|Picture via Funny or Die|
So a little while back, I was reading a post that his son put up, called "Why Internet Commentors Will Eventually End the World." Take a minute to read the article before you finish this post. I've got the link set so that it will open up in a new window.
What the old guy said, in a nutshell, is that anyone can say anything on the internet without any consequences. People my age who were brought up with Miss Manners or Emily Post or just a good crack in the back of the head when we said rude things or were disrespectful to others are now either dinosaurs, or part of the current problem of "trolls," because rude or downright nasty things that we would never dream of saying to another human being in person can be said in writing on the internet with no repercussions. Adults say things online that if said in person, would get them a quick trip to the emergency room.
I have fallen into this trap a time or two myself, I'm sorry to say, sometimes unintentionally, but rude is still rude, no matter how you slice it. Just because you can say something, never means you should say something, after all.
The generations coming after us have taken over the internet and have used it as a venue to bully other people. It's spread into the gaming community, too. Sometimes Mr. ShellHawk plays XBox Live, and will leave the volume on so I can hear what the other players are saying. The language I hear coming out of the mouths of boys who aren't old enough to shave is really shocking to me, and the bullying is un-freaking-believable! Of course, their parents should be severely reprimanded for allowing them to play rated "M" games live with adults, but that's a rant for another day.
The point of this particular rant is that over the past few days, I've seen a lot of nasty comments around the web. Again, I've made a few myself (I blame my mother's training. She is a total social retard and says the most horrifying, nasty things at the drop of a hat.), and justify it by telling myself I'm defending myself, but again, justifications in themselves are pretty weak, regardless of what you're justifying.
Even so, I find myself wondering, "Whatever happened to 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?'" I did practice that with a few people who really are trolls, but I noticed that all accomplishes is to allow them to shove harder, feel more powerful and free to up the ante on rude, nasty, untrue and illogical statements. The sad thing is, there are always a number of people, also malcontents, who will chime in and say, "Yeah! You're totally right!" And the nasty-fest escalates without benefit of the intervention of truth or sanity.
Again, the old man has it right.
Meanwhile, people who are positive and sane will say nothing at all. I guess they've been bullied enough or, more likely, they don't want to involve themselves in junior-high-school-type arguments. Honestly, when you look back at the things that were important enough to fight about in junior high, were any of them actually significant? Like world peace, ending starvation in America or saving whales? Probably not. It was probably as petty as some of the things I've seen recently.
In any case, just to be the trend-setter that I've always been, I'm going to make an effort to check myself before I comment on a hater's post, or just not comment at all. That seems the best route to take.
Although, sometimes a good "F**K YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON, YOU CRAZY JERK!" would undoubtedly feel better and lower my blood pressure.