Just in case you have been confused by recent buzz about TamTamPamela and the resulting YouTube flamewars, I thought I would summarize the events here.  For the past year, a girl calling herself TamTamPamela has been posting videos to YouTube which echo some extremely fundamentalist Christian views.  Several atheists had been adding harsh comments to her channel, but she seemed rather unfazed and continued to upload videos of the same format.

            After the March 11th earthquake in Japan, TamTamPamela posted a video in which she rather charismatically thanked god for grabbing the atheist nation of Japan by the shoulders and giving them a good shake to show them the error of their heathen ways.  Her glassy eyed joy at the Japanese tragedy sparked greater outrage than her previous videos, grabbing the attention of an atheist YouTube vlogger who goes by the moniker Thunderf00t.

            Thunderf00t posted a video that contrasted science based reasoning with fundamentalist Christian unreasoning and compared TamTamPamela’s condemnation of Japan with that of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson’s rants about other natural disasters being directed upon the sinful by a vengeful god.  Thunderf00t's subscriber base is in the six digits, and this led to TamTamPamela’s video going viral.

            The comments began to stream down TamTamPamela’s page, hurling voracious threats of every kind.  The search for the real TamTamPamela began and quickly yielded all of her personal contact information.  Some people went as far as to credit the revelation of these details to Anonymous.  Regardless of who first dug up her personal information, it rapidly spread and the threats against TamTamPamela began to include her home address and phone number.  These actual details will NOT be revealed in this article because such inclusion would only increase the potential of violence against her.

            By midnight on March 14th, several dozen pizzas had been ordered for delivery to TamTamPamela’s home address to ensure she would know that her address had been compromised - just in case she wasn’t keeping up with the rapidly scrolling comments on her YouTube channel.  Shortly after midnight, in the wee morning hours of March 15th, TamTamPamela posted her final video, ‘coming clean’, which now only exists as a mirror.  In it, she said that her fundamentalist Christian videos had been nothing more than a ruse.  She admitted to being a troll, indicated she was tired of pizza, and acknowledged that things had gone a bit further than she had anticipated.

            The streaming hatred shifted from her video condemning Japanese heathens to her ‘coming clean’ video.  The death threats escalated, and within a few hours TamTamPamela terminated her YouTube account.  Regardless of the credibility of her recantation, the anger over TamTamPamela now continues on message boards all over the internet.

            There are those who hate her for her glassy eyed praise of god bringing death and destruction to the Japanese.  There are those who hate her more for being a troll.  There are Christians who hate her for satirizing their beliefs and, finally, there are atheists who hate her for the potential backlash her actions could create if it turns out she was motivated by some sort of misguided atheist agenda.

            Whether she really was a troll or just made that claim in an attempt to cool the flames, TamTampamela is definitely the best illustration to date of Poe’s Law; "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing."

            Who is TamTamPamela?  In my opinion she is what is known, in forum parlance, as a 'Poe'.

Views: 8566

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on March 16, 2011 at 1:09am
That she started with any level of credibility at all amongst both Atheists and fundamentalists alike is what is most disturbing.
Comment by Theo on March 17, 2011 at 9:23am

Hi there, just signed up to comment on this, and to set one thing straight.   I watched the video comments "explode" and followed them - in horror I might say - until 3 AM GMT.   At that point in time, the only address that was posted (over and over again) was the one in Florida.   This was bad enough, and we contacted the local police to ask to protect that family.   It was only the next morning that I heard that a second address was posted.  This all resulted in two families being extremely unhappy and scared at the moment.

The comments were just incredible, and mostly of an obscene nature.  The word "sexism" came to mind, as did the words "mob mentality".   I am not at liberty to say more about this incident - sometimes people need to make up their own minds - but "poe" or not, nobody ever deserves to be treated this way.   I also want to state there is a difference between satire, parody, and trolling.

 

There is a fine line, and it's weird that nobody "went after" Glenn Beck and others who made the same remarks, which were certainly not meant as satire.

 

Anyway, that's all I want to say for now.  Be safe out there.  And perhaps I'll stick around. :-)

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on March 17, 2011 at 9:35am

I stated earlier that I might have missed the Florida address in the heavy stream of comments.  The other address was the only one that I did see, and the one that the pizzas were sent to.

 

I agree, that there is a difference between satire, parody, and trolling - perhaps you would like to describe the difference as you understand it.  I wasn't aware that Glenn Beck thanked God for causing the earthquake in Japan - do you have a link to a clip of that?

Comment by Theo on March 17, 2011 at 9:52am

Yes, I saw that, wasn't meant as criticizing you.  Just wanted to confirm that part of the information.

 

Linky: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/glenn-beck-japan-earthquak....   There are many many more examples, but even the governor of Tokyo made similar comments: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2011-03-14/tokyo-head/tsun...

 

The way I see it, trolling is trying to upset/annoy/hurt people.  Satire and parody are used to (hopefully) put a message across, to make people think (and hopefully, laugh).  But it's very difficult to avoid people getting hurt by it anyway.  Satire goes a bit further than parody, and just when satire becomes bad taste is almost impossible to say/predict.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on March 17, 2011 at 10:11am
Glenn beck didn't actually 'Thank God' for what happened to the Japanese people, but I see what you are saying.  I had no idea about the comments made by Shintaro Ishihara and I AM very surprised that there wasn't incredible outrage triggered towards him.  On the other hand, I don't think Shintaro Ishihara has a youtube channel with unmoderated comments enabled.  Perhaps that is what made TamTamPamela such a popular target.
Comment by Theo on March 17, 2011 at 11:58am

I agree.   Then again, this youtube video - not a Poe - doesn't get the same response either.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on March 17, 2011 at 12:10pm
True, although that video is really just an audio, and an audio that actually acknowledges the role of plate tectonics in the earthquake.  It really isn't similar at all to the glassy eyed joy with which the 'tamtampamela' character charismatically and callously cheered the suffering of the Japanese people.
Comment by Theo on March 17, 2011 at 12:30pm

Well, that is a good point.  For the record, having (close) friends in Japan, I can barely watch the news anymore, it makes me hyperventilate.  I'd say this is a tragedy of "biblical" proportions, but as a non-believer, that doesn't really make sense.

The medium is indeed the message, and the facial expressions surely played a big part in the way people reacted (and still react, sadly).  

Finally, TTP made a video about Haiti a few months ago, and that barely made any waves.  I wonder why that is.   Is it just because a high profile vlogger happened to stumble upon the latest vid?

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on March 17, 2011 at 12:37pm
I have no doubt that Thunderf00t's link to TamTamPamela focussed far more attention to her video than it would have gotten otherwise.
Comment by Noname on March 29, 2011 at 12:32am
Fuck all those who pizzaed tamtam. Now, you idiots may feel free to pizza half of US: http://www.livescience.com/13422-americans-natural-disasters-god.html

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