This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things | Whitney Phillips

Summary of: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture
By: Whitney Phillips


Embark on a journey exploring the fascinating world of internet trolling and its relationship with mainstream culture in Whitney Phillips’ ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’. Discover the intricacies of the trolling subculture, from the particularly vicious to the harmlessly amusing, as well as the diverse forms and intentions it encompasses. Uncover the origins of trolling and how it has evolved from being a simple menace to online communities to a complex social behavior that challenges and critiques mainstream narratives. Learn how trolling, despite its darker aspects, can sometimes reveal uncomfortable truths, influence society, and blur the line between its tactics and those of mainstream media.

The Art of Trolling

Trolling, an online subculture that originated from posting disruptive and offensive comments with the aim of eliciting a negative reaction from the victim. These self-identified internet trolls leverage their skills in highly stylized tactics that intentionally provoke others and produce Lulz – an aggressive form of humor that mocks everything and anything. While some forms of trolling are harmless, others are close to crossing the legal threshold for harassment. This summary explores the complex nature of trolling and the various people and intentions behind it.

The Evolution of Trolling

Trolling has evolved from a negative behavior that threatened online communities to a subculture and source of mainstream success. This has led to the emergence of memes as a form of internet communication and the rise of websites like 4chan. While trolling has become more accepted, it can still have harmful consequences.

RIPtrolls: When Grief and Trolling Collide

In the late 2000s, Facebook groups for young deceased teens started appearing, inviting public condolence messages. These public groups became prone to offensive messages from RIPtrolls. However, some argue that by criticizing grief tourists, who only air their false sympathies for the dead on the sideline, RIPtrolls form an unlikely social commentary. Additionally, they indirectly trolled media outlets whose continuous reports of dead white teens’ deaths further sensationalized the tragedy and could lead to increased teen suicide rates. This phenomenon highlights the fine line between deplorable trolling behaviors and the context in which they occur.

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