Chen on Violentacrez

I finally got around to reading Adrian Chen’s post on Gawker that revealed the identity of the Violentacrez user on reddit: The man behind the troll. It was kind of interesting, though also a little disturbing, and not just because Violentacrez himself is a little disturbing.

I was struck by this comment from Chen’s post:

In real life, Brutsch is an unabashedly creepy old man with seven cats and two dogs and a disabled wife and a teenage son about to join the Marines. He was all of that online, too – only he was famous for it.

I think this struck me because lately I’ve been confronted by the reality that I’ve become older than most of the people I interact with online. (I am, in fact, a year older than Violentacrez.) As someone who was an early adopter of the Internet, I’ve survived to a time when it is largely populated by people a lot younger than I am. Occasionally, when real-life details spill into online interaction, this confronts me with the uncomfortable fact that online, at least, I’ve become old.

In real life, I interact with people of many different ages, including some younger than me, some approximately my own age, and some older than me. In terms of outward signs of age, I’ve been pretty fortunate: staying nerdishly indoors over much of my life and using lots of sunscreen means my skin’s in okay shape. I’ve got a full head of hair (going gray, it’s true). I’m working on a spare tire, but am otherwise in okay shape. My outward appearance is youthful enough that I occasionally get joking “Dorian Gray” comments from friends and acquaintances. So I’ve got that going for me.

But online, none of that counts. And as soon as age comes up, I’m basically left with two choices: Closet myself. Or provoke an involuntary, “whoa. dude, you’re old.”

This was brought into focus recently by my getting more involved on Tumblr, which is a neat place for sharing obsessive fandoms (of which I have a few, as readers of this site will already be aware). But it’s also a corner of the online world characterized by lots of self-disclosure and sharing of angsty feels by (mostly) young (frequently) female users, among whom a 50-year-old guy tends to stand out.

Quoting from an “ask” my lies user on Tumblr recently received:

gr4ci3p00 asked: hi you’re the oldest person i know on tumblr

Yeah, I’m the oldest person I know on tumblr, too. It’s a weird feeling.

A few weeks ago I saw this thing come through my tumblr dashboard (can’t find it now, dammit). It was a survey thingy, where it asked people to repost and add a | character in the row next to their age. And the ages went from, like, I don’t remember, 12 or 13 on up, and there was this cool-looking distribution of rows of | characters, starting off with just 1, and then getting fatter with more and more respondents, with the biggest part of the curve being around age 17 or 18 (I think), and then it tapered off, and there were no | characters at all toward the bottom of the graph. And the bottom entry, at which there had been no respondents for several rows, was “26+”.

Ouch. That hit home. What am I doing here?

I guess, given the degree of privilege I enjoy as a straight white male technocratic Californian making good money, it shouldn’t be a big deal to have to deal with a little irrational prejudice. But for the record: 50 is not old, at least not from my side of that birthday, and 50 and male and hanging out online with a bunch of fellow LBD nerds who happen to be younger and more female than me is not inherently creepy. It’s just a thing.

25 Responses to “Chen on Violentacrez”

  1. knarlyknight Says:

    When asked online how old I am I say, “I am a half century old.” That sure puts a pause in the conversation. I feel my age online should garner respect, but I know respect is earned by actions not by seniority.

    Yesterday, I was describing myself to my much younger girlfriend, saying that something that happened in my past resulted because of my liberal attitudes, and she couldn’t stop laughing at that. Nearly choked on her casserole. Apparently “liberal” to a 50 year old white guy has an entirely different meaning than it does to younger folks.

    Excuse me now while I go for my morning nap.

  2. shcb Says:

    Buying the 50+ vitamins at Walgreens was the first wakeup call for me, having enough grandkids to not always remember all their names was the next. But at some point you go from a dirty old man in your 40′s to a HARMLESS dirty old man, then you can occasionally get caught looking at young cleavage.

    We took a boat tour in Belgium and a 50ish woman pinched a cute (to her) teen age boy’s butt and told him if he was hot he should take his shirt off, best as we could tell, our French isn’t so good. Different cultures I guess. The boy just smiled and tried to ignore her

  3. enkidu Says:

    I hear there is this thing called “facebook”
    or maybe it’s mybook? facespace?
    something like that

    hang on, the acoustic coupler has come unstuck again and the modem is going to drop the line agai

  4. shcb Says:

    Omg, lol, lmao, ttfn

  5. knarlyknight Says:

    Lies and Breaks Simple Rules, Mittens is slimy in so many ways.

