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What the world is reading

When Adrian Chen uncovered Michael Brutsch’s identity as the notorious internet troll Violentacrez last Tuesday,Brutsch felt exposed and it certainly didn’t suit him well. Violentacrez

Written by Priyanka Kotamraju | Published: October 16, 2012 2:27:12 am

Unmasking the biggest troll on the web

When Adrian Chen uncovered Michael Brutsch’s identity as the notorious internet troll Violentacrez last Tuesday,Brutsch felt exposed and it certainly didn’t suit him well. Violentacrez,one of Internet’s most reviled characters,has been farming out an inexhaustible supply of racism,porn,misogyny,and “exotic abominations yet unnamed,all on the sprawling online community Reddit”,writes Chen.

Reddit,called the “front page of the Internet”,is essentially a social news site where anyone can post and start a forum. And Violentacrez,the most hated figure on Reddit is also its most beloved user. With ‘jailbait’,‘creepyshots’,‘chokeabitch’ and other equally offensive forums,Brutsch is more than a monster,says Chen…“The self-described ‘creepy uncle’ of Reddit has played a crucial role in Reddit’s transformation as an online juggernaut comparable to Facebook.” All the while,critics cried out the same refrain: ‘How does he get away with this?’ Under the guise of ‘free speech rhetoric’,Brutsch,with his influential friends,has helped the Reddit staff deal with the seedy side of Reddit acting as an excellent moderator and disallowing anything illegal to be published. But that doesn’t excuse Brutsch’s conduct,a man who’s as much of a troll in real life as he is online.

Outside Magazine

The Beautiful Game

In Argentina,the world’s top producer of soccer talent,rival soccer fan clubs don’t just hate,they kill,writes Patrick Symmes,who took a wild ride through the scariest fútbol underworld on earth. These organised syndicates are called barras bravas—literally “rowdy gangs”—and they run elaborate scams,capturing stadium’s concessions,monopolising sales of sodas,burgers and jerseys.

“La Doce has one of the best scams,taking in $150,000 a week in parking fees for home games. The barras routinely skim off players’ salaries. And they take cuts of the transfer fees charged when an Argentine player leaves for the European premier leagues,” says Symmes. But the barras don’t stop at profiteering; they’re also implicated in crime,drug dealing and beating not just rival fans but their own players. The anti-violence group Salvemos al Fútbol reports of 269 soccer deaths in recent years,with much of the blood-spilling moving away from the stadiums. This sense of rising crisis,of a country and a sport destroying itself,was what lured me back to Argentina,writes Symmes. “The Argentines invented a new way to steal money,now they will ruin their own beautiful game. All while raining goals.”

London Review of Books

God wielded the buzzer

In his piece on American writer David Foster Wallace,Christian Lorentzen seems to suggest that the depression that hounded DFW through most of his life and led to his suicide in 2008 was all a preparation for his writing career. “Overdoing things would turn out to be part of his genius. He was a melancholic from around the age of ten. There was a picture of Kafka in his bedroom with the caption: ‘The disease was life itself.’ In the spring of his sophomore year,he was for the first time suicidal.” It was then he wrote a short story,The Clang Birds,‘about a fictional bird that flies in ever decreasing circles until it disappears up its own ass’. That summer,his mother moved out,leaving DFW shocked and betrayed. “If the story had a different ending—if Wallace were still around— we might see each breakdown as somehow pushing Wallace closer to his destiny as a novelist,culminating in the crack-up that sent him to Granada House,the home for recovering addicts in Boston that provided material for one of the three strands of Infinite Jest,” writes Lorentzen.

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