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· Read 3/2/2021

Biographical preview

  • Does she write for public audiences?
  • Is this her first book?
  • Significance of MIT Press

    • Different presses are known for having a strong catalogue in certain areas
    • MIT Press known for arts criticism, new media, STS
    • Trust that they've gone through some review, editing

Positive comments

  • Empathetic voice
  • Transparently laid out thought process and struggles
  • Acknowledging the bounded nature of the timeline; so many people try to make things more important than they are; strong grasp of what trolling is not
  • Outed her brother as an Internet troll in the first paragraph
  • Good job not sensationalizing 4chan, matter of fact, matched own experiences, built trust in reader

    • Rapport with field, rapport with reader
  • Anthro perspective: emic, etic
  • Telling two parallel stories, then at the end saying they're the same
  • Mix of things I was more familiar with (media studies/ecology), kinda familiar with (media industry, anthro), less familiar with (folklore, commodity fetishism)
  • Engagement with history, and its own standing as a historical moment


  • Details about how she achieved a balance; distance
  • "My trolls" and getting critique from them; want details about what they were critical of, what she changed
  • Ethnography re: criminal, morally questionable behavior
  • When there are flaws, are they fatal flaws?
  • Symbolic demographics

    • Clever but insufficient, can unravel quickly in many ways
    • Interesting conclusions elided
    • Proximity and assumption of whiteness, not actual whiteness
    • Disclosing child trauma and then following up with "lol jk" could be covering something
    • Connection between truth and surface level
    • Whiteness and maleness can mean different things in different places
    • Action vs intent: maybe she's trying to get at the "doing" of race
    • Do non-white 4chan users assume others are white male? Or like them?
    • Does online culture coerce people into a more white male personality?
  • Declaration of identity in the service of (e.g. "I'm Black and gay and I think [insert racist, homophobic opinion]")
  • She doesn't define corpus

    • Close reading of text
    • Multi-sited ethnography
  • Wants to sidestep psychology, but uses the term dissociation

Trolls and media industry

  • Cultural digestion
  • Trump feedback loop
  • Hacker counterculture
  • Generative
  • Why compare memes and products of memes to
  • Centered around spectacle