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May 10, 2022 59 mins

Just listen. Guest Margaret Killjoy.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
We love your plants, Sofie, everyone loves your plant listeners.
People on the internet find Sophie on Twitter and tell
her you like her plant. It's a raven z eazy
and it brings me so much happiness. It does. It's plant.
It's a good plant. It seems very goth. It's like
that song What's Something Goth? The Black Parade? That song

(00:22):
was pretty goth right from from when when I was
in high school. That seems go. Yeah, it was like that, Margaret,
I'm not laughing at your choice? How you doing my choice?
That was just like the one song when I think
about like goth stuff from high school, that was a song.
That's the only thing I remember. You know, I actually

(00:45):
have culture. Yeah, as soon as I left high school,
I did not notice a pop culture for ten years
um and I was way too elite of a goth
at that time to do be even listening to God
from my own era. I was far more interested Sisters
of Mercy. I've never even heard of that, But I
was never gone. I was never into that stuff. I
was just adjacent to it. Because the goth kids were

(01:07):
also the kids you were most likely to be able
to play d and D with so yes, yeah, that's
that's how I caught. So this is Behind the Bastards
and we're here with Margaret Killjoy. This is a podcast
about people you can play D and D with when
you are in high school, like Margaret Eldritch from Sisters
of Mercy. Yeah, pretty good DN D person. I wish,

(01:30):
I mean, yes, yes, Margaret, how do you feel about like,
what is the fifth edition versus I'm still a path finder?
You know, path finder guy? Like I never got past
three five. It gave me everything I wanted in terms
of rules. I actually like five five more than three
point five. I wasn't expecting that to be the case.
I thought three point five felt done and then fourth

(01:53):
edition was obviously a nightmare. And um, I started playing
five E and it's my favorite Dungeons and Drag and
I can elitistly claim to be playing since uh a
D and D. Yeah, that was my first generation was
a D and D. I do remember thack. Oh by
the way, this is also again behind the Bastards and

(02:13):
we're here. What do we? What do we? What is
our what is our job? Here? Are we not talking
about D and D? Not not today alright? But with
what we are talking with, Margaret Coo, who who is
the newest person on our network, Cool Zone Media. That's right,
that's right. We have we have contractually locked you in

(02:36):
um to producing content and entering the death spiral of
content creation for podcasts. I was I was going to say,
I'm really thrilled and very happy, but okay, I'm always
going to call it a death spiral because it is. Um, Margaret,
how are you liking the spiral? You know, all of
life is a death spiral. That's right, that's right. Just

(02:58):
you choose which spiral to to go down. Yeah. It's
like a water park, yeah yeah, or a toilet Yeah,
I mean toilets and water parks very similar in a
number of ways. Um. So yeah, well we'll move on.
Um Margaret, how do you feel about people being harassed
by the internet until the commit suicide? Generally negative? Yeah,

(03:22):
that was a bad Yeah, that's not my not my
favorite thing that's ever happened. It's not. It's like it's
really I think at this point everyone here has seen
what happens when people come into the crosshairs of a
digital hate mop, right, Like it's like a daily occurrence
on the Internet now and yeah, so I think there

(03:44):
is kind of some resilience that's been built up, like
like we've all kind of been vaccinated from gamer Gates,
So I think maybe people are a little more prepared
for it now than they used to be. But if
you remember like gamer Gate times, especially to fourteen, when
these mobs started going after these women who were like
video game reviewers and stuff and how like, it felt

(04:08):
really unprecedented and it was just like this this bizarre,
horrible thing that we all started to realize was going
to be with us forever. Um. Yeah, it's it's it's
it's a problem, um and it's a problem that has
uh continues on. Like it's one of those things normally,
like people talk pretty openly about like, oh, who's the

(04:29):
main character on Twitter today? You know, who's being like
harassed or whatever today. But there's like and that's kind
of the side of it, I guess when I'm talking
about like that there's been some kind of immunity built up.
That's the side of it where there's like, oh, yeah,
you just know that like every now and then, if
you have any kind of prominence on the internet, you know,
you could wind up getting like yelled at or made
fun of or whatever for a period of time. And

(04:50):
that's just something, especially if you're gonna be making things
for the Internet, you just accept it. Um. But even
though it's gotten a little more standardized, there's this really
tremendously deadly underbelly to it um. Up until June of
Near was a well loved developer of emulators. Uh Near,

(05:10):
also known as bu b y Uu, was non binary
as well as autistic. These characteristics made them an ideal
target of a website called Kiwi Farms. Do you know
anything about Kiwi Farms, Margaret, No, This sounds like the
kind of nightmare stuff that I've avoided successfully until this moment.
That's a good thing to do. It's a good thing
to avoid. Um. In brief, Kiwi Farms is a forum

(05:32):
where people gather information on and harass individuals they call
loll cows um. The name comes from the fact that
the behavior of these people, specifically their reactions to harassment,
provide an endless font of lolls, like a cow provides milk. Right,
That's why they That's how they're looking at this, Like
we have this like stable of people who we can
kind of prod and poke intermittently to like make us laugh. Um,

(05:56):
that's the attit. Yeah, it's yeah, it's it sounds good.
It sounds like a lot of people who are doing
well in life and emotionally. So one of Near's friends
wrote a Google doc explaining what Kiwi Farms did to Near,
who seems to have been targeted for the same reason.
Predators usually picked their targets um Near. He had been
abused before, Um, and they were seen as kind of
vulnerable quote and this is from from one of their friends.

