Bad Mirror

There’s a nightmare living behind a keyboard—for our purposes, all tumors, oozing and undulating in splotchy, yellow-green diamonds, his fingers clickety-clacking as he terrorizes some girl he’s never met, but whose body he assumes is his own.

This sexist fungus springs up between the keys and—like fungi do—grows in the dark, watered only occasionally by the soft light of the screen. It finds the glow invigorating, and finds the people it sees there—in stealthy up-the-skirt pics, in GF revenge porn, in nude celebrity leaked photos; in the videos of Anita Sarkeesian, behind the twitter handle of Zelda Williams—less than human. Or, at the very least, worthy of being dehumanized.

This specific fungus—this mushroomed speckled grotesquerie—enjoys its freedom—its ability to bloom in the dark with its eukaryotic brothers, fruiting and molding and eating symbiotically away at the confidence and privacy of people it will never meet. You could say it thrives on its ability to live unseen, all bloodshot spores and secrets—a poster boy for the merits of privacy, and it would be admirable were it to protect—or believe at all in—the privacy of women.

Think—it could be a super hero!

Instead, it’s Misogyny Man, and—like fungi do—it’s more prevalent than you’d like to believe.

Why, it might even be festering inside of you.

I It’s just afraid of attaching any thoughts or actions to its own name. Allergic to the sunlight of accountability.

Yet, here’s The Fappening, growing up in the bowels of Reddit with the express purpose of enjoying the destruction of the privacy of a couple of girls, indulged in by people whose personal privacy is everything.

Instead, it spits anonymous bile at those brave enough to communicate transparently. It reveals the personal information of others while wrapping itself in the American flag, tattooing the First Amendment between its puggish eyeballs, and chuckling cynically at those who give a damn about anything.
It is, of course, a monster. Our monster.

Our millennial monster: post-modern, post-decent, post-privacy. Post-anything except for the posting itself.

Multi-headed like a hydra, yes, and recently, one of the hydra’s heads decided that certain celebrity women weren’t worth their privacy. That, because they performed for a living, their bodies were no longer their own, but simply vehicles for performance—reduced to two-dimensional objects to whet appetites of desire and vengeance and a general, rotten school boy impulse popularized by a Glasgow smiling maniac—we’re here to watch the world burn.

by Michael Leonberger
by Michael Leonberger

This isn’t sexual, our coprophagiatic latrine fly bellows. It’s about power. It’s about the dung ring at the bottom of the toilet bowl having a say because it sees the posterior of the person above it. Never mind that our scat addled bacterium have become cannibalistic. Never mind that Everybody Poops.
Our secretive, coprophilous fungi scream and rant and foam about the NSA peeking into their e-mails.

Yet, here’s The Fappening, growing up in the bowels of Reddit with the express purpose of enjoying the destruction of the privacy of a couple of girls, indulged in by people whose personal privacy is everything.

(The Fappening has since been taken down)

And all the rest of us—all the other curious, mushrooming hydra heads turn and watch, and decide— yes, just watching isn’t immoral, because we’re somewhat inert, and being a bystander has never been a form of violence, besides.

This invasion couldn’t have anything to do with us, we figure. We haven’t initiated it. And wasn’t it their fault for taking those pictures anyhow? For enjoying their own bodies to begin with?

Shame on them, we’d like to say. But that itching, burning nightmare in our skin says the shame is our own. For ever assuming another’s body was ours to view. For believing that, even though the cloud is surely swollen with dick pics (let that image fester in your brain cage), it is only bad women who do that kind of thing.

This, we grin, the ooze foaming between our teeth, is surely just ugly karma.

The internet, then: a mirror of a violent, boy’s club id, skittering away from that locker we maybe got stuffed into one too many times. We’ve since redecorated. Smeared the walls so they’re purpled and bruising. A screwworm infested belly.

There’s a hand painted sign hanging out front.

It says NO GIRLS ALLOWED.

And any one of us would be ashamed if we copped to painting it.

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