The terminally annoying are everywhere. There was a time when the best they could do was soap your car windows or bash in a rural malibox, cut off the heads of all the flowers in your front yard or spray paint the cows. Now they have expanded into the crevices of the internet, appearing predictably in every corner, from forums, message boards, email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and private spaces.
As always they force choices upon us who only want to travel our own paths quietly, cheerfully dragging along anyone who wishes to travel the same way. The choices are almost always unpleasant, the shockwaves sometimes surprising in their intensity.
I used to be on a message board a long way from here both in time and purpose, and the administrator traveled a fine narrow path between the very different points of view, often as not finding himself reprimanding hosts and posters alike for their behavior, while realizing the Goad Factor that exists in such a situation.
And sometimes the decisions are painful.
Know what I miss, in this politically correct world? Halloween as it once was wrought, with soaped windows, burning doggy bags on the front stoop, little kids in immense bands wandering about parentless for a few hours, large shopping bags at the ready. That holiday belonged to them. I miss Christmas when people were not afraid to say Merry Christmas to anyone, when you were allowed to display the symbols of your faith and joy on the lawn, in the window, or in an ad, without reprisal from the now easily offended.
Christmas parties in the schools are now banned. Too much religion. Someone Might Be Offended. Halloween, amazingly, is also banned from many places. It appears to be the opposite extreme in the eyes of the rigid: satan worship. The devil. Parents are afraid their little wonders will be traumatized by it, but it's okay for those same little wonders to play computer games with blood dripping out of their online enemies. Go figure.
We have given ourselves freedom of speech and too many people believe it means their speech, not yours.
We live in one of the most open societies in the world and are becoming one of the most regimented, one segment at a time.
Im 67. I probably will not live to see what happens with the generation now teething, learning to walk, to talk, to function as adults. Part of me wishes I could: they will either close a few more doors or blow those doors off the hinges, the way kids did in the 60s and 70s.
Merry Christmas, dammit.