I have a rule for the internet in order to preserve my sanity: never read the comments unless it is my own blog, and never engage with the trolls. My opinion given anonymously means nothing anyway. Who cares if I think Kanye West is a good guy and needs to run like hell away from the Kardashian mess for his own sanity? Who gives a fuck that I don’t believe in royalty, either semi elected, pop, or dynastical, and am longing for a few icons to get smashed? No one really cares if I put the milk in before the the tea or after; I care…I don’t like drinking ditchwater, and anyone who puts milk in first is a little crazy, but I am willing to live and let live. Think some chick in Walmart brawling over ramen is trashy? Think Madonna is hot to trot at 60 something years old…or a disgrace who needs to put it away? Is Ellen on adrenochrome? Was Hunter S Thompson high on the same shit? Where do you stand on conspiracy theories? Vaccine mandates? Tell me what do you think? What do you really really think? … Or in fact please don’t.
You see the inhumanity of anonymity has got to the point where scrolling to the comments on a news article about over a hundred American lives being lost, including babies and children, in a horrific tornado, becomes more of a trial to read than the transcripts from any Grizzy Maxwell trial horror show, more taxing than any slasher horror flick, and makes me start to feel a deep sense of unease like I am sharing the planet with a bunch of soulless motherfuckers who cheer on death, suffering and destruction in some partisan mongoose and the snake battle between Sleepy Joe’s defenders and The Orange Man’s sturm waffen Proud Boyz. In short, everyone sucks. I say “everyone” but there I go with the hyperbole, it is more contagious than a dose of the omicron; I don’t mean “everyone”, I mean just enough who are loud enough and mean enough to make me lose hope in humanity.
The ubiquitous “Everyone” thinks they are Lenny Bruce, but only a few of ’em have the talent which should attend such crass sick lazy attempts at humor, shock jocking, or rage inducement. Who sees such death and destruction and thinks a joke about Amazon delivery services is appropriate? Even worse are those getting irate that because the warehouse came down – incidentally killing workers; and now their parcels are late or lost and this means more to them than the lives lost. Such rampant consumerism coupled with the fact that no one knows who is making these snipes adds up to some disturbing reality checks. So many are reveling in the destruction and suffering of others. From kids locked up in ICE jails, to people dying at the southern border, to the polarization of vaccination, the business of online opinion farming is dirty and brutal. It is all for clicks, likes and lolz.
Usually such comments made between friends or family members would entail some in real life smacking with a rolled up newspaper, squirting with a water spray, loud groaning and denial of supper. In short, people get told to wind their necks in and don’t be horrible. We police each other by showing approval or disapproval. Yet online, trolls live for the downvotes, and a lot of others have their egos bolstered by upvoting, peer approval and forming communities of inhumanity. Reddit is sometimes a cesspool, and sometimes a supportive kind community depending on which sub. 4Chan is without fail disgusting. The Daily Mail is something along the lines of a modern Gladiatorial fight to the death with lions, far right wing sociopaths and fake news, hey but it least it is free and the poison is not behind a paywall. Go beyond the paywall into the NYT and it’s ilk and the diet of information/edutainment is no less prescriptive and ardous, it is just slightly more polite in its programming and twisting of the truth. Fact checking? Nah, mate. That is opinion and debate supressing and anti democratic,asserting the status quo at all costs using ridicule and social cancelling… but who cares? Not me. I hate them all equally. I distrust them all the same. I fly no flag. I have no chill, just like they don’t. I am team Me and always will be, because you know peas to pickles, no one else will be. Except perhaps the Boy. And Ruth. She puts up with me, even when she does think I am crazy.
