On Talking to Brick Wallson September 20, 2012 at 2:28 am
The people you thoroughly and accurately criticize are never your audience when you write, vlog, do stand-up, or vent to your closest friends about your frustrations with jack-asses in this world.
Years ago, I used to think that some of the most scathingly-poignant criticisms aimed at the trolls, xenophobes, homophobes, sexists, racists, classists, jerks, dicks, and unreasonably emotional bitches actually hit home with those people, possibly being the snowflake that caused an avalanche of epiphany and reform for even the most staunch of the lot.
Oh, how much I’ve learned.
As the expression goes, “haters gonna hate”, but I suppose I’m just one of those people who can’t walk that walk. Now, more than ever, when you go onto any news/blog site of your choosing to find interesting articles about, say, how a rapper does something funny, or how some woman said something perhaps justifiably feminist–you know, anything that’s guaranteed to bring out the trolls (which, once you think about it, is anything these days)–you get the ignorantly racist comment about how black people are dumb and all rappers are just crack salesmen with recording contracts, or how the lady that decided to comment on the fragility-yet-insensitivity of the human race must be on her cycle and is clearly too ugly to get a boyfriend or something. And of course, the more popular and/or slanted the forum is, the more likely it is that you’ll see the big peacocks coming out of the woodworks looking to strut their human-enraging powers to the fullest.
What I’m starting to see more of in the last few months is people deciding to not ‘feed the trolls’, even in some of the more popular places like Huffington Post or the Gawker family of sites, which I can understand to a point. However, what bothers me about that concept is that these rascally people ultimately go largely unchecked, and continue to wring their hands at every opportunity to either piss people off for the hell of it, or remain blissfully ignorant to how narrow-mindedly they are approaching a topic.
I think I can say I’m against stirring the pot just for the heck of it; I really believe that we as a society need to be progressive at every opportunity we get. As a communal race of beings, we have no excuses not to try to gain a deeper understanding of the collective knowledge we’ve amassed over the last…iono…hundred thousand years or more, and push the boundaries to try and understand this place we call home that much better. Until this is Utopia both ecologically and socially, we haven’t mastered a damn thing as a people, so there’s no point in complacency, and stagnating the conversation with backhanded remarks and decades-old, propaganda-driven sensibilities is not going to get us anywhere but right here in 20 years.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with good old rhetoric to liven up the place, but when you have the same people starting fires, throwing gas and wood on them, and then running out of the room, never to return to the scene of the crime, then you effectively have a killer on the loose. Not in the literal sense, obviously, but you have to understand that if this guy or girl truly believes some of the horrible things that were just rattled off, then there’s that much less hope that we can ultimately all get along.
“Why must we all get along?” you might ask. Elementary; the better we get along, the further we get ahead. You have to ask yourself: do I want human beings to tread water as a race for the next 100 years because we can’t get over our deeply-ingrained hatred for all things foreign to our upbringing? Should we always just ‘let it gooooooo, man’, and assume that Karma will kick in somewhere down this dick’s lifeline, wreaking justice and warm-fuzzies for all? It seems rather hands-off to me, not a way to raise a child (right, Bob Dole?).
And at the end of the day, we’re all still children. Think about it: how civilized are we, really? We’re nowhere near the pinnacle. We’re immature little brats who are afraid of change and can’t stand when people challenge our rationales. The well-adjusted people you’ve met in your life, those bastions of nobility, those connoisseurs of progress, the people that can adapt to change without one tear shed in the process…those people represent what we’re being held back from. After gazing upon that shining example of excellence, turn around and look at the people on the street. Look what happens when the Christians make the ‘God hates X’ signs to take to the courts marrying same-sex couples, or when the rednecks yell “go back to Aferkuh” out the passenger side window of their cousin-brother’s pickup truck. These people aren’t as far-removed from modern society as you might think, especially when you look at a buttload of the comments around the internet.
I just wish somebody would teach these fools a lesson, but I also wish that the teacher was not another human being that can be demoralized by a well-tuned slur or some good ol’ classic ad hominem. They say life itself is the best lesson, but many of us have adapted enough (in the wrong direction or for the wrong purposes, mind you) to live lifestyles that avoid criticism as much as possible. If you don’t like being judged and ‘graded’ at school, drop out. Significant other nagging you too much? Dump ‘em–or cheat on ‘em so you at least have the security of ‘being with somebody’ while relieving the frustrations you accrue with them. Don’t want a high-stress job? Aim low and work at a Stop-N-Shop or whatever the hell is at the local mall at 32 years old. At least your goals are predictable and easily attainable there.
Or here’s an internet classic: “if you don’t like the topic then why are you even reading/watching the whole thing and taking the time to comment in the first place?” Damn straight, because commenting critically is looked down upon in our culture. People should either piss EVERYBODY off very intensely and promptly leave the conversation, or try to say something funny. Those are your only two options.
Look, bottom line for me is this: Karma’s not good enough of an excuse to let somebody get away with being a dick. Every individual should be held accountable for the things they say, whether they believe them or not, because there will most certainly come a time when they rub somebody’s sensibilities the wrong way, and when that happens, they need to stay away from that ‘running from confrontation as a first option’ bullshit, or else we’ll have a damned hard time growing out of our tired and antiquated ways of thinking.
There’s more value in your enemies than you think; why don’t you try reasoning with them before berating them. You might learn something. Don’t you want that?????