The internet is forever

Carrie Fisher was perhaps best known for playing Princess Leia in the original Star Wars flick. When Steve Martin heard about her death the other day, he tweeted the following tribute:

martin

Kind of sweet, right? Unambiguously meant as a compliment and homage.

Wrong. It’s an insult. Unbelievably insensitive.  He had to delete it because of the backlash from outraged internet strangers.

See, Carrie Fisher struggled all her life against being a sex-object for Star Wars nerds. How could Steve Martin be so crass and clueless not to to see the damage his tweet does?

Cinnabon also tried to be nice and was slapped down. They deleted this indefensible assault:

cinnabon

Three things are at work here:

The first is the tyranny of the individual, a recent phenomenon that we have previously discussed. Lots of people liked the tweets but a couple didn’t. The tweets must go.

The second is a weird addiction to outrage that so many now seem to be afflicted with, and which the internet enables.

The third is that there is no such thing as “deleting” anymore. When Steve Martin attempted to delete his tweet, he thought it would disappear, appeasing the outraged,  and that would be the end of the controversy. The opposite happened. The tweet was given new life and was greatly amplified.  It would now be seen by tens or perhaps hundreds of millions of people, rather than just those who “follow” Martin.

Be very careful about what you type, and be prepared to weather an unforeseeable shitstorm.   It’s all on your permanent record. The internet is forever.

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