YouTube is probably the greatest anthropological project ever launched. It has managed to expose the multitudes of the human condition more than any other medium ever created, and allowed people to express themselves in more diverse ways than at any point in history. This weekly column is an outlet for me to share with you some undiscovered gems, as well some very well-trodden gems, and discuss just what it is that makes the chosen accounts so intriguing.
WHO: Brittany Venti
WHAT: The highlighted collection of a female Twitch streamer.
HOW MANY SUBSCRIBERS AT TIME OF WRITING: 16,155
WHY SHOULD I CARE: Brittany Venti, or Brittany Deer as her vlogger name suggests, is a young woman with a very high pitched voice and strong teen-girl inflection. She streams herself playing video games on video game streaming website Twitch. Being a woman on Twitch has its ups and downs. The ups are of course that strange men with too much money (a large chunk of the net-dwelling male populous) will pay subscription fees to watch a woman in a low-cut top play League of Legends for hours on end. The downs are, naturally, that these same women are subject to death threats, calls for suicide, insults, trolling and that old internet cataclysm, the 'raid'.
Raids are large-scale spamming and abusing of a system or social gathering online that is deemed worthy of trolling by the raiders due to its user base being seen as lame. This used to happen a lot in the days of personal-avatar-based interaction sims like Habbo Hotel or Second Life, and were almost always perpetrated by the eternally faceless 4Chan. Pixelated dildos would fly overhead, epithets, racial and otherwise, would cover the screen like a swarm of locusts; it was the endtimes for the poor servers and users of these generally harmless yet admittedly quite silly websites. Then a fallow period hit, and the raids stopped. Second Life and Habbo Hotel fell by the wayside, people's interest in them waned. Now they could just go on Twitter or Tumblr or Facebook, have their kooky interactions contained. The trolls were at a loss. Where would they find their victims now? Where could they get that sick thrill of someone begging them to leave them alone?
Step forward Twitch! A site where nerds play video games on camera, so you can see their margarine sweats appear on their foreheads as they get exasperated at your comments. An absolute gold mine, for sure. It even brought back the classic action of swatting, where an armed SWAT team is sent to a streamers house with the impression that they've murdered their family.
So where does Brittany Venti fit into all of this? Well, she's a streamer who ends up crying on camera as a result of being verbally abused by hordes of (probably) men on her stream chat. Or does she?
It appears Brittany Venti acts as a kind of reverse dominatrix. Instead of inflicting pain and degradation on her subjects with spit, paddles and cig butts, they turn their venom onto her, while she whines and cries at their attempts to send her insane with John Cena videos.
She pretends to be extremely childlike and idiotic, which riles up the trolls to no end. They appear to have taken the bait hook line and sinker, perhaps just wanting to believe that a beautiful, stupid creature exists on their screen that they can abuse into tears, like gently bifurcating a semi-conscious fawn, holding its head just above the damp foliage.
In essence, Venti is getting subscription fees to be a kind of spiders web for foam-mouthed troll hatred. In a way, I'm disappointed in these guys. Where once raids were done with at least a bit of humour and guile (though they could be unforgivably racist at times), these are just pathetic attempts at unnecessary empowerment using what is quite clearly a fake catalyst. Venti's methods are so plainly false, and her act so clearly put on, that you can only reach the conclusion that she and her... 'fans' live off each other, parasitic twins in the now-festering womb of eBaumsWorld or whatever. For her, the attention and reverse-admiration; for them, the opportunity to unleash all of their blackened venom onto a supposedly unsuspecting victim, a pleasure deprived of them for far too long.
Perhaps it's better this way, though. Maybe, instead of trolls flying their Enola Gays over people who it actually upsets and affects, abuse wormholes like Brittany Venti are shielding the those who cannot cope so well. It's a magnificent misdirection, and it benefits us all in the long run. You're doing the Lord's work, Ms. Venti. Long may it continue.