(06:20):
Not to be defeated. In their pursuit of utter emotional
and psychological destruction, they went after who Near treasured most
their friends, doxing some directly, harassing others, and even specifically
seeking out supicidal people to target. That broke Near after
falling down a spiral of depression and eventually breaking off
contact with everyone last year, I feared for the worst. Eventually,
they were luckily able to get help and found medication

(06:41):
that helped them cope with the psychological scarce of abuse
in late I first heard from Near again in late October,
and we even started having chats. It seemed things were
getting better. Unfortunately, medication can be a fickle beast. It
didn't work forever. The looming threat of Kiwi Farms, of
their power to destroy not just Near but also their friends,
caused them daily anxiety that just wouldn't go away. Worried

(07:01):
that their friends would feel burdened by their condition again,
Near decided to avoid the subject. I only found out
about this relapse today. To the people of Kiwi Farms,
this is a video game that people on the other
side of the screen or real makes no difference that
a light in the kill counter going up just like
an FPS player would. Lacking any empathy, they have no
regard for the damage they inflict on others. So as

(07:21):
you might have guessed Near committed suicide in June, of
Kiwi Farms did not have any anything to do with
the suicide or of encouraging harassment against Near. Um it's
worth noting that Near is the third person in recent
years whose suicide has been blamed to some extent on
relentless harassment from Kiwi Farms. So today we're going to
talk about where Kiwi Farms comes from. Um, they're not

(07:42):
the primary subject of our episode, though, we will be
talking about their very first victim, and and not just
their very first victim we're going to be talking about
the person I think is probably the first victim of
concerted online harassment, like the first person that this happened
to in any kind of sizeable way. Um. And that

(08:02):
person is a I guess you'd call them an internet
content creator named Chris Chan um, or at least that's
the name she kind of has picked for herself, the
first the first victim of like gamified abuse and cool. Yeah, yeah,
do you know what anything about this person? I know,
I don't. I know a lot about people harassing people

(08:24):
on the Internet and it causing real life impacts and
bomb threats and docks and all that stuff. So Chris
Chan is where that playbook started getting sketched out for
the first time. Christian has been kind of continuously harassed
for something like twenty years now. Uh it is. It
has been going on a tremendously long time. And and

(08:47):
I should note Christian is not a good person, um,
and not a sympathetic person like they are to blame
for not the harassment, but for a lot of the
unpleasantness in their life because they've made a lot of
horrible choices. UM. I should note here that recently, since
about and we'll get into this. Christian identifies as Christine

(09:07):
as well as Christian. They still use both names, um,
but they identify as Christine Christina. They have transitioned. UM
will be gendering her properly, even when we discuss her
early life, and when I read quotes from other people
talking about her, I'm going to do h my best
to not miss gender her. Even when they do. We
will still call her Christian as well as Christine, because again,

(09:28):
she still identifies as Christian on social media. So I
think that's fine. Um, But yeah, so UM. She was
born on Christine Chandler was born on February night two
at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her father, Bob,
worked as an engineer at Western Electric. He was apparently

(09:49):
a very gifted one, and he held patents for nine
different inventions over the course of his career. He collected
classic jazz music and stamps. Her mother, Barbara, was a
secretary at Virginia p Hour. She and Bob both had
estranged children from other marriages prior to getting together. Barbara
is alleged to have been abusive, and we know her
seventeen year old son I think emancipated himself before Christine

(10:12):
was born. Um, Bob had two kids who are not
really in his in his life. So both of these
people had like we're fairly old when they had Christine, um,
and had kids that they had kind of either abandoned
or who had been like I don't want anything to
do with you. So maybe not great parents. Probably not.
I don't know everything about their circumstances, but you know,

(10:34):
like if you have three kids off you and none
of them wanted anything to do with you, that's maybe
not the best side. Best side. Um, Barbara was and
is she is still alive, a massive hoarder. Um. Christine's
childhood was always going to be challenging. You know, this
is a lot already we've discussed a significant amount to
kind of go into as a baby. Um. At one point,

(10:57):
Bob built a workshop for him and his to make
things in together. He was very excited about, like, oh,
you know, I'm gonna we're gonna have all these projects together.
And they never got to use it because Barbara just
like filled it up with junk. She just is this
kind of like that kind of breaks my heart. Yeah,
father daughter crafting time. Yeah Yeah, but but Barbara just

(11:19):
like can't not collect ship um, which is a thing
that Christine will inherit um inherent maybe the wrong word,
but we'll wind up doing as well, you know. Um.
Christine claimed years later that she spoke her first word
monkey at two months old, which is likely not possible.
She lies a lot about things, you know, she makes
up a lot of stuff. Um, I don't think kids

(11:42):
can say, uh, speak at that at that earliest date.
And I've known a couple of two month olds and sure,
and they're so familiar with the concept of monkey that
also they can random noises. Yeah, they like, I don't know,
I'm not an expert in child speech development, but well
I am, And no I'm not. Well that's your previous
job before this. Yeah, I'm an expert at ship talking

(12:04):
little kids because they can't talk back, they don't know
how to talk. It's real easy. Does that mean you
use up your one lie on them? Like right away? Yeah,
immediately immediately, But you just have to keep it going
for the rest of your life. I did have. I
had a person who I'm very close to, their uncle.
The lie that he told her was that Star Trek

(12:25):
the next generation was real m she was like six
and then yeah, which is a nice lie. I think
if you get to believe for a while that all
those people are really up there, that's not a mean one.
I actually might prefer that to Santa Claus. Yeah, it's
just like the little kids the start that the starship

(12:48):
enterprises out there, and then at age ten you sit
them down and tell them that there's no joy in
the world, and yeah, they have to they have to.
There's no replicators. Yeah, there's nothing sorry, um that would
break kids in an interesting new way. Yeah. Yeah, that's
what we need more of. Yeah, well you gotta break
them some way, right, That's what we do to kids,

(13:10):
do you That's what we do. Therefore, apparently, Sophie, I
don't know, I don't have kids, because it seems like
it's easy to funk that up. Um so um. Speaking
of which, back to our story of Christine Chandler um so.

(13:31):
Christine says that after speaking her first word at two
months old, she did not say another word for six years. Um.
She does have autism. The medical papers are available online
a ton of her She has posted a ton of
like her papers. But she gets into these like online
arguments and we'll like post things to prove stuff she's saying,
so that that is this is not a case of

(13:51):
like a self diagnosis to someone who has like a
medical diagnosis, and that part is credible. The idea that
maybe she didn't say anything until she was six. It
is not uncommon for people with autism to have kind
of a delay of like when they start speaking, when
they're kind of language abilities come in and stuff. You know,
that's that's not an uncommon thing. Um. Now, obviously we're

(14:12):
not particularly good as a society at taking care of
autistic children now, um or any children, but particularly children
with autism. UM in the mid nineteen eighties were the
fucking wild West for that, Like, it was just an
incredibly brutal time to to be a kid with autism.
It was not even added to the d s M

