There is a disease that is killing society.
There is no rash, no fever, no obvious physical symptoms.
Despite this those who are afflicted are easy to spot.
They skulk in the corners of social media carping, sniping, spewing bile…looking to cause the most upset, the maximum distress and the greatest amount of discomfort in the fewest number of characters permitted.
Often they will lash out for no reason…other than they are anonymous and because they can.
It doesn’t have to be anything particularly egregious.
The brazen racism of the far right or the, equally brazen, shamings of the far left are now almost laughable…ideologues attempting to crush wrong thinkers from behind a keyboard.
Those voices can be silenced by reasonable people on all sides by employing the block function on Twitter.
The disease I am observing is the one which has killed politeness, relegated kindness to the lowest rung of human interaction and shoved respectful dialogue into a box bound with a heavy chain.
A woman posts a picture of a new dress or a haircut or…before it has time to properly register with most viewers of the image she has received sexually explicit messages, dick pics, crticisms of her body and who knows what else. She responds by calling out such unwanted attention and is immediately subjected to a barage of threats, unpleasant names and more.
Polite, kind and respectful people do not behave in this way.
Do you know the woman in the post?
If so you can click the link love heart.
That’s all that is required.
You don’t know her?
Keep your thoughts to yourself.
Positive or negative.
“Yeah, well she shouldn’t post pics of herself online then should she mate?” screams the boor in the pub. This is the equivalent of “She was asking for it” and betrays the ugly truth about these people…they are sick. No longer properly functioning members of society. They are…unclean.
I posted a piece on certain ugly behaviours at concerts a few days ago. The response was, largely, positive.
Some people were enraged by my suggestion that hoovering up lines of coke, getting pissed and then fighting at a concert might not be a particularly nice way to conduct oneself.
“I bet you’re a right laugh” brays the bully.
I don’t want to be a right laugh.
I want to be polite, kind and respectful.
Someone shares a point of view on an issue.
It’s just a thought.
They haven’t researched it.
They are not an expert.
It’s just a thought.
Let the pile on begin.
A relentless stream of aggression.
For a thought.
A different point of view.
It’s an attempt to shut people down…not for ugly, violent, racist, abusive statements but for differences of opinion.
Often this disease manifests itself over trivial matters.
“I like X band” says one soul.
“Fucking shite” screams another with no soul.
Not, “I never really liked them” or “I prefered…” or even saying nothing but, instead, abuse.
Banter though innit mate?
Banter isn’t a real thing.
Banter is abuse under a different name.
Lots of people think that they are being funny of course, they see themselves as “characters” or as some undiscovered comedian…they are not “characters” or undiscovered comedians; they are bullies and boors. Vulgarians. There is a difference between Ricky Gervais taking aim at celebrities and celebrity culture and you screaming at an ordinary Joe on the internet.
Lots of things and people make me cross.
I’ll go further…some people infuriate me.
I share those thoughts, those darker, uglier, aspects of my character, with one or two close friends…in private. I vent. Get it off my chest. Spit it out. Great globules of rage, fury and hideousness. Nasty, mean spirited stuff…the dark thoughts we all have.
The difference is…I keep that to a very specific set of folks.
I don’t want to upset the people who have made me feel that way so…I don’t.
It’s genuinely really easy not to be unpleasant.
You just ask yourself…is this going to make another human being feel better or worse?
If the answer is worse…don’t say it.
I get why these rules don’t apply to those in positions of power or to those who have committed acts worthy of them but that is a small group of people. Most people on the receiving end of abuse are just…people. They might not be your kind of person…so what? Block them. Move on.
A friend of mine sent me a post from Twitter today…they really didn’t like it. They were blocking the person responsible for the tweet and they were moving on. I love them for that. They could have responded and got dragged into some pointless, nasty, endless spat…draining them of energy, making them angry or upset, stealing time they don’t really have, instead they just moved on. Brilliant.
“SHOCK! People are arseholes on Twitter. You need to grow a pair mate.” will be the rough outline of at least some of the responses to this post on Twitter. Proving my wider point.
I guess what I’m trying to say is…let’s be nice.
Anyone with me?