Of Nicki Menaj, Punching Down, Social Media Mobs, And The Burgeoning Culture Of Intimidation

Let’s hear it for Nicki Minaj, everyone! Such a profound insight on the nature of character!  And what an idiot!

Somewhere, somehow, even before Maxine Waters decided to sic every frustrated progressive on Trump officials who just want to enjoy every citizen’s right to the pursuit of happiness, the unethical concept that it is acceptable, indeed virtuous, to harass, harm and and attempt to destroy people because you don’t agree with them took root. Social media has been a prime carrier of this uncivilized and undemocratic plague, and this was a recent, and frightening, example.

Wanna Thompson is a freelance writer based in Toronto whose personal website and social media accounts give her a platform as a cultural critic. Last month  she posted a tweet  about recording and concert artist Nicki Minaj, whose nasal voice is among the most irritating sounds in all of hip-hop. Thompson was trying to prompt a discussion–you know, like I do on Ethics Alarms.

“You know how dope it would be if Nicki put out mature content?” she wrote to her then 14,000 or so Twitter followers. “No silly” stuff, she added, “Just reflecting on past relationships, being a boss, hardships, etc. She’s touching 40 soon, a new direction is needed.”

In an epic instance of punching down and abusing celebrity power, the thin-skinned Minaj attacked the woman on social media, and triggered her many fans to do the same.

Thompson says she received thousands of vicious messages on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, email and even on her cellphone. Some cyber vigilantes included pictures of her 4-year-old daughter that Wanna had posted on Instagram  Other  messages directed her to kill herself. The social media outrage made her  so controversial  that an entertainment blog withdrew her paid internship.   Now Wanna says she is “physically drained” and “mentally depleted.”

Obviously the worst of the Ethics Dunces here is Minaj, which should come as no surprise to anyone who watched her diva-jerk act when she served as a judge during the last, awful season of “American Idol” before its recent ( wan) reincarnation.

A mega-millionaire and a pop music  giant, the singer felt she had to rebut and destroy an obscure blogger who dared to offer minor criticism.  She called Thompson “ugly” and wrote,  among other things “Just say u jealous I’m rich, famous intelligent, pretty and go!”

As I said: jerk.

What was primarily wrong about Thompson’s critique was that Micki Minaj isn’t any more capable of being mature than she is of writing standard English.

Now Thompson, unemployed and wondering if her planned career as a writer will be permanently derailed by this social media mugging, says that while she will not withdraw her opinion of Minaj’s music, she wishes she had never made it public. “If I knew it would get this much harassment and that my daughter would be affected, I don’t think that I would have posted it,” she says. Which, of course, is the idea behind such cyber-bullying: chill opinion, punish dissent, and assimilate everyone. “The nail that sticks out will be hammered flat,” says one version of an old proverb. Celebrities, congresswomen and Presidents who abuse their power, prominence and position to help with the hammering harm liberty and free speech, and plant the seeds of totalitarianism in our culture.

So do social media users who unite to punish discordant tones in their echo chambers.

28 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Popular Culture, Social Media

28 responses to “Of Nicki Menaj, Punching Down, Social Media Mobs, And The Burgeoning Culture Of Intimidation

  1. Chris Marschner_

    Nothing Trump has said is that demeaning or stupid.

    Niki. Demeaning means hurtful by making someone less valuable it isn’t duh meaning.

    I can’t wait until some of these pop icons find themselves unable to draw the young crowds. It will remind them that fame is most fleeting and the hands of time and gravity are their worst enemy.

  2. “rich, famous intelligent, pretty”
    I’ll grant rich and sort of well-known.

  3. crella

    The private messages are far worse than the Tweets, absolutely horrible. Why does she think she can talk to a fan like that just for posting an opinion? Why is language like that considered acceptable in any situation…the culture’s great race to the bottom…

  4. adimagejim

    Laughing hard as I listen to Bobby Darin on my boat. The world of pop culture and its ugly traveling companion social media is a sewer unworthy of anyone’s time.

  5. dragin_dragon

    Wait…Niki Minaj has fans? What…6…8?

  6. This is the great sin of social media, it gives too much power to mean people and idiots. They justify that a minor annoyance to themselves means they can be asses with impunity. No proportion and no class. There aren’t even any gatekeepers who could counter or slow the virus as they are active carriers too. Shame was a useful quality to help police public behavior, and how did it get eliminated?