(14:32):
until nineteen eighty. It was not until nineteen eight seven
that the diagnostic criteria was expanded to allow a diagnosis
if symptoms became apparent after thirty months of age, and
most kids are over two years old when they are diagnosed.
So a lot of yeah, funked up stuff kids are
dealing with who are born around the time that Christina
is now The papers that we have showing a diagnosis

(14:55):
for her are from two thousand four. She claims to
have been diagnosed for the first time at around age
five or six. If so, this would have happened right
around the earliest time that such a diagnosis would have
been possible. Christine claims the doctor who diagnosed her was
a speech therapist at James Madison University. This doctor told
her parents she had high functioning, which is not a
term we use anymore autism uh, and would never make

(15:18):
it to high school or even be able to write
her own name. And of course Christine went on to
do both of these things. I don't know how accurate
that is, but it's certainly not out of line with
other stories you hear from kids who were, you know,
going through the education system with this at the same time. So,
when Christine was very young, she was placed alone with
a babysitter she describes as abusive UM. The specific abuse

(15:41):
she discusses as being locked in her toy room after
having all of the lights turned off. UM. As an adult,
she consistently describes this experience as traumatic. Her parents continued
to use the babysitter after this point. UM. Christine believed
this is what gave her autism, which obviously is not
the case. Um, but I believe she had some traumatic

(16:02):
experiences with an adult's locking her away, you know, and
and stuff. Um. So in nineteen ninety to nineteen one
school year, Christine's parents pulled her out of class for
unknown reasons. She claims now that she was forcibly restrained
by the school principle in a quasi sexual manner. She
also claims the principle was homosexual and that this is

(16:23):
what inspired Christine's decades long homophobia. Um, it is unclear
exactly what happened here. Um. Christine is very Christian and
very has been was for most of the time she
was people knew anything about her. Incredibly bigoted against gay people.
So hard to say if this is like what happened
here exactly. But there was apparently a court case over

(16:46):
the matter. However, the actual court case that we have
documentation on was not based in any sort of assault
and was instead the county trying to have Christine sent
to a special school. So some of what she's saying
may have just been resentment over this whole things she
was going through with the school. It is very hard
to say, Um, Christine was homeschooled during the fifth grade

(17:07):
because of all of this whatever actually happened, she was
being homeschooled for a year. Um. The family eventually left
their hometown and relocated to Richmond over this issue. In
when Christine was eleven, she entered a Sonic the Hedgehog
contest at KB Toys and won a shopping spree. Local
news coverage. Yeah, yeah, yeah, there's actually video footage of Yeah, yeah,

(17:30):
the kind of thing that when I was eleven, I
probably would have made up that I had done. No, no,
we know this happened. Yeah, and there was like, yeah,
it's every I mean, who wouldn't have wanted a KB
Toy shopping spree like and have one Sonic the Hedgehog
and and have Yeah, I want a Sonic the Hedgehog contest,

(17:51):
the coolest kind of contest. Yeah, there's video this that's awesome.
And unfortunately the videos mostly like it's mostly people making
fun of her because she's you know, kind like an awkward,
nerdy kid winning a contest and very excited and very happy.
But she's clearly overjoyed in the footage, which is which
is great. It's nice to know she had a nice
moment in her life. This seems to have sparked a

(18:13):
lifelong fascination with Sonic the Hedgehog. She will be obsessed
with Sonic for the rest of her life up to
the present day, to a degree that becomes very problematic. Um,
and I think it's I'm gonna find out later, aren't I. Yeah,
it's it's not great. It's not great. I think maybe
it has something to do with the fact that, like,
in a really difficult and largely unpleasant childhood, this is

(18:35):
like a shining moment for her, and so she kind
of latches on to this. Yeah, it's pretty bleak, Margaret,
there's not gonna be a lot of happy moments. Kind
of heartbreaking because she's a very easy self insert character.
Oh god, at this point, she's nothing but a kid
who's been unfairly harmed by every single person who should

(18:57):
be taking care of her. Yeah. Yeah, Um it's pretty bad. Uh,
it's pretty bad. So in middle school, Uh, this will
be the least surprising thing we say today, Christine had
difficulty with bullies. Um yeah, not not super surprising. And
it was you know that she has, for I think

(19:18):
understandable reasons a really really really aggressive temper, and the
particular way that kids would funk with her was by
setting her off so that she would have these kind
of emotional explosions and then she would get in trouble. Um.
You know, I think if we haven't been that person
in our childhoods, we knew a couple of kids who
were dealing with versions of that. The only kid who

(19:39):
was worse bullied than me, It was the one that
you could set off like that. You know. Yeah. Yeah,
you either like react that way to try to scare
people off, or you develop the ability to just kind
of turtle up and pretend you're not affected by it
at all. Yeah. Um. And and Christine, you know, is

(19:59):
the explode of type. She did have a very good
teacher during this time who actually understood her and was
able to help her get along in class with other kids.
When she graduated middle school, this teacher wrote her a
note and again the note like Christine posts the note
later like this is the thing that we like. You
can see it, um, And the note says, quote, the
most important parting words I can leave you with well

(20:20):
are to always remember this. You show people where your
weak points are located. Then they will know how to
push your button. If you never show them, they will
never know. That's this teacher's advice, which I can't say
is bad advice. Um no, yeah, you gotta be like
next level to like. Um, I wouldn't have been able
to do as a teenager. But you know, my favorite
trick is pretending to show people where my weak spots

(20:42):
are and then just being like, just kidding, I'm completely intouchable.
Fuck you. Yeah, but that doesn't like showing your belly
doesn't work in middle school. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
All of the anti bullying advice I ever got was
entirely garbage. I I have. I have literally never heard
good advice for kids of that age on how to

(21:02):
deal with bullying, and I don't think it exists. Uh yeah,
I think the only actual thing to do is stop
kids from bullying. Yeah yeah, kind of on everyone but
the child in that situation to figure out how to
deal with it. Yeah. Um, I don't know. Yeah, you

(21:28):
know who doesn't bully? I don't feel confident answering this
right now, am I not? I mean, I mean, you can,
but I'm just horrible transition. Look when kidnaps children and
puts them on an island off the coast of Indonesia

(21:49):
to be hunted by the global one percent. I say,
bullying gets censored. Yeah, I mean maybe we're we're kind
of like half and half on it. Oh no, I'm
saying that get censor when I yeah, absolutely, yeah, we
can bleep him this time. Yeah. So obviously it's not
bullying to hunt children for sport on an island off
the coast of Indonesia. That's just you know, it's not

