When I was younger my sister really liked New Kids On The Block, but she actually liked the idea of them; she owned a NKOTB sleeping bag and probably matching pajamas but didn't actually have any of their cassettes. Since the dawn of time, shady executives have been exploiting the predilections of pre-teen girls-- I'm pretty sure that's how Jesus got started, even. And there is probably no harm in it, by itself. My sister grew up to be a (relatively) normal person.
But when you mix the fervent fandom attracted by the Jonases and Biebers of the world with the Internet, specifically with the relatively anonymous world of social networking, it can be an explosive combination. Bieber-heads infamously mocked Lily Allen when she suffered a miscarriage, in what may be the most high profile example of this phenomenon. But then you see something like this, which is a collection of death threats leveled at Twilight actress Ashley Greene, and you realize the Lily Allen thing wasn't a one-off event. For some people this is EVERY DAY.
This happens because Ashley Greene dates Joe Jonas. Joe Jonas used to date Demi Lovato, and shortly after they broke up, Lovato entered rehab, where she remains. Undoubtedly, Lovato entered rehab as a result of the pressures of being a Disney starlet, surely a living nightmare of which most of us can scarcely conceive. But the consensus among the twitter/tumblr Jonas-heads: Ashley did it.
That cousin gives grown men like me a bad name.
A campaign of Twitter-hatred caught on, and was complicated when Ashley Greene's friends got personally involved. This only gave the paranoid conspiracy theories frequently issued from the likes of @TrashTheAshley and @FuckUJashley more weight.
As you saw above, the hate campaigns got more and more brutal, and even though I rationalized most of it away with the simple fact that Ashley Greene (who is on Twitter) did not seem to give a fuck, eventually it got too harsh and upsetting for me to cover. I was more troubled by considering the personalities of the people who were writing the tweets than considering the feelings of those on the receiving end. These kids running these accounts are almost certainly young. And several weeks on, they are still at it. That Demi Lovato is an outspoken critic of bullying is one of the many ironies lost on them.
These days I kind of feel like Marlow in Heart of Darkness, still mulling over my encounter with evil, trying to make sense of it. Can you imagine what Kurtz would have been like if he had a Twitter account? Would it have been this bad?