    • Glenn Logan

      First of all, a disclaimer: Twitter is the Devil, sez I.

      Second, I have to disagree. Social media doesn’t “give power” to anybody. It provides a place where many can offer bullshit opinions that are seen by employers and others with influence or power who decide, on their own, to affect the lives of the attacked in order to appease the mob.

      Because these decision-makers and influencers fear for their own power and livelihood (generally irrationally) or see an opportunity to elevate their standing and/or business among a large group, they behave unethically and cave to the mob.

      If nobody acted on Twitter mobs, or rather, acted according to ethical principles, they would have no power. See fil-a, Chick. Alas…

      • Facebook, Twitter, et. al. are the devil. They bring out the worst in people, emboldened by pseudo-anonymity.

        Your government admits they are recording every word, in case they want you later, when the wind blow from a different direction.

      • It doesn’t give mobs any more power than they’ve ever had, true. But It does let mobs gather far larger, without the lessening effects of time and distance. Lynch mobs only gathered from a county or maybe a metro area, and communication and travel time were factors. Now the mobs get riled up in hours over much larger areas, nationally or even internationally. Too far for tar and feathers and too much in outrage, they can’t or won’t face the people they how HATE, but use all the unfulfilled anger to attack, dox, smear, and call others to join the mobs in the modern rage.

        These mobs are not rational. If you could rephrase the offense as by or against a different group, even they may see its irrational. But no one does it enough.

        I don’t really blame Twitter, but both it ans FB propagate outrage and bad ideas at really high speed, facilitating bad decisions. Not enough think, they react, and dig each discussion and themselves in deeper.

        Elevating their standing and opportunities involve more purpose and thought than these mobs show as a group. The mobleaders only have power as long as the crowd gives it. Twitter and FB are synptoms.

        • Hi Marie, hope you are doing well!

          Twitter and FB are synptoms.

          No, they have chosen a side. This makes them more than mere symptoms. Perhaps they are a disease vector?

          One day they could be held liable for damages, if their bias and censoring continues down this path.

          • Maybe like agar that is in petri dishes that functions as a growing medium. diseases that could not have lasted as long out in the open and died? They enable this. That doesn’t mean I keep agar or hypermedia around me, I have no urge to encourage the little cancers.

  7. PennAgain

    You gotta love the blonde-Valley-girl pose, though. Now that I know what her role model is, the rest is . . . silence.

  8. Wayne

    Nicki Minaj is malignant narcissism incarnate: Narcissists of this ilk cannot stand criticism and her punching down to destroy this woman’s career is predictable. To expect Minja to refrain from this vicious behavior is naive and unfortunate.

  9. Joe Fowler

    I can’t imagine a circumstance where it’s a good idea, in a public forum, to point out that a woman is getting older, and will soon be 40. That said, Minaj’s reaction was over the top, and her fans, (and she has a LOT) should be ashamed of themselves.

  10. Glenn Logan

    So from now on, all music stars have to do to squelch legitimate criticism of their work is to punch down at the critic. Nice.

    Way to go, America. We have taken a largely benign social platform and turned it into a portable gallows to be used at the whim of some of the most ignorant people imaginable.

  11. Hollywood and the music industry live and die by their image. It gets them jobs, concerts, and ultimately is the source of their money. Image control is of great, if not the greatest, importance in this world. Any change to that image can destroy you, as shown by the Dixie Chicks some time ago. They were woke and publically came out against a POTUS popular with their fan base. Have you heard of them since that time?

    The suggestion that an aging diva should evolve to a more mature image (as her fan base ages) is a reasonable, logical observation… unless you live in that world. The money is rolling in, and any change could make that stop.

    Understanding the why does not excuse the behavior, but it makes these people predictable. Thompson was naive and transparent. Both are mortal sins to today’s progressives. Poke the ant hill at your peril.

    As an aside, Trump’s immunity stems from the fact that he is NOT predictable. He is sensitive to his image, but you never know what will set him off or when. Believe it or not, this may speak of a modicum of self control I did not think he has.

    Or maybe someone on his staff is partially filtering for him… wonders never cease!

  12. Bob

    I know this question will render me hopelessly louche, but who is Nicki Menaj? Honestly, I’ve never heard of this worthy prior to this post.

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