Hidden in the darkest, skinniest recesses of the Internet are the pro-ana (pro-anorexic) forums. They offer ideas, advice and general discussions on never eating again. Despite all the overwhelming support between users, or maybe because of it, pro-ana websites are some of the creepiest places you can find yourself on the Web. But considering that the disorder has a undercurrent of competitiveness, the pretense of support collapses pretty frequently, and forum threads devolve into arguments about who's better at starving to death.
"And then I sit like that for half an hour until my brain thinks it ate a meal."
It's nearly impossible to read through these forums without wincing, so instead I'll just tell you that they constantly and passive-aggressively attack one another's diets for not being rigid enough. The Cookie Diet, which is an insanely unhealthy diet allowing only 800 calories a day, will be laughed out of most of these forums for being too indulgent. The feuds aren't quite as conspicuous as they are on other forums, but they are even more vicious, because no one aligns themselves with a particular side: It's just a free-for-all attack on one another under the guise of encouragement. For such frail, non-threatening husks of people, they are extraordinarily mean.
#1. White Power Advocates
On most issues, nearly all factions of the white power movement see eye to eye, provided that each of those eyes are blue. They can all agree that white people are the favorite kind of people and that every other race is infuriating, but just how infuriating is apparently an insurmountable point of contention between them.
White separatists are willing to tolerate the fact that other races exist in the world, but they advocate the creation of an "ethnically pure" country of just white people. In other words, they want an entire nation built on the principles of a '70s country club. Supremacists, on the other hand, can't sleep knowing that there are other ethnicities out there, just existing. Supremacists don't just want to run their own little hunk of land because they are afraid that the rest of the world will fall into ruin without their supervision. They believe that white people are inherently superior and should be the ruling race in every country. So if there is only one compliment to offer white supremacists, it's that they are at least thinking globally, regardless of how misguided and malevolent that thought may be.
But even with all the hatred they're expending on other races, both supremacists and separatists treat their bigotry like a marathon instead of a sprint, always saving a little reserve hatred that they can use on each other from time to time.
The clearest example of their mutual antagonism is smeared across Stormfront.org, the biggest white pride forum on the Internet. In one thread, a girl asks if she's still allowed to be part of the white revolution since she once dated an Asian man by mistake. The separatists get to her first, saying it's OK as long as she promises never to do it again, but pretty quickly after that, the supremacists step in and assure her that she's been tainted forever and that she's officially "off the team." Then the two sides fight for another 50 pages over what kind of interaction with other ethnicities is acceptable. It's remarkable to see so many people accusing one another of not being the right amount of racist and genuinely threatening to hang one another when the white revolution finally comes.
Ahh, now that's brotherhood.
Special thanks to David Wong for his help researching this column.
For more from Soren, check out 5 Baffling Real Internet Searches For Financial Advice and 5 Internet Prescribed 'Cleanses' That Made Me Immortal.