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January 08, 2013

4Chan Pranks, #cutting4Bieber and #rememberAddison, Make the News

This is actually news, if you can believe it. I had written this, then thought better of it, and decided not to publish it, until I saw it was on Drudge.

The hashtag #Cut4Bieber began trending, suggesting that dedicated Beliebers engage in self-harm through cutting themselves in order to get Justin's attention in response to his recent alleged bad boy behavior.

"Lets start a cut yourself for bieber campaign," an anonymous user initially wrote before the thread was deleted, according to Billboard. "Tweet a bunch of pics of people cutting themselves and claim we did it because bieber was smoking weed. See if we can get some little girls to cut themselves."

Justin Bieber apparently got caught smoking weed, so 4chan created an astroturf prank wherein they claimed that girls were cutting themselves (CONTENT WARNING)in order to convince Bieber that weed is bad. The content warning is for imagery of cuts on girls' arms. Some of these pictures may be fake, but others, I'm guessing, are just lifted off the internet, and are thus real cutting pictures, but falsely claimed to be part of this #cutting4Bieber hoax.

I believe this one is transparently fake, though, so a lesser content warning on this one.

As a follow-up hoax, they then conspired to claim that their rivals "9gag" had actually started the hoax, and shame on them, because, they further claimed, an impressionable young girl had in fact attempted to cut herself in order to encourage Bieber to stop smoking so much weed, and had died as a result of this.

None of this is true, you understand: They're continuing to make things up. But they started a hashtag #rememberAddison (Addison supposedly being this Biebercidal girl's name) and a whole faked-up internet trail to give her existence credibility, like a YouTube channel and MySpace page and her "brother" starting a "Remember Addison" facebook page and so on.

I wasn't going to post this because it wound up occasioning Too Much Thinking about what is funny, and what other people find funny.

I find it darkly funny, rather than cruel, but only because I make the following assumptions:

1) They weren't really serious about trying to get girls to cut4Bieber.

2) The idea of someone actually cutting4Bieber is so outlandish, so absurd, and so unlikely to actually happen, that it seems harmless.

3) The actual object of the joke -- that is, the person you laugh at the end -- isn't girls who love Bieber (well, secondarily, maybe) but rather people generally, and their willingness to believe all sorts of things.

If you don't share those assumptions, then this will seem more sinister.

On 3, I thought about that some, and thought about the media and the public being part of an unwitting symbiotic relationship on things like this: The public wants to be distracted, and the media wants to write easy, distracting pieces.

I suppose I'm okay with all of this just because I don't think there was (much) evil intent beyond poking fun at people for being so gullible, and because I think it's unlikely someone would start cutting4Bieber just to let him know "Weed is bad 4 you," as one fake tweet explained. Some girls cut themselves, but... I doubt they cut themselves because they saw it on Twitter, or to let Justin Bieber know about the long-term consequences of marijuana use.

On the other hand, anyone with daughters, I imagine, will feel very protective about them, and will see very little humor in this.

See? That's why I didn't publish it. Because opinions will sharply vary depending on one's own situation and point-of-view, and it's hard to say that someone who feels a natural protectiveness about young girls is "just wrong!!!!" and should "lighten up!!!" I can't say that -- they're not "wrong." They just have a different background and situation which causes them, naturally, to react differently to the same stimulus. And that's why I wasn't going to post.

But it's on Drudge, so it's news, and I've now spent 30 minutes writing this crap, so I guess I have to publish it.

Thanks to @slublog.


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posted by Ace at 02:21 PM

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