Thursday, January 2, 2014

Is Anyone on the Internet Nice Anymore?

Whether you're talking the faux-Feminism trolling of Amanda Marcotte and Man Boobz, or the outright bigotry of HBDers, or even the general swipes taken daily on sites as varied as Jezebel, Gawker, and WaPo. It just seems that people aren't as nice online as they are forced to be in person.

Obvious conclusion: the anonymity and/or distance of cyberspace allows people more freedom to divest themselves of fear from reprisal or confrontation. In other words: nobody's going to punch you in the face if you call them an asshole online.

I feel like the lack of humanity doled out by so many digital demagogues is a poison the tastes a lot like guilty pleasure. We love the bloodletting. It reminds us of all the wounds we wish we could inflict ourselves onto the suspecting (and even unsuspecting) sources of our ire. More than claws and teeth. I'm talking about ripping people's hearts out of their chests a la Temple of Doom.

When all that dramatized righteous anger has been properly framed, what's left for conversation? What's left for real conversation? I don't know myself... but I suspect that if we simply stopped riding that adrenaline high of being upset, we might realize that we spend an awful amount of time getting into conversations that we don't want to have with people we don't really care about. And then, instead of getting triggered or mad, we'd just leave or talk.

But, then again, it's never that simple. Never that easy. Said or done.

Maybe that's why apathy is so attractive. Better numb than burned out?

Personally, I find pessoptimism the only balance to be struck when you've been called every kind of bigot that you're not by people who should know better while simultaneously being attacked by every kind of bigot that you've spent your entire life fighting against because they refuse to know better. Rock. Hard place. And between doesn't even begin to cover it.

Maybe that's why bright ideas like The Good Men Project turned to rot. People see that kind of beautiful and instantly criticize it because it wasn't theirs, because it's more than they are. Like a hunter who shoots a lion for sport. Foolish. Dangerous. Someone who deserves the worst and, yet, isn't worth the time of a knock upside the head.

This post is a lot of philosophizing. I wonder if anybody is even listening? I guess a proverbial fart in the wind isn't all that interesting in a blogosphere filled with Lady Gaga under-butt-cheek photos and sports commentary.

But at least it gives me a place to store these thoughts besides itching the back of my skull.


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