Thanks for this post April. This was the first time I watched this footage and I was instantly struck by its similarity to the Delta Chi rape case in Florida in 1999 (which later became the subject of a documentary Raw Deal: A Question of Consent), which I discuss in my book Public Rape. You see the same kind of aggressive male camaraderie and bonding over the body of a raped woman and what is immediately striking to me is just how many times the men use the word rape. While the Delta Chi incident was also captured on tape it was pre- social media; the Steubenville case clearly escalates questions regarding the ‘question of our complicity and participation in scenes of violence’. It is really troubling/fascinating to think through the implications of what it means to have the public sharing of such images on the Internet. How does the circulation of such images impact on how rape gets talked about in public spaces? How does it redraw the lines between private/public? I would also like to hear more regarding the extent to which the circulation of such images opens up the possibility for resistant voices. In her article on the case in The New Yorker, Ariel Levy has talked about how ‘The Internet is uniquely qualified as a venue for public shaming; it is a town square big enough to put all the world’s sinners in the stocks’.
Great post, April. We’re often told sunlight is the best disinfectant and that transparency protects us, but the power to shame and punish the victim is often overlooked.
April, thank you for this thought provoking post. I am thinking about the discussion here of how one might see this incident, but also how the media is used differently. I have not studied the cases. So, the videos and pictures were captured by the attackers and those standing by, shared on what I am assuming these boys though were closed social medias (texts, closed instagram accounts) and then leaked out of those spaces by individuals on the fringe?
Also, as we discuss this example to discuss rape culture in America, that discussion seems to primarily revolve around whether there is a rape culture in America, which can be seen discussed on the YouTube link you posted. I wonder if we can meaningful conversation beyond the identification of rape culture in social media spaces? Or if the fragmented forum of social media is a place to discuss instead of ‘circulate’ content?
Thanks for a great post on a very complex set of ethical issues surrounding a highly charged instance of how online circulation can complicate these issues further, especialy in light of how the images are handled by traditional news outlets. I’m curious as to what you see as the similarities I think you’re hinting at between cases like this in the U.S. and similar cases elsewhere and why you think a distinction is made on the basis of “culture” in foreign countries even though the cases are similarly handled in popular forums and interpersonal discussions. I find it intriguing that the argument against the culture of India, for example, as one which simply facilitates such behavior, is one which gets a lot of pushback domestically. Do you see this happening in the discourse of other countries as well?
Thank you for introducing me to The Read, Chvonne. The rhetorical act of reading within the rhetorical space of an online podcast gives this particular piece a strikingly unique and powerful message. In listening to The Read, I can see the ways in which the intersections of media and message create a space for social debate that did not exist before. When I think of reading and explain reading, I think I have a hard time explaining the connections between humor, social commentary, and rhetorical agency. One of the reasons its challenging is that I am often asked to perform a read or give an example of a read and that’s something I haven’t genuinely performed. This, however, will be the example I use in the future.
Thanks for posting.
The problem is that ‘color-blind racism’ - in a post-racial (Obama) era - appears to be more sensitive to issues of race, but obscures and de-legitimizes analyses of *racism*.
The #RacismEndedWhen hashtag captured and exposed the banality of the RNC claims. It was a great example of how ‘Black Twitter’ can seemingly spontaneous generate a diverse yet coherently astute challenge to dominant status-quo thinking.
Stimulating first post! The problem with all racialized labels - such as ‘Black Twitter’ is the tendency to essentialize differences, divergences, complexities. ‘Black Twitter’ can, and should be, grasped in many ways.
As you importantly highlight, what makes it so interesting is how Black Twitter harnesses historical communicative practices and transforms them into a digital space, becoming a force to be reckoned with.
The connections and synergies between the everyday, technology and ‘blackness’ can produce new forms of digital presence and agency which has the potential to resist and subvert ‘mainstream’ media.
I really enjoyed this Chvonne. I hadn’t thought about podcasts as a remediation of radio before.
Great post, Chovonne! I think this is a great case study to match Meredith’s introduction to the concept of #BlackTwitter and black digital space. I think the really interesting thread is the idea that these space are layered on top of existing space— so, listening to The Read with headphones in may be a way to transform spaces that are not hospitable to black bodies.
Apologies for the tardy reply but I just saw this. Your comment really resonated with me. The Ood remind me of the theoretical insights of Adilufu Nama’s _Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film _. He sees the structured absence of blackness as a signature feature of the genre (10). But he maintains that while, for the most part, “black characters are absent from SF cinema, … their omission does not eliminate blackness as a source of anxiety. Churning just below the narrative surface of many SF films, blackness is symbolically present (11). The Ood are not phenotypically black but they rendered so through their close metaphorical association with slavery.