    Obama Says Romney Thinks People at the Top Should Get to Play by a Different Set of Rules; Romney Immediately Proves Obama’s Point

    By Jon Schwarz

    One of the very first things Barack Obama said during the second presidential debate was this:

    OBAMA: Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules. That’s been his philosophy in the private sector, that’s been his philosophy as governor, that’s been his philosophy as a presidential candidate.

    You might expect Romney would say this wasn’t true. Instead, right away he showed that this is his philosophy – including during presidential debates.

    The Obama/Biden and Romney/Ryan campaigns agreed to a meticulous set of rules for the debates; one of them was this:

    5 (e): “The candidates may not ask each other direct questions during any of the four debates.”

    Here’s Romney, asking Obama a direct question the first time:

    ROMNEY: In the last four years, you cut permits and licenses on federal land and federal waters in half.

    OBAMA: Not true, Governor Romney.

    ROMNEY: So how much did you cut (inaudible)?

    OBAMA: Not true.

    ROMNEY: How much did you cut them by, then?

    OBAMA: Governor, we have actually produced more oil –

    ROMNEY: No, no. How much did you cut licenses and permits on federal land and federal waters?

    OBAMA: Governor Romney, here’s what we did. There were a whole bunch of oil companies.

    ROMNEY: No, no, I had a question and the question was how much did you cut them by?

    OBAMA: You want me to answer a question –

    ROMNEY: How much did you cut them by?

    And the second:

    He had a Democrat House, a Democrat Senate, super majority in both Houses. Why did he fail to even promote legislation that would have provided an answer for those that want to come legally and for those that are here illegally today? What’s a question I think the — the president will have a chance to answer right now.

    And the third:

    ROMNEY: Mr. President, have you looked at your pension? Have you looked at your pension?

    OBAMA: I’ve got to say…

    ROMNEY: Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?

    And the fourth:

    ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you’re saying?

    Maybe the no-questions rule was a bad idea. But Romney certainly proved Obama was right: whatever the rules are, Romney doesn’t believe people like him need to follow them.

  6. hossman Says:

    50 and male and hanging out online with a bunch of fellow LBD nerds who happen to be younger and more female than me is not inherently creepy. It’s just a thing.

    If you are hanging out with a bunch of people, many of whom are young females, and you don’t see a creepy dude that you think should back off — it’s you.

  7. enkidu Says:

    Maybe the no-questions rule was a bad idea. But Romney certainly proved Obama was right: whatever the rules are, Romney doesn’t believe people like him need to follow them.

    So… when do we get to see his tax returns? Anyone want to take some bets on just how much Mitt thinks rules are for the little people? Anyone? Hello?

    It was a clear win for Obama. I was waiting for him to say “bullshit.” and then sit back down. Facts is facts. If you want bushlite II, vote for Rmoney/Lyin. Enjoy watching the caskets come home from Tehran. Enjoy another 50 years of screwups in the middle east instead of getting the hell out. Enjoy a greater chance that a nuclear device will be used on us or our friends and allies.

    bushlite… move the L over… there we go…. bulshite.

  8. knarlyknight Says:

    hossman, that’s unfair to JBC. It’s not unusual to find oneself surrounded by people who share similar interests but are of a different socio-economic, racial or sex, especially on the net where anonymity takes a long time to dissipate. It’s not like JBC is requisitioning binders full of women or anything, that would be really creepy.

  9. knarlyknight Says:

    Enlightening to see Mittens coming through with a credible display of dementia. Or at least reveal his excessive exposure to the wingnutiverse dreamworld. E.g. falsely accusing Obama of lying about his statement about Benghazi in the Rose Garden. E.g. Claiming oil production from federal land fell 14% due to Obama’s policies when the truth is that production increased 10% over-all during Obama’s 1st term due to Obama policies – the 14% temporary drop in 2010 was primarily related to events related to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

    It’s impossible to have any confidence in a candidate who, at best, cannot keep track of such pertinent facts and at worst is using mountains of bulshite to hide his real agenda.