(22:10):
like it's not bullying to hunt a deer. You know,
it's just well, if you're hunting children for food, I
feel like there's a different set of ethics there. I mean,
elon musk is definitely like a use every part of
of of the child that you hunt with a bow
of Probably it's like, I take it back, hunting for

(22:33):
sport is better. Yeah, just be evil, Just admit your evil.
It's better. Yeah. Speaking of admitting, no, I mean just like, ah,
we're back, boy, howdy. Lots of good stuff has happen,

(23:00):
name good, real real bad stuff. This is this is
I think this is. I would not go into detail
about someone experiencing something like this if it was not
kind of necessary for understanding the whole story of like
why they become the person that this architecture of harassment
gets built around. Um. And so unfortunately it is kind

(23:21):
of necessary, although it is quite bleak. UM. Part of
why I feel a little better about saying it is
that we know most of this because Christine has like
repeatedly posted it and discussed it and like provided original documents. Um.
So this is which is going exactly against the teacher's advice.
Oh god, yeah they be. She does not take one
one bit of this advice. Um, which you know anyway. Yeah,

(23:47):
so Christine had a number of female friends as a child.
Uh some of them were subtly abusive. Um. One early
friend who lived nearby convinced her to crawl under the
house into a heating duct and then locked her inside. Um.
Because Christine, again this is pre transition and stuff, and
is she's really desperate to be like to have like

(24:12):
a girlfriend basically, um, to date or to be one
of the girls I think to date to date, because
I mean maybe there is some of that, Like it's
I'll say that as a as a trans girl who
dates mostly mostly women. It's blurry, Yeah, the desire to
be one of the girls and to date the girls

(24:33):
is all confused up. Yeah, and I think at this
period it is really blurry, because she definitely really takes
a lot of particular joy in hanging out with like
groups of girls at the school. And some of it's
also probably just that, like they're less likely to the
extent that they make fun of her or harass her.
It's like not obvious in the way that like when
boys do it, like she knows what's being done. It's

(24:56):
clear that someone's attacking her. And I guess if you
don't know that people are like making fun of you,
that's a more pleasant situation than knowing. Yeah, until you
find out, right, like until the kid, until you get
locked in a heating duct. Yeah, it's very sad. Um.
She revealed later that she had another female friend who

(25:17):
her father paid to hang out with her in order
to make her look normal. Um, which is boy again
Parents of the Year here, like tried. Yeah, Yeah, it's
not how he should have tried. It's not how he
should have tried. I don't know, Like it's it's he

(25:37):
seems like he's kind of like a weird engineering dude
who was not at all prepared to have a kid
with the kind of needs that Christine had. And yeah,
I guess he tried. He tried to solve it like
an engineering problem. Yeah. Yeah. Um that said, you know,
there's a lot of kind of mockery, but I think
it does seem like Christine had actual friends, um, who

(25:57):
she called her Gallo pals, and some of them did
care about her. Um. And I think there were there
were some who kind of recognized that she's being victimized
and wanted to provide her with some support. UM. So
in high school she does kind of build a little
community for herself. UM. It was in high school that
that Christine started developing an increasingly elaborate fantasy world. This

(26:18):
started with a school project where she had to create
cartoon characters for a story. The characters couldn't be copyrighted,
so she merged some of her favorite characters together, creating
a mix of Sonic and Pikachu called sona Chew. She
fell in love with this character and started incorporating it
into a variety of cartoon art that she seemed to
create almost like kind of compulsively. Um. Christine graduated around

(26:42):
two thousand and this seems to have been the beginning
of a long downward slide for her. The group of
friends she'd made in high school went their separate ways.
Christine went to a local community college and started studying,
but she grew increasingly lonely and aware of the fact
that other people were partnering off. In her idiosyncratic diction,
Chris calls this her love quest dedicated to finding a sweetheart.

(27:04):
As she started flirting with women, she found out that
they all had boyfriends. As a result, Christine became obsessed
with what she called the quote infinitely high boyfriend factor.
She grew terrified of being confronted by the boyfriends of
girls that she flirted with, and decided to instead create
a special method to flirt only with boyfriend free girls.
This is like the addiction she uses to discuss this.

(27:27):
The end result of this idea was a sign that
Christine created and would carry out in public that said,
I am a twenty one year old single male seeking
an eighteen to twenty one year old single female companion.
This is like a sign that she will walk around
with it like school and stuff. Um other Yeah, it's
it's an interesting call. Other variations of the sign read

(27:51):
I am seeking a boyfriend free girl. Um, and you
get like the logic here, like she doesn't want to
upset anybody, but she's very, very lonely, and so in
her mind, this is the logical way to go about
doing that. Right. Yeah, I wish better dating advice had
been made available to her. Yeah, I do. You also
have to wonder if like online dating had existed more

(28:12):
in its present form, would maybe that have been a
little easier or would people have just like picked out
her profile and made fun of it on Twitter? Probably
the ladder? Um. God, I'm like, I'm trying to figure
out that, Like, is it better that I got my
youth over with before the internet or is it definitely
definitely the Internet's a nightmare. Um. Christian would sit and

(28:34):
that she starts going increasingly by. Christian in this period
of time would sit around holding or standing or stand
aund holding the sign on her college campus, which did
not go over well. The dean ordered her to stop
doing this. Uh. She considered this behavior technically soliciting sex,
which I guess it kind of is, I mean, like
not in that way. Yeah, Like yeah, I don't know. Maybe. Yeah. Also,

(29:00):
it's definitely weird. I can't say that it's like inherently
any more harmful than like the other waste people flirt
on college campuses. No, it's substantially bigger than most of
the things that romance and sex on college campuses. It's
not the worst way people are going about doing this
thing within the context of a community college. Yeah, if

(29:20):
this was like a rom com movie, she would be
a side character and then she'd feel the other really
nerdy girl and it would be another kid with a sign,
and yeah, it would be perfect. And that's the end.
Nothing bad happens from here on, and that's the end
of the show. So it's thanks for coming on and
happily ever after. That's the name of the show, right, yep.

