Natalie Portman, Naked and Petrified!
The True History of Slashdot Insanity.
Volume I: The Plaster Cast
If you read Slashdot, you have almost certainly overheard comments about an obsession with Natalie Portman. If you've read Slashdot for a while you've probably heard of "hot grits down my pants" or "Natalie Portman, petrified naked". It's a crazy thing to say, but it's somewhat funny, and has become an enduring meme. A simple Google search returns hundreds of hits on these "trolling phenomena". What many people don't know is the true origin of this phrase. It is, in fact, a collaboration between two truly insane people. It is the byproduct of the coincidental meeting of two very disturbed minds. And it is, most importantly, the harbinger of doom for many Internet discussion boards, for the meeting of these two minds was to the Internet what the meeting of Muhammed and Malvo was to the real world. If you've ever pondered the answer to the following questions, the answers are in this document:
- Why does sid=20721 fill with oddball "Anti-Vladinator" comments in mass volume?
- Who are the people who flood Slashdot stories with offtopic garbage?
- Who are the people who use scripts to post to Slashdot?
- Who are the people who created all the crazy Slashdot memes (natalie, petrification, OOG CAPS, etc).
- What is "The Anti Vlad Triad"?
If you want to know the definitive answer to the questions above, the tale is quite long. Here it begins... but its ending is not yet written.
In 1998, Rob Malda started a web site called "Chips n' Dips". He later renamed it "Slashdot" in an attempt to confuse people, and the name stuck. Since that time, Slashdot has drawn people who want to be confused, and that is where our story begins. In early 2000, a young high school student by the name of Craig McPherson found Slashdot and, in an act of confusion, created an account. Craig had a childhood familiar to many Slashdot readers, attending a private high school in northern Arkansas. In 1996 he was posting witty Internet replies in his quest to 'hack' his Texas Instruments graphing calculator. He was young, intelligent, showered with wealth, well educated, and in the process of discovering the Internet. Craig had it made.
Unfortunately, like many boys in Craig's shoes, Craig had what you might call "girl problems". Namely, they didn't like him. Teenage girls can be fickle after all. Sadly Craig's reaction to their rejection was atypical. In late 1997, Craig was in the process of going completely mad. By 1998, Craig's dispute with a fellow high school student named "Angela Stone" over some pictures from his prom led him to create this angry missive in which he declared Angela to be a "CENSORING NAZI" and plastered the prom picture at issue all over the Internet. Anyone wishing to learn how any Slashdot staff earned the title "CensorNazi" need look no further. Many of Craig's signatures are born in this document: paranoid raving, a delusional sense of self-righteousness, a distorted sense of scale, and his trademark ALL CAPS pronouncements. This was, of course, the public side to Craig's dispute with Angela. The private side, however, is more disturbing.
The WayBack Machine is a project which saves old web pages, among which is a rare copy of Craig McPherson's home page circa 2000. This document does not begin to have the depth required to cover the scope of insanity revealed in this web site, but the reader may investigate at his or her own risk. What must be discussed is this image of Craig's friend Angela Stone, our "CENSOR NAZI" from the prom. You will note that this image is animated, and appears to be a crude reconstruction of Craig's friend being transformed into a marble statue. This image was created by Craig, because Craig's inability to win the affections of women had fueled his obsession with gaining power over women by paralyzing them as stone statues. Born from Craig's fascination with role playing games and the popular "Flesh To Stone" attack spell, Craig's fetish solidified as he grew. His web page is littered with poorly digitally altered petrification fantasies, which our reader may investigate at his or her own risk. Craig's only appearance on his own web site is in this photo of himself seated next to his petrified prom date. One has to wonder if this girl ever knew the madness she was exposing herself to.
In 1999, Craig's growing insanity and his membership on Slashdot were on a collision course. Learning that one could post anonymously to Slashdot, Craig wrote amusing yet disturbing HTML-formatted rants for posting on Slashdot, detailing his power-over-women petrification fantasies, usually involving young female celebrities. Working from his power Linux system in his parent's basement, Craig poured his petrification fantasies into Slashdot's technical discussions with feverish intensity. Copies of his posting are rare (posts scored at -1 were deleted in those days, removing nearly all traces of Craig's posting) but this slightly ontopic repost somehow made the cut. At high school, Craig felt cut off, alienated, steeped in the Hell Mouth. But on Slashdot, Craig could speak his mind without fear of consequence, and speak he did. Craig's prolific posting about petrification fantasies gave birth to the term "crapflooding", a verb which denotes flooding Slashdot with offtopic crap-filled comments. Anonymously reaching such a wide audience, Craig was flailing about for understanding, acceptance, and perhaps that which was beyond his wildest dreams: love. He worked at a fever pitch. And he was rewarded. But before we speak of his reward, the tale of another must first be told.
A northbound artillery shot away up I-70, another young white man named Dennis Warren Mann was discovering Slashdot in Kansas City, Missouri. Dennis (or "Warren" as he calls himself) was in his late twenties, wandering directionless through life in a passive-aggressive rage. Dennis was also a Linux user and a bit of a programmer, having released a few file utilities for DOS on Simtel, but he hadn't managed to land himself a career in the computer industry. Dennis's 1999 homepage, like Craig's, is preserved in the WayBack Machine. Here we can see his experimentation with utilities like POV-Ray, his disturbing fictional writings, and his obsession with body piercing and gothic imagery. Warren talks about his career as a gas station attendant, posts gothic black and white pictures of his deathly-looking female crush, and describes the burden of his cousin's addiction to methamphetamines.
Delving a little deeper into Warren's site reveals a person with deep seated rage directed at the world. Warren, like Craig, has by this time had his share of problems with female rejection, and has channeled most of it into misogyny. When Warren created his Slashdot account, he found Craig McPherson's rambling petrification missives to be a ray of light in his world of darkness. Warren's obsession with Natalie Portman and other distant (and therefore mentally accessible) female figures dovetailed perfectly with Craig's female domination fantasies. Craig and Warren had each found a brother in madness though anonymous comments posted to Slashdot...
TO BE CONTINUED