Why does anyone take Techdirt seriously? How are Techdirt writers any different than your typical cyberbullies and trolls on some abusive reddit thread? Editor Mike Masnick has repeatedly made the claim (unsupported by the objective facts) that he is on the side of musicians, especially those independent musicians that are trying to make it outside of the major label system. Yet when a group of independent musicians working outside the major label system from a relatively poor but culturally rich region of Southwest Virginia take a position that he doesn’t like? His blog (which is based in the wealthy elitist cultural wasteland of Silicon Valley) resorts to mocking these artists for being from some “crappy” part of America. I quote the subtitle of the article:
“from the we-gotta-go-to-the-crappy-town-where-i’m-a-hero! dept”
Unfortunately this is the way that Techdirt and Masnick ALWAYS operate. The idea is that through mocking and name calling they will intimidate into silence these particular musicians – and any others thinking of joining them. That’s what he did to Lily Allen. That’s what he has repeatedly tried to do to me (to the point it’s beginning to resemble cyberstalking).
Ultimately Masnick et al are not really for freedom of speech. They are anti-democratic and elitist at heart. Over and over again we’ve watched he and his writers stir up and allow a frenzy of name calling and ugly threats in the comment section at Techdirt. He rarely seem to moderate offensive, slanderous or threatening comments. It’s a hatefest by design. Intimidate and silence. It’s like lord of the flies over there. Few people understand that this seems to be the point of Techdirt. Not the poorly written articles but the manipulation of an ignorant and hateful mob in the comments section. These are the freehadist foot soldiers that spread this hatred elsewhere on the web.
Now Masnick and Techdirt aren’t always trying to stifle all speech. Just speech they don’t like. For instance when it comes to criminal conspiracies started by “Keep Sweden Swedish” rich extremist xenophobes who exploit artists without compensation (The Pirate Bay) Masnick et al are quick to find common cause with them on some far fetched “freedom of speech” or “censorship” grounds. But ordinary US citizens from the Southwestern Virginia Songwriters Association get a very different treatment. These songwriters apparently had the gall to say something that might-barely-possibly-slightly threaten the power,influence and profits of Masnick’s powerful Silicon Valley sponsors. So right on cue Techdirt resorts to name calling and attempts to create viral mockery. Because usually this silences artists. IMHO the silicon valley demagogues that make up the writing staff of Techdirt are just the cowardly cyber versions of the fascists of old who used mobs to intimidate dissidents into silence (or worse). Make no mistake that’s what they are methodically attempting to do here: silencing critics. Sure the mob is virtual but it’s still a mob.
And I for one do not use the term fascist lightly. But sadly in this case the comparison applies. Check it out. Techdirt is the place where these pathetic little Gollums go to feel important and “part of a group” by treating others cruelly. To feel superior than those ignorant “others.” Those people from “crappy towns.” Those “bad” people who are threatening “our” internet way of life. Masnick has created a safe place for these writers to dehumanize and deligitimize others by insinuating they are not “real” and therefore much easier to treat disgracefully. I quote from the story:
“members of the Southwest Virginia Songwriters Association Seriously? That’s a thing?”
“So congratulations, Songwriters Association of Wherever.”
There can’t possibly be songwriters in Southwestern Virginia! These people aren’t real, therefore treat them as non-humans.
You don’t even have to read between the lines to conclude this. Just read the comments, Masnick’s Vulgus technoridicae do it for you.
You got to wonder what is wrong with this particular writer that chose to join team Masnick. Did he dream his whole life of working for a blog that methodically mocked the weak and powerless on behalf of the rich and powerful? Was that his goal in life?
And what about the trillion dollar internet industry that is so chicken-shit afraid of a handful of musicians petitioning their elected representative that they seemingly fund people like Masnick to specifically go after ordinary citizens expressing opinions that they find inconvenient. See the Google vs Oracle Amended Shill List.
But here is the funny part. Despite suffering from high self esteem Masnick and his writers are completely inept and spectacularly ignorant. They’ve probably caused more problems for their cause/paymasters than they have prevented. Follow along:
The subtext of the Techdirt piece is this:
Bad musicians from some backwoods part of America that unlike the technology industry doesn’t deserve to be represented in the corridors of power in washington DC.
1)The music of Southwestern Virginia and the Southern Appalachians is the root of much of modern American music. Bands selling out Red Rocks, The Fillmore, Madison Square Garden this summer are playing songs that originate in this region. And it’s not just obvious mountain, folk and country blues music that originate from this region. Acts like Sparklehorse, and Those Darlins have roots here. Masnick and his staff are totally ignorant of this easily googled fact.
2) This region is home to some of the most popular and longest running music festivals in the US. Everything from The Floydfest to The Galax Fiddler Convention. Each summer hundreds of thousands of people trek here from all over the world for the dozens of music festivals. Again google it. Look at those links. You might be surprised if you think music festivals in this region are just mountain fiddling and enormously popular country stars.
One would assume Goodlatte and his staff have pride in the musical heritage of Southwestern Virginia.
3) The Congressman, Bob Goodlatte, the head of the Judiciary Committee represents many of the “crappy towns” in Southwest Virginia right? During hearings earlier this year Rep Goodlatte asked Maria Pallante from the Copyright Office “Why is the debate over copyright so polarized?” This is why the debate is so polarized! Blogs like Techdirt that refer to his district as a “crappy town” and the only place he could possibly “be a hero!”
This is how it reads in the district of the very powerful House Judiciary Chairman:
Elitist Northern Californian Liberals making fun of Southwestern Virginia as an unimport region of “crappy towns” and unintelligent people.
If Google or the CCIA are still paying Masnick, they really are not getting their money’s worth. Or maybe they are, who knows.