(29:40):
This is the story of a weird person who everything
ended well for to behind the basically nice weird people.
Um a podcast that shouldn't exist. Um. So, after the
Dean shuts down her her love quest, Christine becomes obsessed
with the Dean, whose name is Mary Lee Walsh, and

(30:01):
starts writing the Dean into an increasingly elaborate comics as
the Bad Guys. Christine slandered the Dean via an animated
newsletter she distributed and was eventually expelled for a year. Um,
and this it's like when I say this, like a
lot of it's like weird and violent stuff happening to
this character, to this this Dean character who has the

(30:22):
exact name of the real Dean is like really specifically
violent stuff. Um. So you know, maybe don't email that
to random people at your college because Columbine happened. Yeah,
this is post Columbine, so yeah this. Yeah, people are
people are not like chill about that kind of thing,

(30:43):
you know. Yeah. Um So Christine graduates uh in two
dozen six with an associates degree. She was briefly employed
by a Wendy's for like three months, but could not
get along with her manager or co workers, so she
fell increasingly further into her fantasy world, building an elaborate
fantasy city named after her initials, which C W C.

(31:03):
Bill or Quickville is usually how she'll pronounce it. And
she put starts putting like these drawings and stories on
her MySpace and her personal website. In October of two
thousand seven, one user of the Something Awful forums brought
up Christine Christian at this point do during a thread
about a separate online creator. Um During this time, goons

(31:25):
would regularly find people making things online who are like
weird or the stuff they're making is funny, bad, and
then we're just like put up threads to marvel at it.
Sometimes it was mean and mockering. Sometimes it was like
legitimately like amazed and fascinated. Um. You can see both
in the original thread, with people discovering Christian's peculiar art
style and her bizarre way of phrasing things. In short order,

(31:47):
a new thread was made by a goon who lived
in Charlottesville and claimed to have seen her around. Quote.
This person used to leave business cards at my school's library,
where they would hang out for hours looking for a boyfriend,
free girl. This is how I first learned of them.
From here, I developed something of it. It's it's it's
this is the point, right, Well, that's the thing that

(32:09):
that's what people start being fascinated because it's so bizarre
and like the ways of the idiosyncratic way she phrases
things is just so like you kind of have to
pay attention. It's just like so what um, And it's
like not there's a mix of like just people being
mean and people just marveling at like well that's weird,
you know, And this is a different time in the internet.

(32:31):
When you start making fun of someone or or even
just like common marveling at somebody on a website. The
idea is not that this is going to like bleed
into the real world, right right, everyone knows that. Now
this is two thousand seven, So people are just like, hey,
here's this website where when we see something different, we
like post it to be like, well, what's going on here?
You know? Um, some of it's mean spirited, but it's

(32:52):
not all means spirited. Um. So yeah, to continue that quote,
this is how I first learned of them. From here,
I developed something of an obsession, culminating last summer when
I made a special trip to a gaming store and
local hangout where they would had posted they would be
they were every bit as and then they used an
offensive slur for autistic people, as I had imagined. Um. So,

(33:13):
this is what's interesting about this is that this is
kind of the first piece of evidence you have, and
one of the first ones I remember from that period
of time of someone not just being like, oh, look
at this weird person that we're like talking about on
the internet, like going to see them exactly exactly. That's
that's an escalation, right, It's it's like it's like a
huge violation. It's disgusting. Yeah, it's it's like a it's

(33:37):
a whole thing. Um that this is This is like
the first sign we get of like where things are
gonna go for the Internet. So goons which is what
you call people on the forum this time. Um quickly
fell in love with Christine, particularly the music videos that
she had posted for a perrapa the Wrapper Contest, which
is a rap video games. So she doesn't post a

(34:00):
video where she's doing a rap and people make fun
of it, right. Um. By this point, most of her
comics focused around her quest for a boyfriend, free girl,
and included strange and unintentionally revealing sexual fantasies, along with
lines like these as the sign off on her website, enjoy,
learn and stay straight and then in all caps, I
am serious she isn't like huh gay people? Yeah yeah,

(34:27):
character for everything else that's happening about her life. M
hm that she's like deeply homophobic. Um yeah, I mean
she's you know, raised by these arch boomers. Oh yeah,
no totally. And it was like and has decided to
blame homosexuality for some of the trauma or whatever. It's

(34:48):
just it's just so interesting because like, other than that thing,
you're you're sort of describing my friend group in high school. Yeah,
you know, like people deeply weird who fall into their
own fantasy worlds and kind of interesting stuff. And sometimes
it's really cringe e and sometimes it's really awesome, and
sometimes you can't tell which of the two is happening.
And yeah, but I was definitely a weird kid who

(35:09):
drew a lot of comics in high school. Yeah, um yeah, yeah,
Like there's again, everything about her is just like one
degree kind of off from a million other people, and
as a result, she winds up being a spectacle for
the internet, you know. Um so goons quickly latched onto
the fact that Christine had lost a PlayStation rapping contest

(35:31):
and made a fake winner page for herself on the website,
along with a somewhat unhinged rant about the injustice of
the fact that they were the real winner or and
like so she calls the real winner the x winner
um and accuses her of violating rules that existed only
in her own head um. She also mentioned going through
quote lonesome depression. Um and some goons in these original

(35:53):
threads did make a note of the fact that she
was dealing with some serious mental health issues. One user
called Jocomo posted, I understand that Mary Lee Walsh was
some sort of administrator at the community college she attended,
and that she had her expelled, But what was it
she did to cause that? Also? Does anyone else think
that a no contact order might be a good thing
for her to have? I don't want any be a
person who says, oh, ship, she drew a picture, lock

(36:15):
her up. But she does seem to have a pretty
focused animus towards her sustained over a period of time.
She seemed to have a hard time letting go. If
she sees herself as unfairly thwarted, maybe she will stick
with making silly videos and comics for revenge, which is
like not an unreasonable like the degree of obsession over
this person not an unreasonable like fear to have UM
And yeah, it's it's worth noting that, like if someone

(36:38):
were on the internet doing this stuff, if you just
like suddenly became aware of someone posting and saying a
lot of the same things that Chris Channon was posting
this period today, you would think they were like in
sel Adjason, Right, there's a lot of violent fantasies about
harm coming to her enemies. There's a lot of obsession
with sex. Yeah it is, yeah, and it is um,

