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Monday, March 16 • 4:30pm - 4:50pm
Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture

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To quote a famous Internet meme, trolling is why we can't have nice things online. Or at least that's what we have been led to believe. In this provocative book, Whitney Phillips argues that trolling, widely condemned as obscene and deviant, actually fits comfortably within the contemporary media landscape. Trolling may be obscene, but, Phillips argues, it isn't all that deviant. Trolls' actions are born of and fueled by culturally sanctioned impulses – which are just as damaging as the trolls' most disruptive behaviors.
Phillips describes, for example, the relationship between trolling and sensationalist corporate media – pointing out that for trolls, exploitation is a leisure activity; for media, it's a business strategy. She shows how trolls, "the grimacing poster children for a socially networked world," align with social media. And she documents how trolls, in addition to parroting media tropes, also offer a grotesque pantomime of dominant cultural tropes, including gendered notions of dominance and success and an ideology of entitlement. We don't just have a trolling problem, Phillips argues; we have a culture problem. This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things isn't only about trolls; it's about a culture in which trolls thrive.

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avatar for Whitney Phillips

Whitney Phillips

Communication Lecturer, Humboldt State University
I have a BA in Philosophy from Humboldt State University (2004), an MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) from Emerson College (2007), and in 2012 received my PhD in English with a Digital Culture/Folklore structured emphasis from the University of Oregon. I am currently a Communication... Read More →

Monday March 16, 2015 4:30pm - 4:50pm CDT
ACC Ballroom G

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