December 05, 2006

The Internet Is A Wonderful Thing, But...

The overwhelming speed with which information gets reported and reacted to around cyberspace leads to so many people (usually under anonymous terms) acting in ways that are truly awful: angry, hostile, arrogant, defensive, incoherent and sometimes just outright nasty.

Consider the lastest episode with Gwyneth Paltrow. Here we have an actress who is quoted - possibly erroneously - by the international media as saying something that is considered by probably a majority of her fellow Americans to be somewhat insulting.

OK. Now here's my reaction. Are you ready? So what?

To me this sort of thing shouldn't elicit more than an eye-roll and maybe even a snicker. But let's assume she is quoted correctly and the statement reflects here true feelings. Let's assume that a woman who's only ever known since birth the kind of insular lifestyle customized to the entertainment industry. Let's assume "she don't know Jack" about average Americans or the culture in which they live.

So what?

Why does this kind of thing not only produce so much indignance and outrage but causes people to say (or write) things that are just as, if not more, stupid? How is it that people all over the world have gotten so thin skinned? I've read some of the reactions around the blogosphere. And then I've read reactions to those reactions, followed by further reactions to those reactions...and so on.

Here's a perfect example. On the fantastic film blog, LIBERTAS, one of the authors made a simple observation about the situation. What followed in the comments was essentially a cyber-argument among several readers that - in many places - seems to have been reduced to the level of nine-year olds in a schoolyard.

I see this all too often. Go ahead and make the case that this is just a healthy free exchange of ideas. I'll make the case that it's a lot of unnecessary crapola. As I said, the Internet is a wonderful thing. But unfortunately it's contributed to gradual chipping away of the kind of civility that used to be the norm. It's helped make things more polarized whether you're talking about politics, culture, sports or whatever.

I'm getting a little weary of it. And call me a pessimist but I don't see it getting better anytime soon.

Posted by: Gary at 09:45 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 394 words, total size 3 kb.

1 Guilty as charged...

Posted by: Pam at December 05, 2006 10:08 AM (E1H09)

2 Believe me, I myself am by no means above reproach. :blush:

Posted by: Gary at December 05, 2006 11:55 AM (PLHs9)

Posted by: rightwingprof at December 05, 2006 12:31 PM (o7KrD)

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