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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:02 AM

#FreeJahar: When Conspiracy Theorists and One Direction Fans Collide

Up until last week, "One Direction Infection," a Tumblr blog created and maintained by an eighth grader we'll call Claire, looked like any other 14-year-old's Tumblr: a bright pink background, a default font that resembles cute handwriting, an embedded MP3 player playing Daddy Yankee and Jesse McCartney, and scores of photographs and animated GIFs of the members of One Direction, Britain's biggest boy band.

It still looks like that, mostly—same background, same font, same Justin Timberlake song on the music player—but over the weekend Claire's subject matter took a sharp turn. In place of candid shots of Harry Styles and Zayn Malik, there are now photos of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; instead of inspirational image macros, there are annotated crime scene photos. The precocious, self-concious tone remains, and when you visit your browser still reads "One Direction Infection," but the blog has a new URL: http //free-jahar tumblr com.

"Jahar" is what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's friends and Twitter followers call him, and #FreeJahar is the hashtag banner around which thousands of people have rallied on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook to closely follow Tsarnaev's case and share what they believe to be evidence of his innocence. I tracked Claire down (through her One Direction fan fiction page) and, over Twitter direct messages, asked her about her Tumblr. "I do believe he is very cute, but that’s not the reason I am personally involved in this movement," she emailed me back. "I am in this because I don’t believe its right to put a totally innocent person in jail for the rest of his/her life or even death penalty. I don’t care who it is, it just isn’t fair."

Like the "Holmies" and "Columbiners" devoted to the Aurora, Colo. and Columbine High School shoters, respectively, #FreeJahar has its roots in "fandom" culture—those devoted communities of admirers, usually young women, that organize themselves on sites like Tumblr, exchanging photographs, fan art and writing, and expressions of "the feels," a near-undefinable flood of emotion and desire. (Rachel Monroe wrote a fantastic essay on the topic last year.) But it's been combined with the conspiratorial rhetoric of sites like Infowars or Natural News, and informed by viral "issue" campaigns like Kony 2012. The result is a strange hybrid phenomenon—part conspiracy-mongering, part gushing fandom, part political movement, part self-promotional tool, structured by social media, populated almost entirely by teenagers and stubbornly resistant to argument.

http://gawker.com/freejahar-when-conspiracy-theorists-and-one-direction-478152664 more

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Reply #FreeJahar: When Conspiracy Theorists and One Direction Fans Collide (Original post)
cash__whatiwant Apr 2013 OP
Immabk Apr 2013 #1
octothorpe Apr 2013 #2
pintobean Apr 2013 #3
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2013 #4

Response to cash__whatiwant (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 12:17 PM

1. 4chan needs to find this claire

And enlighten her parents. Her computer should be taken to the backyard and burned. I hope someone stops her bad guy worship before she gets a real lesson in evil.

This is oh so disturbing.

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Response to cash__whatiwant (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 07:40 PM

2. Interesting. I was wondering if Free Jahar type pages would start popping up.

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Response to cash__whatiwant (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 07:46 PM

3. And we need to advertise this on DU?

Now we'll show up in searches. Nice.

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Response to cash__whatiwant (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 07:58 PM

4. It happens every time

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