  10. shcb Says:

    hmm, even though Candy saved her guy’s onions by a well timed interruption (and calling one of the debaters a liar) (moderator?) she is now saying Romney was correct in his assessment of the Rose Garden statement. Kind of late though, like the trial lawyer that has his question struck from the record, can’t strike it from the memories of the jury. You still think Obama was falsely accused?

    The mark of a leader is to man up to your mistakes, don’t throw your State Department under the bus, I heard Bill is threatening a lawsuit since Obama made Hillary take one for the team, which is going to hurt is gravy train and chances of riding up front in Air Force One again.

  11. enkidu Says:

    shcb has a sad

  12. knarlyknight Says:

    Candy clearly made the distinction during her interruption that Obama spoke of an Act of Terror in the Rose Garden but that Mittens was right in his characterization of the adminstration’s messaging.

    No fault there, the time was up for that topic and Candy was effective in her interuption to keep the debate on track and she allowed each candidate to save face. Trust a wwnj to cry sour grapes about that.

    Mitten’s problem was that he fixated on the phrase “act of terror”, vehemently maintaining that Obama was lying when he claimed he said it in the Rose Garden. In fact Obama was telling the truth. Clearly that phrase is in context in the transcript of the Rose Garden speech. Mittens was simply unable to keep track of the simple facts necessary to avoid making the huge mistake like falsely accusing someone of lying in front of millions of people (at best) or just suffering another moment of dementia (at worst.)

    Either way, its impossible to have any confidence in Mitten’s ability to take America anywhere but the wrong direction now that we have evidence that such details evaporate from his mind at the critical moment of decision.

    Most incredibly, Mittens specifically and vehemently argued that oil production from federal lands has fallen 14% under Obama’s first term. Again, he’s in the wrong universe. You have to see that debate exchange to believe it happened. Production has gone up under Obama, although Obama should not be claiming credit for that until his next term, according to this objective analysis: http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2012/01/23/are-president-obamas-policies-causing-a-rise-in-u-s-oil-production/

  13. shcb Says:

    If Candy’s job was moderator and she was just enforcing time constraints why did she have to stand up for Obama only to say she was wrong later. Overall production has gone up, production on federal land was down in 2011 from the previous year, those two facts can coexist.

  14. knarlyknight Says:

    shcb – I didn’t hear Mittens say the 14 % decline was in one year, but checking the transcript I see that he did but was still wrong in his claim that the increased oil production did not come from federal lands. Under Obama federal land oil increased by about 10%.

    OBAMA: The most important thing we can do is to make sure we control our own energy. So here’s what I’ve done since I’ve been president. We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years.

    ROMNEY: Well, let’s look at the president’s policies, all right, as opposed to the rhetoric, because we’ve had four years of policies being played out. And the president’s right in terms of the additional oil production, but none of it came on federal land. As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters.

    KNARLY: The decrease had almost everything to do with the offshore oil moratorium after the deepwater horizon catastrophe, it had nothing to do with Obama’s policies which are increasing oil production.

    http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.nmtelegram.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/crude-oil-federally-owned-land.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.nmtelegram.com/2012/03/28/bingaman-urges-focus-on-the-facts-on-gas-prices-oil-production/&usg=__1BXtJDpt1zK_9froJ2mYSAvpJ2o=&h=657&w=749&sz=72&hl=en&start=37&zoom=1&tbnid=drQa_LQHn4RGyM:&tbnh=124&tbnw=141&ei=84N_UIb8MciKiAKj1IGQAw&prev=/search%3Fq%3DUS%2Boil%2Bproduction%2Bon%2Bfederal%2Blands%2Bgraph%26start%3D20%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1T4ADFA_enCA386CA387%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1

  15. knarlyknight Says:

    refer to second chart on that link

  16. shcb Says:

    Here’s an article I picked randomly, I imagine he is right, both men were probably correct, depending on how you read it (or lying).

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/10/17/on-oil-and-gas-both-romney-and-obama-wer

  17. knarlyknight Says:

    Picking an article at random proves nothing.

    You are entitled to believe in fairy tales. I prefer facts.

    Fact: Obama said oil revenues under his administration were up. They are.

    Fact: Mittens disputed Obama’s claim by cherry picking one year (in which an offshore moratorium response to the BP disaster lowered production) and dishonestly stating the 14% decline was due to Obama’s oil policy.

