By Samuel Posega
INDIANA — A few weeks ago, the weekly assignment in my Opinion Writing class was a humor piece. I reached for low-hanging fruit — the social media app FADE and the stupidity of posting illegal activities on public social media.
I spent far longer grazing through the app than I feel comfortable admitting for research. But my work was deemed HawkEye-worthy and was published March 27.
Flash forward to April 10: The app’s users were put on blast and finally see my opinion piece. IUP-student Faders responded in true FADE fashion.
Student Austin Menhart posted the article, splicing words to say that I have a small penis. I laughed. It’s refreshing to see young comedic talent come up with such original, quality material.
The comments on the post were mostly more juvenile name-calling. I continued to laugh. A handful didn’t like the writing. One said I didn’t do enough research. I shrugged them off.
Then I saw the death threat.
A user posted anonymously, alluding to my interment. Dumpster Kid, better known as student Hannah Rosche, replied, advising the person not to threaten me. The post was deleted before I could get a screen-shot.
The users then raided my Facebook, posting pictures of me labelled “narc” or “fag” or some combination of the two. A trip to Walmart Friday evening with my girlfriend, Mia Reichert, led student Rina Mendoza to take a picture of us and to post it, calling me a narc in the caption and misspelling my last name as Posaga. Student Vick Montoya commented “finish him,” a reference to the killing move in the popular video game “Mortal Kombat.”
On Saturday, a picture of me, wearing a T-shirt for the infamous Norwegian black metal band Mayhem, with my cat Poe was posted by a user with the tasteful name of WARGOD CORPSEF***ER. The caption read, “here’s [sic] two pussies.”
Mr. Corpsef***er, whose profile includes a link to the Wikipedia article on necrophilia, and a user named after late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, bantered about how I should follow the lead of former Mayhem vocalist Per Ohlin, who killed himself in 1991. Or perhaps they would get Varg on me, a reference to Varg Vikernes, who murdered the band’s guitarist, Øystein Aarseth, just two years later.
But what genuinely disturbed me was when Corpsef***er posted a comment on a picture that featured Reichert, stating his wish to go on a “raperampage” [sic] of my loved ones.
Rosche commented in support of this notion. “YASSS WARGOD,” [sic] she wrote, contradicting an earlier comment in which she said Reichert was “nice tho” [sic].
Reichert and I went to borough police. We were informed that the “raperampage” comment was “borderline” criminal but that everything else was free speech.
SO I TURNED to our tormentors.
Rosche declined comment.
Montoya never responded to my email.
I emailed Mendoza. She took a picture of it and posted to FADE, to a chorus of “f*** that guy.” She elaborated:
“Well, I am not going to sit here and defend Fade and come up with every sincere moment on there,” Mendoza wrote.” I didn’t like what you wrote because you clearly took it too seriously. You categorized all the ‘Faders’ as pot smoking college kids that are wasting their tuition, which is very bold of you and explains that you’ve obviously never met any of us in real life. You even said you felt better about yourself. Most of us are actually friends outside of Fade and a lot of users are graduating college students this semester.”
So, writing a humor piece entails taking something too seriously, according to Mendoza. And apparently, despite the omnipresence of marijuana on the app, none of them actually smokes weed, even when they post pictures of themselves doing so.
One user, student Hannah O’Malley, even had a line in her bio that reads, “look like Barbie, smoke like Marley,” for example. (That content has since been taken down.) But the community in general doesn’t smoke weed. User-student Jim Secules’s profile picture is a grinder filled with pot. But nobody on FADE smokes weed.
Not to mention that at no point did I mention “wasting tuition,” as Mendoza asserted. Sometimes you just wonder whether some people can actually read or whether all they can do is recognize words. Or perhaps she just broke a general rule and went ahead and toked and typed.
SO, what’s it like to receive anonymous threats, not to mention the irony of being called a pussy by someone hiding behind an anonymous FADE account?
Well, it’s not fun. But I can say it came at a good time — as I prepare to graduate. I was just starting to think I might miss this place.
Samuel Posega, a senior journalism major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is from Imperial.