In a galaxy far, far away when Al Gore took time to invent the Internet I wonder if he had any idea that it would one day become a soap box for the idiotic, mean-spirited jerks. On Monday I was rolling around town listening to NPR’s Talk of the Nation (I know your thinking Francis is a party animal isn’t he.) and a segment about anonymous internet posters came up.
The Talk of the Nation segment made me think of a conversation I had with my assistant Paula a while back about me not reading the op-ed pages and comment sections of newspapers’ websites because it just a platform for mean-spirited douche baggery. My point was that people hide behind the “anonymous” tag so that they can just “say stuff” about the writer, the news story, or the subjects of the news stories. The comments are often filled with every” ism”, and “ist” you can imagine.
For example, the local paper The Charleston Post and Courier has a bit of a right-wing slant (By bit I mean a lot.) so many I just don’t bother reading the comment sections of the stories any more. If I do read the paper I stick to the information sections. It is so bad that when a family in a neighboring town was killed last winter, among them was a 20 month old and the hateful among the readers found time to chime in. I’m sorry sir, I have no need of this brand of affirmation.
This trend goes beyond your daily fish-wrappers’ web editions, Jemele Hill of ESPN often catches hell for her stories on ESPN’s Page 2 section. She is criticized for being everything from black, female, to being an all-around hack. No civility only vitriol. If vitriol had a market value Jemele Hill would be Scrooge McDuck. I noticed this again last week when South Carolina won the College World Series and the hate vultures on ESPN.com swarmed in and blocked out the sun light the next day. The attack were against not only the Gamecocks but the entire state. Once again I was left scratching my head.
Even the most benign fields draw the ire of angry posters. You’d be shocked about how many old-school comic nerds take time out from their mom’s basement to comment on how much they hate Brian Michael Bendis’ take on the Avengers or Matt Fraction’s recent X-Men story line. Dude, your 50, just stop it. The fact that this upsets you is almost as pathetic as those nacho cheese stains on your vintage Silver Surfer tee.
I wrote about a similar topic in The Fear a while back and I’m still wonder what gives. False Internet bravado is as sickening the fools who decide protest it in the street. At least those in the street will show their faces. I would say these people should be stopped but alas, this isn’t China so people can do almost what the want on the Internets and get away with it.
I guess the Constitution is for d-bags too.
Vaya con Dios.