    Fact: Oil production on federal lands is up and Obama’s policy (of requiring companies to use the land or lose it to a company that will use it) seems to be helping that trend.

  18. __j__ Says:

    @knarlyknight, are you saying that the offshore moratorium wasn’t from Obama’s policies? (Sure, it was an on-the-spot policy in response to a new thing… but the 14% drop due to the moratorium is still a drop due to his *new* drilling-permit policy, right? Isn’t that the cutting-permits-in-nths question from the original article?) I haven’t looked into this deeply, and apparently you have, so this is an honest question.

    Reason.com link from shcb partly answers the permit-question; although paradoxically total oil production is up under Obama, active acreage and permit-counts are both down (by 10% and 20% … with permits-issued-per-year down by ~40% depending on subtype).

    Methinks the paradox is resolved by the multi-year lag time; expansion of facilities by producers under Bush2nd resulted in more active production under Obama, up until the big spill moratorium at least. However, reducing permits will cause that boosted production to level off in the 2014 or 2015 range? Again, actual question.

    These are the charts that matter in the long run, from comments on your links:
    http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2012/01/23/are-president-obamas-policies-causing-a-rise-in-u-s-oil-production/#comment-92015
    http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2012/01/23/are-president-obamas-policies-causing-a-rise-in-u-s-oil-production/#comment-92025

    Looks like our barrels-imported-deficit has been going down since 2006… not sure why?… and our production has *stopped* declining slightly afterwards, and is now nudging back upwards. Yes, even if we get back up to 6mbpd that’s still something like 1955 levels of production (versus 9mbpd in the 1970s). The cynic in me says that the war in Iraq, and the likely-to-be-next war in Iran (and/or Syria if you prefer) has more to do with the regional instability driving up global oil prices, and thus making boosted domestic drilling profitable despite the technological expenses-n-difficulties….

  19. __j__ Says:

    And for an on-topic post… @jcb, I’ve never heard of the Lizzie Bennet thing. Wikipedia says it’s kinda like participatory theatre, but using VoIP, and kinda like a classic literature book, but with colorized character-bios. Are you a fan of Jane the author, or interactive plays, or both?

    (I’m still hoping for the combo of LARP with a single-planet-only flavor of EVE Online.)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LARP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eve_online

  20. knarlyknight Says:

    I am saying Romney made a mistake and shcb can’t admit it. Obama said oil production was up to it’s highest level in 16 years under his adminstration, and Romney’s rebuttal was a falsehood: Romney said that none of the increase was from federal land. That is wrong. Oil production is up 10% on federal land under the Obama adminstration (2008 -2011). http://mediamatters.org/static/images/item/federalproduction.jpg

    Doesn’t matter if production went down one year, up is still up.

    Also wrong was his attack on Obama’s “act of terror” messaging. Rmoney targetted the exact phrasing of the president in the Rose Garden, and Romney was wrong. WWNJ’s can not bring themselves to simply admit when Romney makes a gaff, the denialism runs deep:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20lYjj2fMGI

  21. shcb Says:

    Here is the problem with these bullet points Knarly, even you called it production in one paragraph and revenue in another, that alone changes everything. Obama’s revenue is definitely down, production… depends on what you are referring to.

    Take the article I referred to in Reason then take this one sentence, “U.S. oil production declined from 5.7 to 5.0 million barrels per day from Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 to FY2006. It remained about flat for the next 2 years, before rising to 5.6 million barrels per day in FY2011″

    So if we compare the high point of 2003 @5.7 to the high point of 2011 @5.6, the amount has dropped, as Romney said. If we compare the flat of 5.0 at the beginning of the Obama administration to that same high of 5.6 in 2011, Obama is correct. And that is without all the lag time issues.

    That is the point of the article, both men can be correct (or incorrect) with the very same sentence! One little sentence of less than 50 words.

    Ignoring the above maybe Romney did make a mistake, maybe he meant the number of leases not barrels, You could consider both “production” I suppose, will you give him the benefit of the doubt he missed one word in the heat of battle?

    This is the problem with calling everything a lie. You lose the meaning of the word after a while.

