EThere is a generation from analog times that has transferred its curiosity about the reactions of strangers at the end of the telephone line to the Internet. In the pre-digital world, you could still crouch over the phone book and look for, shall we say, “special” surnames and then agree on a prank call with your immature friends. In the harmless version, it was stupid at best.
In the chats and forums of the digital 1990s, the game of fake identities continued. You could be anything, any gender, any age, famous or inscrutable, you were safe at your keyboard, anonymous as you were on the phone, except now you couldn’t even hear the giggling of the teenagers sitting around. And you were incredibly curious to see how the person sitting on the other side would react.
Then came YouTube. And with YouTube, everything that had been hidden until then was suddenly visible.
Headbanging and smearing breads
Rainer Winkler from Altschauerberg in Middle Franconia started his YouTube videos more than ten years ago. That was the time when you tried who would be interested in the modest talents you had. There was cooking, secret work, lectures, then others satirized what they saw there. Some still had shame or inhibitions back then. Winkler was around 20 and lived alone in a town of 50 people. He called himself “Dragon Lord” and was looking for attention. So he taught his handful of followers how to headbang and spread bread.
If you hit a tongue-in-cheek or silly tone during that time, you could end up being quite successful with fairly manageable content. But it could also happen that others made fun of you. And crossed borders. Or, even worse, develop an unfathomable hatred, the kind of hatred that later spread throughout the internet. That’s what happened at Winkler.
The case that the podcast Cui Bono II: Who’s Afraid of the Dragon Lord describes is abyssal, most notably in the passages that get closer to the “haters” who’ve turned on Winkler en masse over the years . And close means that, thanks to good research, they explain themselves, coolly, calmly. Winkler should suffer, he should rage, he should disappear from the Internet, say the hate fans. And he rages. And he makes another mistake, he reveals his address. Now the haters are marching en masse in front of his front door.
context of time
How do you tell a story about the cruelty of the so-called middle of society, a tormenting game with thousands of perpetrators; an abuse that lasts for years and is seen by those who participate as a legitimate, obvious response to an intolerable tormentor?
With the right tone, by looking closely, the context of the time when Winkler came to YouTube, with many details, the podcast tells the story. The first season of “Cui Bono”, which dealt with the radicalization of former radio presenter Ken Jebsen, was accessed five million times and won the Grimme Online Award, the German Reporter Award and the German Podcast Award. Almost a bit too much hype.
This time, what Khesrau Behroz, Tobias Bauckhage and the Studio Bummens team have produced in five episodes with music by Jakob Ilja, the guitarist of Element of Crime, is told even more reduced and relies on the inner context of the story. How does small hatred turn into massive bullying? Thousands of expensive police operations and a lawsuit against Winkler for dangerous bodily harm later, it is clear that there has never been so much organized hatred against a private person in Germany.
Not so long ago, a regional newspaper said it was amazing how Winkler always managed to get media attention. As if he had chosen that his haters continue their “dragon game” even though he has long since moved, although his desire for attention has long since passed. The podcast “Cui Bono” contrasts the frequently copied narrative of the publicity-addicted Youtuber with another, more complex one. It’s about a young man in a very small town, about the limits of our criminal prosecution and the boundless hate on the internet.
Cui Bono runs on RTL+ and Spotify
Leave a Reply