You must be joking?

I was first drawn to @3Amovement and @RevNormanPrice by Stephen Fry's tweets. At the time @3Amovement was claiming to be "The Reverend Norman Price" and his reason for dual accounts was @RevNormanPrice had been hacked by Anonymous. Hence Fry's above tweet. It's the one below that first brought them to my attention and he's right to take the absurd point of view with good humour.
Like Fry I had initially taken the tweets at face value but started to have doubts after reading a little more. His character seemed inconsistent, 70+ yet understood memes and, despite supposedly being from America, a lot of his references were distinctly British. He also managed to play the fool a little too well. For example, he followed Stephen Fry yet claimed to not really know who he was...

The giveaway tweet though is here:

The following tweets from helpful followers of mine who explain a little more:
Poe's law, in broader form, is:
Without a blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of extremism or fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing.[2]
The key point is that both accounts push this blog here: Rise Up America Party

The link to Freezepage suggests that the Rise Up America Party has already blown cover in the past when this article was posted there last year:
Being a psychology student, I was always fascinated with the psychosis associated with Conservatism and religion. When you mix the two together, you get a lethal combination of pious pretentious and bigoted morons. Last year, I started a joke account called @MBachmann4Pres and named myself Keith Roberts of Minnesota. The account quickly attracted attention as Bachmann, at the time, had been catapulted into the worldwide spotlight and it was such a blatant reflection of the mindset of her followers even if it was exaggerated. Keith was homophobic, sexist, slightly racist and a total theocrat.

Things didn’t really take off though until Ricky Gervais sought out my account and RT’d a tweet celebrating Christopher Hitchens death. Here’s what you need to understand about that tweet and other tweets of its nature. Never at one stage did I EVER believe what I was typing. Not once. Everything was an extreme parody and/or exaggeration. I rationalized typing this ridiculous bile with not ever having actual intent behind it than to lampoon the regular old joe American Christian Conservative. I understand a lot of people took offense to the tweets, but I looked at Keith as just another Westboro Baptist Church-esque figure and if they could get away with their disgusting anti-gay tirades then I could get away with half of the stuff they did and all the while never meaning it.

I want you all to understand that the purpose of the account was NOT for attention, but more as a social experiment type of thing. I am enamored with the rationality behind the American Christian Conservative mindset and by creating the character of Keith I really did become one of them. I wrote like them and I even thought like them. It’s sort of like getting into character for a movie or tv show. No, you’re not actually that person that you portray but you can see things from their perspective no matter how wrong they are. I actually found myself hating “libtards” with a passion and I’d get off the computer and think “wow so that’s what’s it like”. Keith was a way for me to really delve into the world of American Christian Conservatives. Almost a case study without being a case study if you will.

For me, one of the funny and most interesting things about adopting the Keith persona was adopting the Christian Conservative language. Search twitter for “libtards”. You’ll see the people using this word are all supposedly Christians. Yet libtard is a hybrid of “retard” (mentally retarded) and liberal. How loving and tolerant of them right? Sort of raises that question WWJD? I also had fun injecting “radical” and “militant” into sentences. Christian Conservatives like to employ hyperbole to get their point across yet it makes them look ridiculous and almost parody-like. Which is why I think I fitted under the term “poe” so effortlessly. More of their rhetoric includes describing gay rights as the “evil homosexual agenda” and women’s rights as “murdering babies”. I always found these types of lines quite comical and I think if you look back at a lot of the things I said KNOWING the actual intent behind them you could probably appreciate the humor in them.

I know some of you probably think the Keith account was pointless but look at it this way. I created a whole community of atheists, liberals and gays around me and you all connected with each other and made a lot of new possibly life-long friends. That type of achievement is priceless in a way. My account was never intended to put Christian Conservatives in a bad light but see how far I could push the rhetoric and see which of them still supported me. You would be very surprised if you knew the true extent of Christian Conservatives on twitter who agreed with Keith’s views. In a way I think “Keith” really spread the Christian Conservative rhetoric beyond their little bubble and out into the wider twitter community and exposed them as the hateful bigots they really are.

Am I going to apologize? No I’m not. If people were stupid enough to take the account seriously and not take hints to the account being a “poe” then that is their own fault. I honestly couldn’t have given any more hints without actually coming out and exposing myself (and I even did that earlier in the year but played it off as being “hacked”). The only times I felt bad is when people would seemingly spend a large chunk of their lives trying to report me or expose me. I mean, you’d think there would be better things to do like targeting real bigots. People who actually do think this stuff. Anyway…

This is the final nail in the coffin that is the crazy crazy Roberts family. What a year! What a journey! May we remember them in good humor and circumstances. #4MoreYears
That the account is clearly a continuation of this story is not in my opinion a bad thing. In my early phone in career I advocated a few absurd points of view which I didn't entirely believe.

Also I think the constant push for people to reveal their actual identity online is not something we should all allow ourselves to be herded into. It's in the interests of governments and corporations because they want to use the internet to tell you what to do and how to behave, with absolute authority and certainty. Pandering to their need for a lack of online anonymity but removes some of the fun of the net for me. You cannot and should not be sure what you're reading online is real. You cannot be sure of anything anyone tells you ever. The moment we lose sight of that in the online world we'll be in danger of mistaking the map of reality it offers us for the territory it describes.

With due thanks to:


Popular Posts