The Notion of Authenticity: Internet Sex Video, Cyber blackmail, and Privacy. Part 2. (12) (video 5)

~ Part 1Part 2 ~

What we have here is a multi-textual event which can be experienced and read by the Youtube viewer in several different ways.

Especially relevant to this event is Michel Foucault’s idea that “It is no longer a question simply of saying what was done—the sexual act—and how it was done; but of reconstructing, in and around the act, the thoughts that recapitulated it, the obsessions that accompanied it, the images, desires, modulations, and quality of the pleasure that animated it” (p. 63).

Some aspects of this multi-textual event:

  • The majority of videos which have emerged from users condemn Cap’n for his publication of the sex video against a woman’s will.
  • Many users have commented on Fakesagan’s and Oshunavani’s channels expressing their sorrow for Oshunavani’s embarrassment and public shaming.
  • Other users have requested the web address of the pornographic images of Oshunavani, openly signaling a lack of compassion for the victim.
  • Still other users have made the point that Oshunavani was foolish to record a digital sex video.
  • Yet still others have made the point that the whole event has been over-dramatized and claim that they see nothing interesting about being involved in such a drama.
  • A user can experience the drama played out on Youtube by seeing the videos and images associated with the dramatic event. It is more authentic and dare I say more entertaining than any reality TV show could ever dream of being.
  • At the same time, the “realness” of it means there are real victims and real psychological and physical consequences to actions in the virtual community.
  • Fakesagan, usually a promoter of rational thinking and free speech, has found himself at odds with an abusive act of free speech, and has promised legal consequences and has both requested and hinted at physical retribution.
  • At the same time, TheAmazingAtheist has claimed that Fakesagan cannot truly express himself on Youtube without crossing some legal boundaries by threatening Kevin’s life. He also points out that while it is possible to be entertained by the drama, that is is not just a “Youtube drama” but a real event played out in video.
  • Most importantly, a human being has been the victim of public humiliation, and, according to her boyfriend, is in a depressed state and has not left her bed since the release of the images.

What is interesting about this event is the dynamics of confession and the pre-formed discourse which states that private sexual acts are seen as shameful when they are made public. Even though most of those who see the video do not know Oshunavani and those who she does know will most likely express compassion towards her, the trauma was immediate and a victimized position was assumed.

What is intensely ironic about this event is that the primary popularization of the pornographic images came through one of the victim’s (Fakesagan’s) account of the drama and the audience’s reaction. As Capnoawesome’s Youtube profile has been closed, there is little other publicity associated with the porn images. Fakesagan’s decision to break his Youtube blackout was perhaps shortsighted. Although, Cap’n might not have closed his account if Fakesagan had not made threatening video replies.

If Fakesagan and the audience which has largely condemned Capnoawesome deleted their videos, perhaps Oshunavani would be spared some publicity.

My apologies go out to Oshunavani for any additional humiliation the publication of this blog may cause. I do not mean to popularize the drama associated with this event, merely to analyze its functioning in relation to the powerful discursive forces all of us face during our every day lives.

~

Sources:

Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality: An Introduction. Retrieved from: http://web.missouri.edu/~materert/434/Foucault.html

The Notion of Authenticity: Internet Sex Video, Cyber blackmail, and Privacy. Part 1. (11) (video 4)

A recent drama which unfolded in the virtual Youtube community is at the same time part cautionary fable and part illustration of the dynamics of Internet rule breaking and making – the exercise of ethics and the discourses of confession, truth, shame, and vengeance.

If what Fakesagan claims is true, the drama went something like this…

Some time ago a user named Capnoawesome (Kevin) and Oshunavani hooked up, and recorded their sexual adventures on digital video.

Then along came a user named Fakesagan, who stole away Oshunavani with his niceness and principled openness versus Capnoawesome’s apparent neurotic behaviour and abusive control.

Cap’n and Fakesagan began an online spat the details of which I know little, suffice to say a spat which culminated in Cap’n calling for a boxing match.

Later, frightened by Fakesagan’s superior intellect and physical size, Cap’n blackmailed Oshunavani into silencing Fakesagan’s attacks and calls for a physical confrontation. If Fakesagan did not stop his online effrontery then Cap’n would release the digital video and images of Oshunavani having sex to his sizeable Youtube audience of 20,000 subscribers.

Oshunavani convinced her boyfriend Fakesagan to halt his campaign against Cap’n and the videos and images were not released at the time.

