Friday, December 28, 2012

Thinking out loud all over the place

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.


  1. I used to workshop my poetry on various internet forums or poetry boards as they were once called and it never ceased to astonish me at how snarky, how really mean and nasty and just plain unkind some folks were all the time. I've noticed a similar trend in comments that people leave now under any random news story. It seems that the internet has turned everyone or almost everyone into a version of their worst possible selves. And it seems that everyone has forgotten the golden rules: If you haven't got anything nice to say, zip it. And: Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you.

    I haven't had anyone really nasty show up on my blog. But I wouldn't hesitate to go private with it in a drop dead minute if some random stranger showed up and started making unkind or pointless comments, so I hear you on your heads up post below.

    The internet is a wonderful thing. We are all connected by it and to it. But it also an ugly thing that seems able to pull us all apart.

  2. as a friend often says about all of this, 'no one can see your eyes'--and that very anonymity allows a greater freedom to annoy, to snark, to make waves.

    Free speech and Yoyow are often bandied about, usually by someone who only sees themselves in the reflective mirror.

    With a blog, easy to forget that the blog owner is prime, and has the power of everything concerning it. I forget that too, sometimes.

    Thanks, Laurel.

  3. You be my Guru, as always, JT; I am ever oblivious, even having been burned a time or two. I forget. What a world, eh?