Veronica Belmont on being overtaken by a meme


Cory, that is the most inappropriate hyphenation. Maybe the site does something clever in javascript. FWIW, screencap was from FF on Linux at 1366x768.

Edit: I noticed it because I was scanning the left margin and it caught my eye and I had to back up a bit after going “Woah there!” Sorry, Veronica. I love your reporting!


Thanks for your talk, it was great.


I think you have to know someone well to know if they’ll take the joke as intended or not. If you don’t know the person, don’t attempt the mildly funny but could be misunderstood joke.


I’m specifically talking about the Internet gray zone. In person is different, and you’re right. And so is @japhroaig. But I’m talking about netiquette.


I didn’t even catch that, you dirty, dirty person!!! LOL


I think it still applies on the net, just because you can’t access someone you don’t know and contact them, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about what you write. Stripped of body language, tone and facial expression cues you have to be even more sure that what you’re tweeting or whatever is ok. Maybe err on the side of not making the joke.


It’s more empowering to live according to your values, and refuse to work for prudes. Policing people’s personal lives is unprofessional. I wouldn’t work for anyone who would think less of me for having been seen topless outside of work, and I would make them listen to precisely why.


I think you might be confusing persons with corporate culture. Consider the HR manager, mentioned in this talk, who didn’t hire the guy who accidentally sexted her. Now yes, that’s a pretty egregious communication error. But imagine if she knew it was an innocent mistake and wanted to overlook it. Could she? She’ll be reviewed on her hiring practices at some point. What if it came through on a company account? What if she sought advice from her boss or coworkers? She could well feel she had no other option but to not hire him, irrespective of her own empathy. Even a small business employer, whether it’s a mom and pop convenience store or a tech start up has to think about the possibility that hiring someone with a topless picture online could come back to haunt them later on, whether by VC’s background checking their hires or just rando jerkwads on the internet lighting a Twitter storm over the teller who’s nipple can be seen online.

My point here is not that this is all hunky dory. It ain’t. But the solution isn’t to form another shortsighted mob to punish the employer that didn’t hire the topless beer pong player. The solution is to stop be the sort of assholes who give a fuck that the internet remembers you played topless beer pong.


And where I live it is explicitly legal. Now, I wouldn’t want an unwilling participant to see me in the buff, but that’s just due to unintended psychological damage.

Wanna take your clothes off? Cool. Judging people that take their clothes off? Must be a never-nude.



And what? Once we’re done with this catalog, are we supposed to… Just look at it?


How can it? Every Tom, Dick and Harry demands an apology for the slightest breach of… what? And every Tom, Dick and Harry feels the need to slut shame people for wearing bikinis with their little cousins on a boat. So, there is a huge gray zone and I’m curious about y’all’s opinions on where the lines are within that zone.

You can’t know your audience THAT well. A dead baby joke might be fine in some places and not other places, and on the big ole 'net, you never know when aunt Prudy is going to show up with her pearl necklace, or if you’re with the pork rind crowd, both men and women, who don’t give a rat’s ass if you make a joke about a dead baby or anything at all as long as you don’t insult the place.

The Internet is BIG. In person rules apply… but only sometimes… and ever-presently with a twist. If you self-edit everything because of aunt Prudy, you’re a twit. If you never self-edit at all you’re a twit.

Where’s the line? What are the lines? Lines? Lines of what?


Lines are only fancy names for zero-degree arcs.



You’re funny. But I can tell you now, manwoman, I ain’t never gonna Popo even once. I am keeping you at pole’s length… hehehehe


Cognitive psychologist Paul Bloom has some interestingly counter intuitive opinions on empathy, too much empathy may not be such a good thing, so we might need to be careful about excessively promoting it with kids.


The best way to eliminate this kind of thing is to do away with The Internet. It brings out the worst in almost everyone.


I was mostly talking about directly contacting someone, like a tweet. In terms of just posting on the net, I dunno.

In my very brief time as an English teacher I would emphasize being mindful of your audience. Something a lot of people need to learn, in my opinion. But when you audience is potentially the whole world, I don’t think anyone knows how to do that properly, except maybe George Takei.



I"d never heard of Veronica Belmont, either, which is weird to me given the number of hours I’ve wasted on the Internet.


An interesting talk. However, while I consider teaching empathy a very good thing, I don’t have high hopes for seeing empathy towards those we see as more powerful than ourselves. After all, most of us would scoff at the idea of empathy for bankers - after all, they have all the money and the power. Why waste our empathy on them?

Yet, an infinite number of adolescents (including some grown up ones) make life hell for young women for whom they have no empathy because they perceive young women as having immense power and themselves as having none.

So the question is, how do we teach millions of young men empathy towards those that they perceive hold all the power while maintaining the right to hold no empathy for those that we perceive as holding all the power?