(37:00):
but that wasn't a thing back then. Again, it's like
two seven or so, and this is the only example
of that concern that I found. UM. Other posters did
note that Christine engaged in some semi stockery behavior, and
this is from someone who apparently lived in the area. No,
I think they just went to the beau. She's she's show. Yeah,
both sides of this are stalkers so far. Sure, this

(37:22):
is someone who just says that, Like I have seen
her around campus. I thought she was just I just
thought she was in an anime club or something. I
never saw her with signs. I learned a lot more
about her when she messaged my sister on my Space
and invited her out for a soda. She she declined,
and she became increasingly more harassed towards her until she
walked her. So, yeah, you know, that's that's where this

(37:44):
story is going. That's right. Yeah, just be less creepy
and you'll do much better. That's my dating advice to one.
Lame listeners speaking of advice that like never helps anybody
be less creepy doesn't seem to work much either. Yeah, okay, fine, Yeah,
I think honestly, I think both with dealing with bullies

(38:07):
and not being creepy, the best thing that works is
having good role models, like people that you admire, who
like are better at handling those situations than you, that
you then like can see like, oh that's a better
way to do things than the way my brain is
telling me to do things, and then you become a
better person. No, that's true. That's part of cognit behavioral

(38:29):
therapy actually is modeling. Yeah, that's so, that's what everyone
that will solve all problems figure that out. No, I'm
gonna crowdfund thing where we do just that and ignore
all other possibilities for dealing with these problems, because that's
how we solve problem. It is it is actually a
good solution. I'm not trying to minimize that. I'm just ye,

(38:49):
all of these things are. Like, I do think part
of why she's having so much trouble is that her
parents seem to be completely withdrawn from the world Um,
you know, her dad is retired pretty early on in
her life. Her mom is this like quarter who hides
at home. I don't think she gets any kind of
adult modeling of like how to be in the world. Yeah. Yeah, Like,

(39:13):
I don't think anyone. I don't think she has anyone
who like she can look at and be like, oh,
this is like how you deal with a conflict, Like
this is how you negotiate, like when you're having a
disagreement with a person, you know, this is how you
approach someone that you're interested in in a way that's
like not threatening or or kind of harassing. Um, I
don't think that exists for her at all, which doesn't

(39:34):
excuse the fact that she is now stalking people and
doing something like really gross ship. But it's also it's
hard to see how this person could have easily learned
like good ways to deal with stuff either. Yeah, because
when your friends are in high school, you're all making
terrible decisions and doing things terribly. But if you stay
friends with them, then at some point you can be like, oh,

(39:55):
that's how you date. Yeah, you know. Yeah. And also
I think if you're like everyone's going to be a
shitty person at a certain point in their life because
it's hard to be a person who's not shitty. It's
a learning process for all of us. And I think
the fact that Christine is going through these learning processes
and posting everything that she is experiencing online and it

(40:18):
is increasingly being consumed by people who are now obsessed
with her, makes it kind of impossible for her to
change in positive ways. Speaking of death spirals, yeah, yeah,
speaking of death spirals. So the thing that commenters and
it's it's just something awful right now that's kind of
obsessed with there. But the thing commenters are particularly delighted

(40:39):
by is her Sauna Chuw medallion. This is like a
medallion she's made out of some sort of like it's
one of those kind of platoes that you can like
fire in an oven to actually harden it. She makes
like a medallion shape like the yeah sculpe something like that.
She makes a medallion shaped like the face of this
cartoon character she's created, and she wears it everywhere, um
generally while dressed is ash catch them from Pokemon, Like

(41:01):
she's like wearing specifically that outfit like the striped shirt
and everything. Um, so goons are endlessly entertained by this
um and they also find her MySpace page, which is
filled with injuries like this. To those who are reading
this today, I was at the new Target store across
from Forest Lakes, just hanging around, not bothering anyone, and
from out of the blue, these two jerks asked me

(41:23):
to leave because they said that I was loitering. I
was not. I was there hoping to find an eighteen
to twenty three year old boyfriend free girl like I
usually do. That is that is loitering. I'm pro loitering,
but that is definitely loitery. Yeah. Then, from out of
the blue, after I told them off, they came back

(41:44):
with two cops. I was slightly intimidated, but mostly annoyed
and ready to strike back on them. They asked me
to leave and never return. I did not want to leave.
I would have left peacefully. In fact, I was ready
to go, but I had one thing to say to them,
and during the middle of my speech, they chased me,
pulled my pants, and pinned me to the floor. As
I struggled, they handcuffed my wrists and legs, and they
hog tied me. Not only did I feel humiliated from

(42:05):
being the victim, but I was angry at them not
only for handcuffing me, but for once again thwarting my
efforts and trying to find a boyfriend free girl. They
drove me to the county jail, but fortunately they did
not keep me there. I was released to my family. UM,
so I gotta admit that's yeah, heartbreaking. Fuck the cops, uh,
definitely not making the situation better. Um, And I should

(42:27):
note that I have edited this slightly, like, for example,
she never says cops, she calls them jerk ops. But
and she has like different little terms like this for
for people that she dislikes. If you read it all
this way without being completely up to date on your
your Christian lore, it it sounds like nonsense. So I'm
I'm altering it somewhat for this to be understandable. But yeah,

(42:48):
that's a blique story, right. Yeah. Like, obviously a discussion
should be had about when it is appropriate to walk
around asking random people if to have the boy boyfriend
free girls. Yeah, Like that's certainly not ideal behavior. But
I think being tackled and hog tied is not going

(43:08):
to make that situation any better, because she would have
left like she's Yeah, based on the way that her
mental state was working, she just had to call them
jerk cops probably first. And yeah, she had to like
say some ship because she's that's kind of what's going
on with her. But of course their cops, so obviously
they use egregiously excessive force on a mentally ill person. Um. Yeah, um,

(43:33):
you know who isn't a cop unless it's the Washington
State Highway Patrol again advertising on the show, in which case,
definitely cops. Definitely. Do you think they do it ironically?
Do you think that they're just like, I don't know,
they're spending money much what they get so much of it? Yeah,
it's it's really weird. Um, just like hate. Yeah, here's

(43:57):
the Washington State Highway Patrol to tell you how to
bully people who can't fight back. Ah. That was some
great tips from the Washington State Highway Patrol on how
to be brutally cruel to people who don't have the

