Trolls are part of the online ecosphere. In their offline relationships, research has demonstrated that they are likely to be pathetic and sadistic misanthropes. The Internet gives them a space for validation. Trolling can also be part of a coordinated campaign to disrupt, distract, and disorient one’s political opposition.
Such tactics predate the Internet by thousands of years.
The group “4chan” recently made a concerted effort to disrupt the “feminist” Twitter community through what they labeled as “Operation Lollipop”. 4chan used cyber-racism, sexism, and misogyny to game Twitter, and by doing so, created confusion and exhaustion among the latter’s members.
The most generous read of Operation Lollipop is that it was a type of political performance art designed to expose the gullibility of self-described “Left” and “Progressive” online “activists”.
According to a new book, Sick From Freedom (Oxford University Press), by Jim Downs (Assistant Professor, Connecticut College), emancipation from slavery was also a health crisis for those formerly enslaved. A health crisis that has been largely ignored both by whites at the time and by mostly white historians since then.
At least one quarter of the four million former slaves got sick or died between 1862 and 1870, Downs writes, including at least 60,000 (the actual number is probably two or three times higher, he argues) who perished in a smallpox epidemic that began in Washington and spread through the South as former slaves traveled in search of work — an epidemic that Downs says he is the first to reconstruct as a national event.
The five men whose convictions in the brutal 1989 beating and rape of a female jogger in Central Park were later overturned have agreed to a settlement of about $40 million from New York City to resolve a bitterly fought civil rights lawsuit over their arrests and imprisonment in the sensational crime.
The agreement, reached between the city’s Law Department and the five plaintiffs, would bring to an end an extraordinary legal battle over a crime that came to symbolize a sense of lawlessness in New York, amid reports of “wilding” youths and a marauding “wolf pack” that set its sights on a 28-year-old investment banker who ran in the park many evenings after work.
The confidential deal, disclosed by a person who is not a party in the lawsuit but was told about the proposed settlement, must still be approved by the city comptroller and then by a federal judge.