, too. The commentary on AnonNews was the most delicious kind of troll food. They were “butthurt” to say the least. The lulz were more addictive than any drug I have ever taken. There was too much troll food for any single troll to eat. Some began eating the scraps, even adopting my pseudonym ‘Kilgore Trout’ when it suited them.
This public library computer lab is the type of place that Anons would congregate, in my imagination. There are the furtive whispers of children, defective fluorescent lights. The lightly clattering keys and snapping mice beat out a modern tribal rhythm that seems to be somehow perfectly in step with the disorganized light show. Insane thoughts have been planted in their heads, silently manipulating the vacillating children subjects into organized action.
I played my ego, speaking of my many talents and the cake that influence over them was. I even issued a press release to warn Anonymous how easy they were to hijack while taking credit for doing so. I was the lord king glutton of trolls, overfed and over read. I’ll even share my favorite piece of troll food. Some anon rightly accused me of pilfering from Vonnegut, and said that I did not live up to the name of Kilgore Trout. I still go into uncontrollable fits of laughter at the idea of not living up to Vonnegut’s alter ego, his exercise in brutal self deprecation.
I didn’t sleep, I missed work. When I did work I would break into hysterics, unable to stop laughing about how much power I had over these morons. It had all started out as a joke, but I could sense my influence, it was something tangible. I changed from a being of flesh and blood into a virtual body comprised of nothing but lulz. Every affectation and trait that defined the super hero “hyperconsciousness” these children had built their cult around invaded my being. I had become their own hideous reflection.
Part 3-Westboro Baptist
Westboro Baptist is a cult run by Fred Phelps that uses strategies similar to trolling so that it can sustain itself. They go to soldiers’ funerals and call everyone there a bunch of fag lovers. When the fists fly, they profit. Anonymous posted a press release promising DDoS attacks on the activists at Westboro Baptist shortly after my influence had risen. Westboro Baptist responded by posting their own press release on AnonNews. It said quite simply, “bring it on.”
I went on the warpath. These were my lulz, not Fred Phelps’. I was in charge here, not some shitty church. I began to meddle with these children’s minds. I dropped my pseudonym. I was Anonymous, hyperconsciousness in the flesh. I spread rumors that Westboro Baptist Church had posted the threat themselves. I began to call anyone who disagreed a WBCfag and accused them of infiltrating Anonymous. Within a few hours, multiple press releases reflected this twisted version of reality and reinforced the point of view that had descended from my hegemony. All attacks were called off, and I celebrated my victory over Fred Phelps and Anonymous with a 40 oz. for me and all my friends.
Even then, I had continued to accept the idea that there were no leaders. Yet as someone who had found the method to exercise control over Anonymous, I began to see evidence of an invisible hand.
Despite the lack of support, Anonymous was insistent on attacking Westboro Baptist. A DDoS attack was impossible because I had scuttled the mass interest. Instead, a small group or individual gained root access to Westboro Baptist’s web servers and defaced them. All the power I had gained was gone as easily as it had come. Someone was surely pulling some strings from behind the scenes, employing a kind of virtual secret police to get the job done.
Part 4-The Hegemony Strikes Back
I know they’re going to come after me. The threats have been mounting. They’re going to deface my web site and publish all my e-mails and chat logs. I’m ready for it. If Anonymous was more grounded in reality, they would threaten to murder me.
Anonymous bears all the hallmarks of a totalitarian regime. First of these is the derisive labeling of enemies. Anons call me a namefag. Namefag is of course Anonspeak for enemy. The group of allies I have made are called moralfags. This is also Anonspeak for enemy. I pity these exploited young men that have been tricked into hatred.
Anons believe that anonymity protects them from the government. This is a fantasy. They also believe it can protect them from outsiders who would hijack their movement. What a joke! I committed my most vile acts of influence by assuming anonymity and abusing the nature of these weak young men. The hand that silently manipulates these kids knows that preaching anonymity, anarchy, and nihilism keeps them shackled with totality. It keeps out new ideas and new leaders. Their naivety is exploited just as in any totalitarian state.
Anonymous is manipulated by propaganda. Every press release is punctuated with the following mottoe:
We are Anonymous
We are legion
We do not forgive
We do not forget
Press releases appear criminal and intimidating. They use fiery language and incite anger. They make Anons feel part of something not only important, but bad ass. These kids go and tell girls at school that they are Anons in the hopes it will get them some action. Hell, it might even work. Oh, baby, won’t you wear that Guy Fawkes mask while we dry hump?
The insecurities and fantasies of Anons are also exploited. The pervasive use of ‘fag’ in Anonspeak plays on the young men’s uncomfortable sexuality. They are frustrated living in a world where adults control them, so they slip into a false reality. Here, Anonymous is a godlike super being that they can worship and be a part of. It is a kind of personality cult constructed around a hyperconsciousness that is lifted straight out of science fiction. These kids DDoS Egyptian government web sites and then take credit for the entire revolution. The propaganda compares Anons to protesters in the streets. They are fed the lie that one day Anonymous will bring freedom to everyone on Earth. It is a very pleasant fantasy.
Anonymous shows every sign of being manipulated by somebody. I know what kind of mind is behind Anonymous. It is the pet project of a genius with an unnatural ability to create viral ideas. He or she has carefully crafted Anonymous just to take it for a joyride. To this person, the power from Anonymous is its own end. Yet I would also consider the possibility that Anonymous has been carefully engineered by a government or multi-national corporation. To them, Anonymous is only a means to quicken the erosion of internet freedom, an imminent threat to their power.