Tech rainmaker Marc Andreessen once boasted that Rap Genius would one day "annotate the world." If you needed yet another reminder of how utterly worthless that would be, read the creepy and weird annotations left by company cofounder Mahbod Moghadam on the memoir of UCSB spree killer Elliot Rodger.
Rap Genius has all of Rodger's 141-page memoir up on its site, and it looks like Moghadam has spent all of his Sunday combing through it. The result is a trail of weirdly gleeful annotations that ignore the memoir's context as a prelude to mass murder.
You can scroll through Moghadam's annotations on his Rap Genius user page, but here are some of his most bizarre notes, starting with his love of Rodger's prose. [A statement from Moghadam regarding his annotations can be found at the bottom of this post.]
Then there's the part where he surmises that Rodger's sister—who is currently dealing with her brother having murdered seven people—must be "smokin hot."
Maybe Moghadam's fanboy reading of Rodger's memoir doesn't bother you—people have been poring over the writings of mass murderers for years. But, at the very least, Moghadam is illustrating perfectly the limitations of Rap Genius: wanting to annotate the world is fine, but the site has yet to prove it can add anything substantive to the wider conversation.
Contrast Moghadam's slobbery ogling of Rodger and his family with the #YesAllWomen hashtag that has dominated Twitter this weekend. While one reads like the aimless thoughts of a teenager in his bedroom, the other has become an elucidating platform for voices and stories that is creating a meaningful context around a news event.
#YesAllWomen, in other words, is what Rap Genius wants to be, and you don't have to look far to see that gulf spelled out.
@MalikTheSudani yo when are you gonna take me to some college parties homie? I need some fresh meat!
— Mabode (@mahbodmoghadam) May 25, 2014
UPDATE: Moghadam has given the following statement regarding his annotations to Valleywag's Nitasha Tiku:
I was fascinated by the fact that a text was associated with such a heartbreaking crime, especially since Elliot is talking about my neighborhood growing up
I got carried away with making the annotations and making any comment about his sister was in horrible taste, thankfully the rap genius community edits out my poor judgement, I am very sorry for writing it