No Dissension Allowed

When did we stop being able to disagree about things, ideas, beliefs and start being offended, angry, diminishing ? When did the way *I* see things become the only right way? Is this a tendency the internet made much much worse or something new?

I guess people of a certain age or mindset have always been that way. I knew them as a kid. It is strange to see it happen to your friends.

The net is different from the wild west days of the early 90s (when I started  on a text version of the internet), when you had to really WANT to be on the net- it wasn’t easy. I think it was a friendlier place too, possibly because it was less populated.

What I find interesting is that some of this isn’t even anonymous–I get that trolls will be trolls and anonymity makes them bold. But, these are real people using their real names. I’ve stopped posting on feminist websites because I get dog piled (and I’m a feminist) or any agnostic or atheist discussions (I’ve been both, I’m just now edging out of agnosticism ).

I hesitate to call myself a feminist lest I become lumped in with the crazy vicious ones–the ones who see every man as an enemy. The ones on tumblr who think traffic cones are oppressive phallic symbols.

I now will absolutely NEVER consider atheism because of the nasty and abusive silencing I’ve seen in most? all? discussions. I’m concerned about our child exploring her religious philosophy in the internet age because there seems to be no place for rational discussion, for searching. When we’ve moved I’ll be helping her do this IRL of course, but I have cautioned, even forbidden her to talk about those subjects online until she is much older and can handle what amounts to bullying.

The vitriol is amazing! The lack of visual clues and the distance, yes…it isn’t anonymity perhaps but internet argument a child and a jackassdistance. You are berating someone across the country or across town, so it’s safer– you never have to really face them. To face how horrid your behavior is.

I wish for the days when we could respectfully disagree. When it wasn’t necessary to insult the people who disagreed with you. 

I’m not a ‘digital native’ (goofy catchphrase) but I’ve been doing this a long time and it is pretty much second nature to me. So to find my Waterloo is interesting.

I guess this is a get off my lawn moment.

 

One Comment

  1. People don’t like conflict, especially when it’s face-to-face. No one is taught to respect other people’s opinions or even recognize them as opinions. One point of view can be irritating, but so what? Religion and feminism are easy targets, so that is why people who bask in anonymity have no fear of being assholes. It is sad that no one is taught how to discuss anything: are Debate classes even taught in schools?

    I agree with you there: the Internet has become too scary for the mentally unprepared. I started using it when I was 16 and it wasn’t that scary and weird 🙁

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