ICYMI, Twitter was on fire earlier this week over the hashtag #cut4bieber. The worldwide-trending topic started with one @Brittanyscrapma, an account with only ten tweets, all having to do with the desire to cut one’s arm in a protest to get Justin Bieber to stop doing drugs.
The account was very minimal with the supposed Brittany following very few people and tweeting varying images of bloody, self-induced scars. When I saw this, I immediately smelled the mixture of unbridled aggression and freshly-spewed cum that is the first sign of a 4chan prank. Last fall, there was a similar prank to get Bieber fans to shave their heads to show solidarity with Bieber during a non-existent cancer scare. While hair grows back, however, a habit of self-harming can ruin lives. Again, this is all so a group of script kiddies can pat themselves on the back because they caused the maximum amount of chaos with the least amount of effort.
There is an important distinction to be made between acts like this and the hacker collective Anonymous. Anonymous and its offshoots tend to have bigger wrongs to right, be it assisting Syrian rebels or unveiling a high school rape scandal. Anonymous’ central problem, however, is it’s an entirely opt-in organization. If you do something on the internet and say you are Anonymous, you are Anonymous (a problem shared by the Occupy movement and the Taliban). While no one behind #cut4bieber has come forward nor has Anonymous commented, it’s important to make clear the difference between the 4chan-born yet well-intentioned hacker group (possibly the largest and most effective activism group in the world) and the foolish, Joker-worshipping children that spend their time attempting to ruin the lives of people because they like a crappier music (the only people who wish this harm on 14-year-old girls is 14-year-old boys to which those girls won’t entertain a conversation).
They will proudly tell you their main interest is chaos. They will hide behind a veneer of comedy, a thin-layer of self-awareness, and a supreme amount of simply-not-giving-a-fuck. They will pin this as a point of bravery despite their anonymity, a rewardable behavior even though it offers the same awards as a circle jerk. They will believe they are at the highpoint of their lives, shoving their hand in front of society’s still face while shouting “I’m not touching you!”
And they are duly given their utmost pleasure of people taking a prank very seriously. As of now, I can find no legitimate Belieber account on Twitter that has actually slashed their wrists. In fact, the sole reason #cut4bieber is still trending is people using the hashtag to decry its purpose. This is a unique problem on Twitter: a few months back, #卐卐卐 was also trending solely by those lambasting the minority of users making jokes. Even with the most disgusting motives, we’ll trade squashing the ills of society for our desire to be part of the conversation. And how do we squash these filthy, exploitative, schoolyard-bullshit moves? Ignore them.
Ignoring them is, of course, easier said than done. Every mass shooter is lambasted for merely seeking fame, and yet the name Adam Lanza can send the image of his bony jaws and the headline of twenty dead children running spikes through your spine. But with these scenarios, when the limits of believability are tested by a youthful minority armed with ingenuity, a hunger for blood, and a broadband connection, one only needs the ability to sight such a disguise. Sadly, this requires a dive into the culture such largesse frivolity breeds from. And we can only hope those seeking to understand the beast within our fiber optic wires can resist the urge to join the war against the adults.