  22. knarlyknight Says:

    I agree with your sentiment with respect to the oil argument, not only because of my typo (my use of “revenue” was an errata), but because it is a reasonal presumption to give a little leeway especially in a heated debate.
    However, I note that you are applying this in a situation where your dog is in the fight and losing. Were it the other way around I’m sure you would be ruthless in your condemnation. That’s how you roll.
    On the other hand, having to reach back to 2003 in order to cherry pick a year that will magically transform Rmoney’s falsehood into something else is, to say the least, bending over backwards to give the guy credit where none is due.
    Rmoney rebutted Obama’s statement the falsehood that none of it was from federal land. Is that a lie? Yes, unless it was a mistake. Either way it is a big gaff to make considering the extraordinary emphasis Rmoney put on it.
    To repeat what you apparently do not understand:
    Obama said oil production was up to it’s highest level in 16 years under his adminstration, and Romney’s rebuttal was a falsehood: Romney said that none of the increase was from federal land. That is wrong. Oil production is up 10% on federal land under the Obama adminstration (2008 -2011). http://mediamatters.org/static/images/item/federalproduction.jpg

  23. shcb Says:

    Well, I guess we can have dueling blogs:

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/2012/10/17/has-energy-production-increased-or-decreased-on-federal-lands/

    The numbers do come out to what Romney said as he said it, and it looks like the graph could be similar to those numbers. And anyway, isn’t that what you and the Obama supporters want is less oil! Isn’t that a feather in Obama’s cap?

    My point is, you can’t get too caught up in the parsing of every word, it’s good sport, but what I have found is that in a well prepared debate or speech, what the fellow or gal says is usually correct in some manner or fashion, they rarely are going to make a boo boo if they and the many, many people on staff that have nothing to do but make sure there is some way that statement, whatever it is it is in some way truthful.

    What an informed person need to do is make sure it makes sense, it might be correct but it might not be right. Secondly you need to see if it makes sense to your opponent, that is where you can make hay, if you can convince your opponent that it is technically correct but it doesn’t make sense in any manner you have scored a point and you haven’t called his guy a liar, much more effective.

    Next, does it make sense to your opponent given his values, but doesn’t make sense given your values (or the other way round). If you can understand your opponents values, you may not be able to convince him, but you may be able to come to a compromise, or you may be able to convince someone of similar but less intense values than your opponent.

    Calling someone a liar when they aren’t takes you out of the running for all those other possibilities. Besides that being a liar isn’t that worst thing in the world, in some cases it is absolutely imperative. Being incompetent is worse.

  24. enkidu Says:

    Math is just so lib!

    While I applaud your actually searching out a source other than wwnj nonsense, I am pretty sure you didn’t look at those numbers. Take for example the very first chart. Sure if you cherry pick your data points you could ‘stretch the truth’ a bit to make almost anything fit. For example, why pick the high point of Natural Gas production of 2003 and compare it to 2011? On this narrow definition, yes, production is down. But what about the average of those numbers?

    shrub
    6 year average
    Oil
    3.66

    Obama
    3 year average
    Oil
    3.9

    Fact: up about 10%

    - – - – - -

    shrub
    Natural Gas
    6 year average
    6.467

    Obama
    3 year average
    5.43
    Fact: down about 15%

    - – - – - – -

    shrub
    Coal
    6 year average
    9.75

    Obama
    Coal
    3 year average
    9.63

    Fact: down about 1%
    (looks like the evil kenyan usurper’s ‘War on Coal’ isn’t going so well ;)

    So, oil up, NG down, coal about the same
    Facts are just so dang lib!

    Perhaps one might also point to the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression having something to do with supply, demand, etc. (thanks shrub! too bad Rmoney didn’t suggest indicting you for war crimes and frog marching your @$$ to the Hague)

    Hey btw has anyone seen shrub this election cycle? He should be out here trumpeting his mis-administrations huge huge HUGE accomplishments. Like nearly doubling the national debt (fact, annual deficits going down under Obama). Silly facts.

  25. enkidu Says:

    You know, having asked about the former president, I now realize I see him on the TV, making his pitch, touting his record, endorsing his party’s candidates. His sophisticated delivery and full throated backing of the candidate is a genuine plus.

    Oh wait, that is Bill Clinton.

    Not the worst President of our lifetimes, George W Bush.

    My bad.

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