Everything is Awful.
Sometimes, I really like the internet. Like when I find the perfect Taylor Swift gif, or when an exasperated Heidi Cruz has to remind everyone that, no, her husband is NOT the zodiac killer.
But other days, I really hate it. Like when I see what journalist Julia Ioffe has gone through over the past week.
Context: on April 27th, GQ published a profile of Melania Trump by Ioffe. Significant due to Ms. Trump’s (relative) spotlight-avoiding during this presidential run, the piece was quickly devoured by the digerati and chattering masses. It looked at Ms. Trump’s family history, personal narrative and current business interests. All in all, there wasn’t anything I found all that crazy, though many in the media - including strange bedfellows Maxim and Fox News - thought the article crossed the line of good taste by digging into Ms. Trump’s family.
But then Ms. Trump publicly stated she wasn’t happy with the piece, saying it was “dishonest.” And the internet’s terrible side exploded forth in all its awfulness.
Over the next few days, Ioffe started sharing some of the harassment she’d been receiving, most of it anti-semitic. People tweeted pictures of violent Nazi propaganda at her, photoshopped the WWII Jewish star on photos of her, appropriated a popular movie poster to tell her to go “Back to the Oven.” Even the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer got in on it. And it wasn’t just online - Ioffe began receiving phone calls with Hitler speeches on the other line. Ioffe has handled this with an impressive amount of humor, retweeting the abuse while criticizing attackers for their pop culture references, but she's also opened up to media about how scary it's been.
Obviously, these awful people and their shitty and violent ideas existed before the internet - social media just makes it much easier to share their vile thoughts.
Ioffe’s an immigrant. Born in Moscow, her and her family fled Russia and landed in the States in 1990. And what were they fleeing from, you may ask? Anti-Semitism.
FFS. Everything is awful.