So if you haven’t heard yet, let me get you up to speed: as a Superbowl stunt, Coke created a Twitter bot that had one basic purpose: if you tweeted something with the Hashtag “#MakeItHappy,” the bot would then pick it up and convert into Ascii art. It’s an incredibly simple concept, and one that should, by all rights, work quite easily. It’s also easily exploited; even if you have something in place to automatically discard profane tweets, someone, somewhere, is going to figure out a way to exploit the concept and fuck around with it in a way that makes it do something awful. That’s essentially an expectation at this point, and right about now you’d be expecting me to follow up with an assessment about how Anonymous or 4chan figured out how to make it reblog Ascii shitting dick nipples* or something.
What you probably weren’t expecting is that the trolls this time around were Gawker.
Gawker editor Max Read, in what can only be described as an incredibly trollish moment, decided that he wanted to put together his own Twitter bot devoted to one purpose: to Tweeting the entirety of Mein Kampf at the Coke bot, making it turn Hitler’s biography into Ascii art, so that he could make fun of it. Exactly as you’d expect, the bot began doing exactly that, which he then turned into an article for Gawker, essentially running with the joke that Coca Cola is run by white supremacists. Coke ended up suspending the campaign and making an announcement that Read’s behavior was kind of the point of what they were trying to fight against, which he then turned into another joke about white supremacy. Coke also admitted that they’re terrible about dealing with trolls, because duh.
So in the interest of full disclosure, I could give a fuck less about Coke as a company one way or the other; I try not to drink soda much anymore in general, and until Coke starts making coffee I have no interest in them. Further, I generally like Deadspin, a Gawker subsidiary, perfectly fine, because one of the writers ran a campaign for a while discussing deceased wrestlers in a way that was fairly complimentary, but I’ve never paid much attention to the core site as a whole. What I have spent a lot of time doing is seeing how the rigors of horrible internet behavior can take their toll on human beings because my hobby has been embroiled in one of the biggest mass-trolling wars ever, so it is with that still fresh in my frame of reference that I want to, real quick, say the following:
Max Read is a bottom-feeding piece of human excrement, and it’s no surprise that the very first thing he thought of when trolling Coke was “Of course, Hitler!” because that’s exactly the kind of terrible thing he’d do for clickbait. His jokes and trolling don’t counteract that Coke is basically right, the internet and your experiences on it are exactly what you put into it, and he put his tiny, tiny dick into it.
I could give a fuck less that the site is clickbaiting for money; if you’re seriously that bad at making content people would actually want to look at such that you have to produce articles that suck people in based on lying and bullshit, that’s your cross to bear. I also don’t care about “journalistic integrity,” because as current EIC AJ Daulerio has basically admitted publicly, they have none. What I do care about is the fact that, for the past six months, the internet in one of my specific corners of the woods has been a goddamn shitshow, to the point where it’s actively bled into the real world and infects literally every possible place I could garner entertainment. I can’t even look up unrelated things without having to see something about it, and it’s tiresome.
So when someone who works in the public eye in this capacity would see something that says “The internet’s negative, let’s do that less,” and his immediate thought is, “Hitler,” with all due… no, fuck that, he’s due absolutely no respect: Max Read is a fundamentally terrible human being who took the first opportunity he could to do something mean on the internet, to make himself money, and decided the best way to do that was with Hitler. He is a shit-shaped sub-human manifestation of Godwin’s Law, animate through a cruel flaw in natural selection, and the world will be no poorer when he eventually returns to posting horrible things in the comments sections of Youtube upon the loss of his current work.
Fuck him, and fuck Gawker.
* Yes, that’s a thing. No, don’t Google it, it’s exactly what it sounds like.