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In cyberspace, incivility is even more tempting, in that a person can say anything, no matter how rude, from the relative comfort of their home, or at a wi-fi hot spot while sipping a delicious beverage. It is also more pernicious and cowardly. Anonymity and remoteness are the drivers, and retreat into obscurity is just a click away.
THE PhD AND ME
I am not without sin. A few days ago, I noticed in the comments to a post at a blog, someone identifying themselves as a PhD. The PhD left a comment that I thought could too easily be construed as overtly pompous. With little aforethought, I wrote, “There is nothing quite as unattractive as a PhD acting like a superior SOB.”
Sure, I thought my retort was especially clever and cute at the time. After a spell, I changed my mind. As my wife has to frequently admonish me, “Don’t engage The Crazy.” But, no matter how uncivil I thought the doctor was being, so was I, and that falls into the category of “not helping.”
The PhD replied to my comment. “My mother is not a BITCH. The Hinds name is quite distinguished in heraldry, [and] it appears to have ended with you.”
I am wholly ignorant of any dubious claim to heraldry I may have, but I replied, “Touché. I apologize.”
My conscience got the best of me, mostly for the reason that I know there is a very good chance that if the doctor and I had been physically in the same room, we would never have said the things we said to each other–at least not in a baiting, strident tone.
GOING DOWN ON THE COMMANDER AND CHIEF
Last weekend I stumbled into a blog. What caught my eye was the title to a post. The title explicitly suggested that anyone who likes President Obama ought to perform fellatio on him. The post and comments, all cheering for the author, were of the lowest order of rude and crude. Said blog is a liberal-progressive “hard left” blog.
There, I stood mute and invisible, and left.
DON’T ENGAGE ‘THE CRAZY’
Would those same people say those sort of things, in the same way, straight to someone’s face, in the street? Probably not. Most people like to be liked, and make it a point to avoid violent altercations.
Part of the problem is anonymity. For some it may be necessary to avoid getting fired or ostracized within their communities.
The other part of the problem is remoteness. The ability to virtually fly around the world with nothing but a wireless connection is, to date, the greatest accomplishment of humanity, for humanity. But, it is damn easy, and tempting, to throw bombs and flame from your home with one hand, while the other is shoveling through a bag of Cheetos.
Mature people should make it a point not to use anonymity and remoteness as a weapon. Each of us should make it a point to be considerate enough to not write anything on the internet that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
No matter what, never insult another guy’s mother.
I promise to try to do better, and not engage The Crazy.Click here for reuse options!