I often consider just drawing the curtains on the whole mess, but I am a nervous sort who likes to know what the next threat to my survival is that looms on the horizon. War with Ivan after years of doom teasing, more hot and heavy than Mary Lou is the backseat of a car at prom with her Russian boyfriend promising to come at her with a missile like she has never seen before. He has been saying the same thing since 1963. I’ve yet to see any action. I don’t think he can get it up, personally, but I would like to know if he tries it on with Mary Lou’s friend, Eu(nice) Crane. I am just not capable of assuming the head in the sand, bend over and kiss yer ass goodbye ostrich position in life. It makes me nervous. A lot of things make me nervous. I try to confront them and fix em, instead of ignoring them. It is a fault I have failed to fix, but hey, I’m still here irritating the wildlife and poking hornets nests, so must be doing something right. It is surely not luck, I don’t usually have much of that, at least not of the good variety, though I have being doing somewhat better on the luck stakes recently.
I am very bad at ignoring the trolls and letting what will be will be. I get outraged. I feel the pain. I want to shake some sense or at least kindness into people, but I just can’t do it any more. It is making me feel miserable. So instead of reading the ramblings of the anonymously hateful who tell us what they really really think even when we really really don’t want or need to know, and occasionally pecking back at my keyboard trying to fulfill my role as Monster Trainer, I have made a very big decision. I am going to detoxify my life. Twitter remains useful, but I don’t feel the need to wade through the shit right now, in order to get through to the real gold of the interesting and sympatico that remain on there too. I love my blog. I won’t pretend that there have been comments on more than one occasion that have downright upset and angered me. Nowadays I just block and ignore if someone overstepped a boundary. I am still not very good at the whole non reaction gig. I guess we are who we are, the internet’s anonymity cannot erase the very ‘us-ness’ of the individual. All those little quirks, cuntishness, jerk-dom and cold protection of whichever tribe they are choosing to identify with, whether it is vaxxed, unvaxxed, Trump, Biden, Left, right, pro 99 percenters, or 1 percenter apologists, east coast, or repping the west side, are exaggerated and amplified through the wireless connections and fast speed fiber.
To be frank, I would not have it any other way. Democracy is built on freedom of speech. I see the storm clouds brewing on the horizon. The spectre of fascism rising on the horizon, under the disguise of ‘safety’ and ‘public health’. Our society, whilst having benefitted from the rise of the electronically connected online culture, has also been sadly degraded, and whilst I am expecting a certain amount of ‘Ok Boomer!’ from the too young to see good sense when it smacks them in the ‘social injustices’ it is true. Like those before me who foresaw the end of civilization due to radio, television, rock and roll, punk, sex on tv, drug use, video games and violent movies – all things that I see as progress, not as threat, I see that this rise of inhumanity and polarization due to the fact that anyone can say anything, and the culture of ‘red arrows are fun’, as the real deal. Wolf has been cried so many times over the 20th century, from women’s suffrage to short hair, bra burning, and various social and cultural events, as heralding the end, I think this is it, boys and girls.
That is not to say that I think anyone should have to forgo their anonymity, drop the mask (or the cheap japanese fan I am so fond of and need to stay alive, as my face is also a danger to me, I can’t be found by my ex). I don’t even think people should edit themselves. I certainly don’t believe in limiting the internet. I do think we all need to grow the fuck up as a species and start behaving like humans not animals from Orwellian warning of death and destruction.
I don’t know what the solution is. I fear that people, having been forced apart, and only relying on these remote connections and encouraged into tribes, focus groups and confrontational opposed sects and opinion-squads, that we are losing all feeling for each other. How easy it is to dehumanize when we convince ourselves that the opposing army is our enemy. Listen, you put the toilet paper on the holder with the paper flap towards the wall, I think you are a psychopath, but I don’t wish ill on ya! I wish it was that easy. It isn’t. I blame those in power which use and twist us little people against each other, because while we are attacking each other over milk before tea, toilet paper hanging techniques, vax status, mandates, masks and which group of people we blame as ‘wrong’ and ‘to blame’ for our own sadnesses, troubles and inadequacies. I suppose it is easier to hate the ‘othered’ rather than accept the blame for our own difficulties, or else accept it as ‘just how it is’ and c’est la vie motherfuckers. But no. The blame game is just far too tasty a treat to forgo. Someone has to be the whipping boy and that piper is demanding his stimulus check. Modern life sucks.
Whichever, whatever. I think unless we find some affection, understanding and respect for each other and our suffering and losses, I think we are all truly screwed.