Sarah Zacharias, Wyoming state director for UniteWomen.org, said she and Lanker-Simons are friends. Zacharias spoke Monday during a campus demonstration against UW Crushes. Zacharias said she was with Lanker-Simons when she found the post on UW Crushes.Did Zacharias report it to the police? Did the police initiate the investigation because of the demonstration? How awful to have the police seize your computer! It was the decision to leverage the Facebook posting into a demonstration — stirring up fear and outrage — that turned this thing into a hoax (and brought the apparently unforeseen horrible consequence of the police going through her computer). Thinking about the potential for the police to search your computer should make victims of true threats worry about calling the police, but it should also be a powerful deterrent to doing a fake threat.
“If the police are going to give her handcuffs for this, they need to give her an Oscar as well for her acting skills because I saw a woman devastated,” she said. Zacharias said she’d stake her own reputation on Lanker-Simons being innocent of creating the controversial post.
But let's consider the Facebook posting alone:
“I want to hatef--- Meg Lanker- so hard. That chick that runs her liberal mouth all the time and doesn’t care who knows it. I think its hot and it makes me angry. One night with me and shes gonna be a good Republican b----.”It's really not in threat form. It expresses a desire, not an intent to do something. And, let's be clear: "hatefuck" does not mean rape. It means: "To have sex, especially in a rough manner, with someone who one finds physically attractive but personally loathsome." So — assuming that Lanker really did write the post — we're seeing the work of a sockpuppet + moby. She was a sockpuppet to the extent that she was complimenting herself, proclaiming herself extremely seductive. She was a moby to the extent that she pretended to be one of her own antagonists and made that fake entity speak in a way that would bring her antagonists into disrepute.
Sockpuppets and mobys are ordinary characters all over the internet. As I said in my earlier post about Lanker-Simons: "People need better bullshit detectors!" The elements of sockpuppetry and mobyism are all over that Facebook posting. "Crush" pages for various institutions — like the University of Wyoming, in this case — invite statements about crushes on various students and make these statements anonymous. Of course, students are tempted to post about themselves, advertising how attractive they are. And of course, they are tempted to weave in their political opinions. The Lanker-Simons posting is exactly what you ought to expect. Sharpen up, everyone.
But what are the school authorities supposed to do? If they slough off these postings as the usual internet flimflam, they'll be denounced for minimizing violence against women. There lies the real problem: There's pressure against sharpening up.
Remember when feminism was about consciousness-raising?