Who doesn’t love the wisdom of the crowds? Hey, it’s a great thing if you’re seeking comment from the oft-disrespected “stakeholders” known as the people who pay your salaries. Comment periods for proposed regulation ensures a healthy mix of intelligent commentary and unhinged partisanship. You know, like pretty much any congressional hearing.
On the other hand, opening up your thing for public comment via the internet tends to ensure those with an agenda will try to take control of the thing. Ask pretty much any corporate entity that saw millions of internet users and still decided the best way to take the pulse of the connected was to trot out a perfunctory CAPTCHA and crowdsurf their way into increased profitability.
Behold the wreckage: The PepsiCo crowdsourcing that suggested the next Mountain Dew product should align itself with one of dozens of porn fetishes (“Gushing Granny”) or things possibly even less tasteful (“MTN JEW,” “Methamphetagreen”). Maybe the brains in the Missouri capital thought the same internet that voted to send Taylor Swift to perform a concert at a school for the deaf and rapper Pitbull to a remote Alaskan Walmart to plug his latest album would take this complaint box for bigots seriously and not do turn its sanctimonious suggestion box into another toy for trolls.
I’m sure they’ve learned something from this. Unfortunately, the lesson learned won’t be “acceptance” or “don’t write laws specifically to make people you don’t like miserable.” What they will learn is that you just can’t leave a complaint box open on the internet, as Morgan Sung reports for TechCrunch:
A Missouri government tip site for submitting complaints and concerns about gender-affirming care is down after people flooded it with fanfiction, rambling anecdotes and the “Bee Movie” script.
The Missouri Attorney General’s office launched an online form for “Transgender Center Concerns” in late March, inviting those who’ve witnessed “troubling practices” at clinics that provide gender-affirming care to submit tips. The site didn’t ask users to name patients or healthcare providers, but encouraged users to complete the form “in as much detail as possible.”
But after days of TikTok and Twitter users spamming the site with gibberish, the tip line has been removed from the Missouri government site entirely. Instead of the online form, the link to the tip line now says that the page no longer exists.
This is a far, far better thing than electing the creator of 4chan (and then, a bit later, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un) “Man of the Year” in a Times poll. This is people acting in concert to prevent assholes from pushing through the sort of garbage the Missouri legislature clearly wants to see: bigoted fanfic detailing how a trans person somehow upended the lives of themselves or their loved ones. This is the kind of filler a shitbox like this deserves.
Why “Bee Movie?” It’s been a bountiful source for memes for pretty much its entire existence. And, as such, its existence as a powerful meme cannot be entirely explained. Attempting to wrap your minds around the contours of the unexpected internet-wide embrace of an digitally animated film starring ultra-smug comedian Jerry Seinfeld is like trying to explain why some pinball machines are great, while others just kind of suck. This blend of subjective and objective cannot be accurately described. It is because it is. It works or it doesn’t.
This one does work. The “Bee Movie” script is a well-known word bomb that trolls (well-meaning or otherwise) deploy to clog up the “please fill in the box” machinations of people who don’t understand how the internet actually works. The disruption of this malicious attempt to cater to the worst residents of Missouri has been derailed by a script that suggests, without irony, it’s possible for a bee to sustain a romantic relationship with a human being.
However impossible it may be to explain why the “Bee Movie” script was the preferred text bomb lobbed into Missouri’s gaping ass(hat) hole, it’s still more explicable than the response from the state’s top prosecutor:
Madeline Sieren, press secretary for Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, blamed “far left activists” for breaking the site. She said the tip line is down temporarily.
“Rather than standing on their supposed science to back up their facts, they’re resorting to trying to hack our system to silence victims of the exact network we’re attempting to expose,” Sieren told TechCrunch in an email.
The “far left” didn’t do this. Everyone who isn’t as hateful as you and your supposedly-hetero government bedfellows did this. People who understand the nastiness of the effort did this. The far left may have been involved, but there are plenty of people close to the political center who likely felt compelled to treat a state-designed garbage receptacle as, well, a receptacle for garbage.
Furthermore, you’re also an idiot for claiming this was people “trying to hack” the system. You (the state you’re speaking for) created a form inviting people to respond. People responded. Just because they weren’t the people you wanted to respond doesn’t mean this was a “hacking” attempt meant to “silence” whoever the fuck you wanted this “I don’t like non-binary sexuality” complaint form to appeal to.
Face the facts, Missouri. You were trolled. And you should have seen it coming. That you didn’t clearly demonstrates the shortsightedness of this anti-trans hate, as well as the pinhole pig eyes of the legislators who are allowed to foster hatred and blow tax dollars on incredibly stupid snitch lines they think might give them the political ammo to codify bigotry.
There are plenty of authoritarian, ultra-religious countries willing to applaud garbage views like this, Madeline Sieren and everyone you speak for. If you don’t like your shittiness being mocked and disrupted here in the United States, you’re always welcome to leave.
Missouri Nukes Its ‘Tell Us If You’ve Seen A Trans’ Reporting Form After It’s Swarmed With ‘Bee Movie’ Scripts
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