(44:17):
ability to fight back. I love it, do you no?
What do you? It was probably just adds for other
podcasts well, like the newest show on our network, the
Washington State Highway Patrol cast. That's why that's actually a week.
That's Margaret's podcast. It's It's It's every week a new

(44:42):
Washington State Highway Patrol officer talks about their job while
Margaret tells them inly elaborate ways they can flee themselves
off the top of a building. But here's the thing.
I can't even take this bit seriously because it's because
they suck so much. Listen to her. It could happen
your episode on the Washington stoop Roll, or are like
three episodes on the Chicago pet or the two behind

(45:05):
the Bastards as we did on Border Patrol. All we're
saying is that every city in America you could you
could dedicate weeks and weeks and content and not at
the bottom. Yeah, every city in America has a bunch
of dudes with guns who would see a kind of
weird kid with a sign and a medallion that they

(45:27):
clearly made themselves and decide hog tying is the right
answer to this this problem. Um so yeah, obviously something
awful in two thousand seven. Compassion is not at the
top of anyone's list. And when people start finding this
stuff out reading these stories, there's this kind of like
awe at her peculiarities. In particularly her quest for a

(45:48):
boyfriend free girl. On my Space, Christian wrote in detail
about her desire to find a quote soulmatee slash soul
lover slash mother of future daughter UM who she would
name Crystal. Christine's requirements for her girlfriend were specific and
deeply offensive, stating that she must be white or sometimes
white bodied, and normal sized to thin. Real ugly women

(46:12):
need not apply, nor should the quote low functionally mentally
handicapped or autistic people, although quote I myself am high
functionally autistic. But that's beside the point. Definitely beside the point. Yeah,
there there goes my like shred of she's not a
good person. Um. She does fall into my category of like, well,

(46:36):
how could she have been much better than this? Um?
But not a just I think there's a lot of blame.
She has to be hearing this from her dad and
her mom right, Like. I don't think she would have
picked up from fucking Sonic video games saying ship like
this about people who aren't you know, because you're supposed
to be blue in that game. I think there's gotta

(46:59):
be a lot of racism she was encountering as a kid,
UM and she just didn't get over it, which is
an adult now, but yeah she should. At this point,
I guess messy. I don't know how to say yeah,
I'm not enough of an expert pine about this is
this is part of why people get obsessed with her
because it's this mix of like, this is what stops

(47:21):
you when you when you start like making fun of
her and you start like these, even these harassment campaigns,
she'll always say or do something really awful that makes
it easy to keep going because then you don't have
to feel as bad. You know, if she weren't a
person with some really fucked up, unpleasant things that she
was doing and saying, it would have been a harder
for so many people to to keep this up, you know,

(47:45):
which gets into really dark stuff about the ways that
we choose to people to demonize based on this is
Kiwi farms and when we talk about like that kind
of harassment is mostly a bunch of terrible people picking
people who are general really not terrible and harassing them.
But there is in the germs of the Christian in

(48:05):
the Christian story, there are the germs of like every
time you get people forming Twitter mobs over some like
stupid bullshit to like destroy a person's life because like
they didn't quite phrase something the way you liked it
her because like like the same, like all of it
has its genesis here. You can see every piece of
it here, and some of it is just that like, oh,
well she's racist, so let's let's keep making fun of her,

(48:27):
you know. Um yeah, which for some people is perfect
like there there that's easy to justify and not necessarily
in a bad way. I mean, like sometimes it but
you can't make fun of someone for like the sonic Pikachu.
You have to make fun of them for being white supremacist.
But but it all just kind of blurs together for

(48:49):
Christine and and more than anything, what people are laughing
at is the fact that she's different, you know, like
the fact that she's racist and stuff is a part
of it, but it's it's not the primary thing that
she gets harassed over. So once this is posted, Agon
decided to reach out to Christian, writing quote, I just
sent a little message to her on my Space. Nothing mean,

(49:09):
I'm genuinely curious on what she thinks about some things.
Hopefully she'll reply pretty soon. Although I have no ideas
of time zones or anything. Um. So this was immediately
followed up by another gooon expressing what a bad idea
this was, and quite by accident, summing up the next
fourteen years of Christine's life. I know this is something awful,
but at the end of the day, she does have
a disability. I took a quick glance at this and

(49:31):
immediately felt sorry for her. It's the words and all
window into her lonely life. Her childish innocence clashes with
her misguided attempts of acting grown up so badly it's
disturbing and sad. Unfortunately, she can post on the Internet,
which means she can be ridiculed. Yeah yeah, there's people
who get what's going on, you know. Um yeah, pretty bleak.

(49:54):
So this is like before troll culture, really the birth
of troll culture as a And see how like some
of the people involved in the birth of try culture
weren't necessarily coming out it m hm, and they were
coming at it from like, look at this person, this
is weird, this is interesting, Like this art is strange
these because she has all these elaborate comics and people
like just want to read them, and like, you know,

(50:17):
you can discuss like whether or not it's cool to
do that, but it's not harassment to like find this
person's posted their weird comics. Let's like laugh at them.
You know. That's not necessarily abusive or harassing. It's just
like consuming someone's content, maybe in a way they wouldn't like,
but they put it out there, and you have a
right to like feel how you do about it. Then
it starts to expand to like, well, let's reach out

(50:38):
to her in person. I want to talk to her,
you know, I want to like see her. And there
are people who were into the ground floor of this
where you're just like marveling at this person's kind of
weird behavior, who are like, this is a disabled person.
You shouldn't be like reaching out to them and like
finding them in the real world, and like you, we
could do a lot of damage here. There's like that, right,
you've see that post someone being like, we could really

(50:59):
do some damage here. This is a person who should
not be fucked with, you know. So folks are aware
of what some folks at least are aware of what
could happen, and it keeps happening. While there were more
something awful threads about Christine over the years, it was
four Chan, we're following her would develop into a subculture,

(51:20):
and being four chan, people immediately took things way too far. Now,
Encyclopedia dramatic A was was new back then, and an
onns created a page for her. Christian found out about
her Encyclopedia dramatic A page, And if you know anything
about this person, the worst thing that could happen is
that she become aware that she has a page on
e D because she's not going to handle that well. Um.

