What a wicked web we weave

As virtual observations on the Iraq war die out, the internet's bulletin boards return to profanities and partisan passion, abuse and angst, and hate and hysteria. But Tom Lewis finds not everyone has moved on…

When setting out to research a review of Jeepers Creepers 2, something both shocking and amusing came to light. Which consequently, inspired a very different article.
Before and during the conflict in Iraq, I was moved to write my feelings about the nature of the war in postings on a bulletin board that I was a member of and one on which, I would regularly talk to people.

The site in question was on the official Deftones website, a site for a metal band based in America and largely populated by Americans.

Already I can imagine people thinking, "Well why bother?" and I can honestly say that it crossed my mind several times too.

However, I still wanted to know what people thought about what was going on and gauge the reaction of real American citizens, as opposed to their heavily pro-war media coverage.

I probably would have given up trying to voice my opinion had it not been for the basic and insulting replies that came back.

Having nothing to say on the politics of the situation, rather more on my sexual orientation or that of anti-war protesters in general.

Which at first was mildly amusing, but after a while it became like a schoolyard.

If you were against the war you were either: an idiot (or words to that effect, normally abusive), an anti-American or were pro-Saddam.

Despite trying to make my views clear, it was more transparent that the weight of people simply regurgitating "facts" from Fox News was too much to take.

I put this behind me, after all it was only a website, I simply stopped answering them and left the site and its boards alone.

I had not forgotten the reactions, because I talked at length during media studies lectures about them, but I put them to the back of my mind.

I didn't take the comments personally.

Now, what of the Jeepers Creepers 2 connection you ask?

Well, I was writing a review of the film, and I wanted to do some further research so out of curiosity I set about trying to find the official site.

I instead found a fan site, but before I started to search again I read on. The message read as follows:

"I created a fan site for the upcoming film, Jeepers Creepers 2. As word of the film's existence became more widespread, and the site had reached over 45,000 visitors, I decided that I'd like to temporarily close down the fansite, and write a quick protest of the war on Iraq, George W Bush, and Tony Blair.

"This was planned to be temporary, however, I started to receive a large number of e-mails from people, filled with homophobic insults, terrible spelling, and shocking displays of cluelessness. It was frustrating, but at the same time, pretty funny.

"So after receiving 1,000 viruses, and almost as many e-mails from Jeepers Creepers fans (who I have decided are among the stupidest people alive) cursing me, praising Bush, and not making any sense the rest of the time, I've decided to make the site a guest-book for these idiots to leave their mark of stupidity."

The following replies, some of which are unprintable without censoring, made me laugh and also angry enough to drop my review of Jeepers Creepers 2 and write this piece instead.

Not only did the replies this man received contain computer viruses or death threats; they also could not even spell their own president's name or that of Saddam Hussein.

One posting told the website's creator (name withheld) that he thought it was going to harm young children to see the site's content (repeated verbatim):

"… it's just that kids that are 10+ might want to look at the Jeepers Creepers 2 trailer, and they have to see the shit that Democrats think they can make happen in a blink of an eye. so screw you, and screw your fellow Democrats!"

It was signed: "Ben, the 14-year old Republican."

The site's creator replied: "What is more damaging to children who may view the site is the profane language used in postings like yours young man, not the fact the website's content happens to differ from your own opinions."

Another posting to the forum told the site's creator he should not be using a public website set up to provide information on a commercial film to voice his personal opinions.

Whether this is true or not, Jeeperscreepers2.com provides a sshocking, but perversely humerous overview of how media spin - particularly in the US - has turned British Prime Minister Tony Blair into a saint, and US President George W Bush into a great world leader in the eyes of thousands of young movie fans.