Dazed article

23 May 2018

Quoted in a Dazed article, using mild profanity:
I spoke to Stephen Pihlaja, another Applied Linguist. He told me that insulting someone to show affection is not new; in fact, “we all do it as a way to protect ourselves from being exposed to the hurt of saying that we care about someone and not having them respond in the way we’d hope. It’s much easier to call a your friend an asshat than to say ‘I appreciate you’. Like lots of stuff online, this gets amplified because you have both this access to incredibly famous people, but also the sense that they are unlikely to ever see what you tweet anyway.”
He added that, “fans are trying to get the attention of celebrities or to raise their own visibility, and being insulting or shocking is a good way to do that. It also has some of the elements of the defence mechanisms I mentioned. Being too big a fan of something might be seen negatively, so if you insult someone you like, you aren’t left out in the open in a way you might be if you said you loved them.”