tucker & dale and the instigation of internet mob culture
Re-watching Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (the parody movie where the rednecks in the woods are the hapless protagonists and its the bunch of paranoid college kids causing all the problems.)
I’d forgotten how much the situation was escalated by the one teenager who was clearly looking for an excuse to hurt people. The college kid that, at the beginning of the movie, explicitly declares himself a better person than those around him.
He’s the one who tells his friends “what’s really going on here is worse than you think.” He’s the one who insists they handle it themselves and not through official channels. He’s the one who casts his opponents as “pure evil” and says “we finally have a chance to fight back without rules.” When some of the other teenagers express uncertainty he’s the one that says if they can’t handle what needs to be done, maybe they deserve to die, too.
“We have to burn this place to the ground. Destroy it completely. You have no IDEA what this is all about, do you Allison? These freaks are evil. And they deserve everything that’s coming to them.”
I’d never realized before how closely every single plot point in the movie mirrors the way mob culture instigators will rile up the masses under the guise of “social justice”:
- You assume bad faith in your opponents.
- You declare your opponents subhuman and acceptable to hurt by any means.
- You discourage the use of peaceful or official methods to address the issue.
- You keep your followers in line through fear of the “other” and threats of ousting them into that group if they become “contaminated.”
- You revel in as much chaos and pain as you can inflict–
–after all, you’re the good guy.