(51:44):
I think she finds out because of one of her
stalker's emails her about it. And this is going to
be the first time where she really fails to follow
the good advice her middle school teacher gave her. Instead
of ignoring the trolls, Christine starts making dozens and dozens
of corrections to the Encyclopedia dramatic Age. Which is that
rules a good call? Yeah? Um, obviously, if you know

(52:09):
anything about this particulation of the Internet, this is the
best thing you could have done for the folks making
fun of her. Unfortunately, they are over the moon about
this stuff right because now they get to like make
fun of her attempts at like defending herself and like
what she says and all this stuff. Um, they found
it hilarious. Like every difference she has, she would respond
to incorrect claims about, for example, her sexuality by providing

(52:32):
evidence to prove them wrong. So people would like joke
that she was like gay or I think a sexual
and so she would like provide evidence of her sexual
fantasies to for Chan in order to yeah, yeah that's bad, um.
And and yeah, it's comprehensively bad because some of the
evidence she has, like a female friend at this point,

(52:55):
like one of her first, like one of her few
like people that she actually can hang out with and
be so with. And the evidence she provides to Fortune
to show that she's straight is pornographic drawing she's made
of this friend of hers. Um, that was probably really
good for the friendship. Yeah, it does not go over well, um,
because Christine had previously like kind of expressed romantic interest

(53:19):
in this person, and the friend had very gently been like,
I don't I don't you know, see you that way.
I don't want to, but I want to be your friend. Um.
And of course she's rightly horrified when she finds out
that her friend has provided pornography that she drew of
them to thousands of strangers. That's a thing you you
should be a great about. Bob's Burgers. Bob's Bob's Burgers

(53:43):
has erotic friend fiction, Louise, I think is oh yes, yes, yes,
a lot of friend fiction is not a winner in
social circles. Don't post it online, you know, whatever you're
gonna do, certainly, don't hand it to four chan to
proof that you're straight. Right, um and yeah, Christine loses
this friend forever. And of course it is the funniest

(54:04):
thing that these people who are now stalking here have
ever ever experienced. Um and and all of the terrible
things only kind of escalate from there. But you know
what doesn't escalate from here, Margaret the episode because this
is this is the end of part one and it's yeah,
time for your um your plugables. How you feeling, Margaret, I,

(54:29):
you know, like it's not that I feel like I
got tricked into coming on to whatever. It's fine, it's fine.
It's not like I'm really close to home someone exactly
my age who Yeah, weird shitty like behavior from like classmates,

(54:50):
and like, well here's the thing you can find. Literally,
there's probably more we were building this, There's probably more
written about Christine than any other figure in history, like
in terms of biographical information, I doubt there is more
biographical information about like people like fucking Hitler out there,

(55:10):
and more like it is, the degree to which people
obsess over her life is insane. Um and nearly all
of what you're going to find is like really grossly
voyeuristic and like mocking. And I think this is an
important story because it is kind of foundational to why

(55:31):
the Internet is the way that it is and why
Internet culture is the way that it is. But like
it's also really it was really important to me in
telling this story, you have to get into an uncomfortable
level of detail, and it I don't want it. I
didn't want to just like make fun of this person,
because I don't think that's good. Um. I just I
do think the story is important because it builds to

(55:52):
everything we're dealing with right now. I don't think you're
making fun of her, it's just it's and then yet also,
you know, the whole racist, homophobic thing is not It's
not a good look for anybody, regardless of what they're dealing.
I yeah, I wanted someone else who I felt like
would uh kind of identify with the being like harassed

(56:17):
and made fun of, Like I was a weird kid
who drew cartoons who had like the cartoons taken away
from me from like a kid in class who would
like read them and ship Like like I get it,
I get like some of the ship that she must
have been going through. Um, and so I I have
actually a lot of compassion for this person who is
not a good person. I think you have to approach

(56:43):
in a complex way. And um, it's unfortunate that like this,
this should never have been a person who like needed
to be a figure of kind of national attention. That
is where this story ends. It ends with her on
Tucker Carlson as it heads up. Yeah, like like this
this is this is blown up to the point and

(57:04):
it and it's found again. It's so foundational to like
internet culture that I think you have to get into it.
But like it would be really easy to do that
and just be like another two hours of people making
fun of this person on the internet. Um, there's a
documentary series that's like a couple of hundred hours in
length on YouTube that you can find, Like it's it's
it's fucking crazy. How much ship there is about this?

(57:25):
This is um which is which is anyway? Yeah, I
don't even know what. Well we'll explain all of that
part two, Margaret, But but for now, you gotta plug anything. Well,
I have a show coming out. Um, I don't know
whether I don't know whether it's announced yet. Um is

(57:46):
it announced yet? Can I can I announce? We can? Yeah,
let's do it fun funk our corporate overlords, let's do it. Literally,
they have no say in this. Are you talking about? Well,
le's perstend like we're sticking it to the man by Yeah. Yeah,
that's why I'm signing a contract to do it. Yeah. Well,

(58:10):
the man coming out called cool people who did cool stuff,
and cool people did cool stuff is about well, it's
about cool people who did um cool stuff. Yeah yeah,
and um and so people who like behind the bastards.
But I don't like the bastards. You know, I'm really
I'm work shopping how to pitch this. But yeah, but yeah,

(58:32):
So I have a new podcast coming out on May
second on Cool Zone Media. Um. And other than that,
you can find me on Twitter at Magpie kill Joy
or Instagram at Margaret Killjoy. On Twitter, I stir up
fights that I now feel slightly more guilty for stirring
up after listening to this episode and on Instagram, I
talk about how much I love my dog. That sounds

(58:55):
much better than literally anything we've talked about today. Go
find a dog, take care of a dog. Margaret's dog
is exceptionally beauty. Dog is good. Your dog exceptionally beautiful
inside and out. Oh my god. Thanks, Well, this has
been fun. I'm glad we got to throw in a
little middle finger to our corporate overlords. Take that. Yeah,

(59:16):
the man people who give us money whenever we ask
and let us do whatever we want. That'll teach you,
that'll learn you. Um all right, Go hug a dog.
Behind the Bastards is a production of cool Zone Media.
For more from cool Zone Media, visit our website cool

(59:38):
zone media dot com, or check us out on the
I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get
your podcasts.

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Robert Evans

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