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In lecture on Wednesday, we discussed how Anonymous represents a kind of activism defined by a sort of public of private individuals and what happens when it is the private subject who acts politically. However, I think in having these discussions it is crucial to remember the origins of Anonymous and it’s roots as a predominantly white male collective with homophobic and sexist viewpoints. Anonymous existed before computers and internet was a common feature of most homes, and thus the founding members were necessarily privileged in certain senses and were likely white men and the initial community was absolutely shaped by privileged and sometimes hostile viewpoints which still persist in certain ways today. Certain sexist and homophobic viewpoints are clear in even relatively recently published content released by Anonymous- in particular, I was shocked by the comparisons that Anonymous drew in describing their rage and vengeance tactics as “what you, deep down inside, want to do to your wife when she doesn’t make you dinner when you come home” and other deeply misogynistic situations in their warning video to Fox News cited by “Our Weirdness Is Free”.

I think it’s important to remember, in discussing Anonymous serving as a cause-celebrity of private individuals who work politically for the anti-celebrity, that Anonymous in many instances (and certainly many early instances) of it’s political activism is acting for someone from whom they are quite distanced- acting for young teenage girls or for minorities that don’t have the resources Anonymous has- and thus are dictating what they, a minority in a position of privilege and a minority that uses sexist and homophobic rhetoric, perceive to be justice instead of engaging with and listening to the very people on behalf of whom they claim to be working.

The separation from Anonymous to the very serious causes in which they intervene is the reason they are able to continue intervening “for the lulz”. Additionally, their outward admittance of “lulz” as motivation for their political action demonstrates the separation of these individuals from the causes they wreak havoc in. Their activism seems, at least partially, to be motivated for their own celebrity and personal enjoyment and not for the individual or cause they are intervening in.