But Oshunavani’s immense fear of being publicly humiliated was not put to rest as Cap’n arbitrarily decided to release the images on Feb. 9/09 (not a link to the images, but a cache of his video diary) on Encyclopedia Dramatica, making it unlikely that they will ever be removed.

Previously unaware of the blackmail or the sex video, Fakesagan reacted to Cap’n in an emotional and authentic manner on his Youtube account:

“If I really believed you could make that shit go away I would do whatever the fuck you wanted. I would leave Youtube … I would say I’m a bitch … and Kevin is a big man. But you can’t make that shit go away. A million people have fucking downloaded it so if you take it down its going to be up again in five minutes. You have no power to reverse this and you have nothing left to blackmail me with. My videos are the only fucking revenge I am going to get.”

In one particularly emotional and authentic moment, Fakesagan says “I’ll wear gloves, I’ll tie a fucking arm behind my back… I will walk into an ambush. I don’t give a shit if I get my ass kicked. I just want to feel my fucking fist connect with your face one God damn time! … You said you didn’t put that shit on the Internet to hurt Oshun. Bullshit! You fucking humiliated her!”

In a later video, Fakesagan swears that Kevin will face consequences. If not criminal or civil charges, then he says the matter will “be settled” otherwise. Presumably in a physical confrontation.

~ Analysis Continued in Part 2 ~

Published in: on February 12, 2009 at 9:22 pm  Comments (4)  

How to kill your wife … according to Youtube. (2) (video 1)

As Strangelove and Michel Foucault argue, do we live in a confessional society?

The following is an excerpt from an anonymous post from grouphug.us:

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She told me her deepest and darkest secrets, and I did the same. She told me about getting raped, how it had happened to her multiple times. It made my stomach twist and it made me felt sick. I’d hold her when she’d cry. She’d talk about missing home, across on the other side of the planet … I made her feel better. But then I moved. I left her. Right now as I’m typing this I had to take a moment to pause and think over what I have done, it just hits me so hard. Those few months feel like they were the epitomy of my life now. I miss you…”

Since launching in 2003, the site has gained some fame and has received hundreds of thousands of confessions, and millions of hits. A book called “Stoned, Naked, and Looking in my Neighbour’s Window: The Best Confessions from Grouphug.us” contains some of the most hilarious, crude, disturbing, and explicit confessions one might ever read. Some of them are heartfelt and sad explanations of people’s lives. Others are silly and harmless.

stoned-naked1

I stumbled upon a Youtube video today titled “How to kill your wife.” The video by a semi-popular video blogger TheAmazingAtheist made light of some of the dumber plans people have used to rid themselves of their spouse and make some fast cash at the same time.

A marvelous thought struck me. What other videos could one find on the topic? Perhaps there might be a pattern. And indeed there was!

How to kill your wife by ignoring her:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-5_Kr6iMVg

How to “properly” beat one’s wife. Never do it front of the children! Avoid striking her face or sensitive areas. Oh, don’t break any bones or cause bleeding either. But otherwise, yeah, and Allah might not forgive you. But he might. You know, its really up to him:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN8veQoSxo0&feature=related

How to kill your wife by cooking ramen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-5_Kr6iMVg

Top five ways to kill your wife according to children! (Actually, somewhat humourous, not in content but in execution):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJlidFuWxKU

Even McDonalds endorses killing your wife. Shocking!

It seems there is a great deal of male angst being directed against the wives of our world. We know killing is wrong but the fantasy to do away with those pesky wives is certainly there. This is an indirect mode of confession. But our most revealing confessions are often the ones we don’t intend to make, or aren’t even aware we’re making.

Its like nonverbal language. Those little twitches and hand-to-face gestures that give us away and let everyone who’s watching closely know that we’re lying. But men aren’t really kidding anyone.

Statistics Canada found that 653,000 women were abused physically or sexually by their spousal partner at least once in five years in 2004, down from 690,000 in 1999. This represents a 5 per cent decrease from the 1993 abuse rate. Its an encouraging trend. One that will hopefully continue.

The Statistics Canada report congratulates increased public awareness, support for abused women, treatment for violent men, training for police officers, and domestic violence legislation.

But if Canadian men are actually serious about putting an end to abusing their wives then we’ll have to put an end to the abuse fantasy that Youtube has shown exists as a humorous joke to many a man, child, and corporate burger maker. Not to mention the institutional acceptance of violence against women inherent within the value systems of some religions.

~

Sources:

Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. Retrieved on Jan. 27 from: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-570-x/85-570-x2006001-eng.pdf

Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 4:44 am  Comments (1)