The Mind of Bluesleepy

Culture of cruelty 4 June 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bluesleepy @ 10:26 pm

There’s been something that’s been going on lately that I’ve been noticing.  And let me tell you, I don’t like it.  At all.

Remember when you were a kid, and your mother always admonished you, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”?  It seems that America really ought to have these words emblazoned across every possible surface.

It used to be that two people who had dissenting views might get a bit hot under the collar while discussing those views, and maybe a little shouting would occur.  Both parties would holler themselves hoarse, then retire to their respective corners, grumping and griping that the other person could hold such asinine views.

But when did we spiral down into personal attacks every time we disagree with someone?

I was reading an op-ed over at MSNBC.com about how the new commercials for Cheetos are mean-spirited.  Apparently they encourage people to practice random acts of meanness on their fellow man.  I haven’t actually seen one of these commercials; almost everything we watched is taped to the DVR to allow us to fast-forward through the commercials.

Obviously this is an opinion article.  Nowhere is it presented as factual news.  And it’s just one woman’s opinion that these commercials are mean-spirited.

I expected the discourse that followed to be along the lines of, “I can see where you think it’s mean-spirited.  However, I find them amusing and laugh each time I see one.”  That seems like a Very Reasonable response, doesn’t it?

That’s not at all what I saw on this article.  There were so many people who began to attack personally the woman who wrote the article.  She was accused of being “old” and “out-of-touch” with today’s youth.  One commenter wrote that if she doesn’t like the commercials, she should throw out the tv and stick to staring at the walls.  Another wrote “GET A LIFE.”  Yet another called her a “moron” for not understanding the so-called humor because she was obviously “not part of the target audience.”

And if that weren’t bad enough, the commenters turned on each other.  One woman posted that she felt “the end times are near” because of the meanness of our society nowadays, and how that passes for humor.  Another person turned on her and wrote, “what does that have to do with stupid Cheetos commercials?  The ‘END TIMES’ have been near for loonies like you for about 2000 years… I don’t think some dumba$$ ads for junk food is signalling that we’re any closer to your apocolyptic predictions coming to fruition.”  (I left the misspellings intact.)

When did we decide that the proper means of discourse was through personal attacks?  Have we sunk that far into self-absorption that we don’t care how badly we make others feel with our words?

This sort of thing is everywhere.  Go to YouTube and find the video to your favorite song.  Chances are the comments will include someone saying what an awesome song/video it is, and another writing how it’s so stupid and “gay” and whoever likes this song is equally stupid and “gay.”

Go to Woot.com and read the forum for the day’s item.  It’s full of people complaining what a horrible, awful item that is, and anyone who could possibly want that item has to be mentally retarded.  It’s like the forum posters believe they are somehow “cooler” than everyone else because they post the nastiest and meanest comments.

And I’m sure there are those of you who watch real tv who can come up with examples of meanness in today’s tv shows, how cruelty to others seems to reign supreme.  Now what’s funny is a kid skateboarding down a railing, slipping off his board, and nailing himself in the crotch.  Seeing people getting hurt is funny stuff.  It’s not just physical pain, it’s also emotional pain.  How much damage can we do to someone?  Let’s laugh uproariously at that!

Am I the only one who thinks all of this is rather disgusting?  That by putting oneself so thoroughly above everyone else, by cutting others down to elevate oneself, it degrades the society?  I’ve been an optimist throughout most of my life, believing that in the end, Man is basically good, that given the chance, we will do the right thing by our fellow man.

I’m starting to question that.

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13 Responses to “Culture of cruelty”

  1. boXx Says:

    I definitely agree that there is far too much HATE in this world and not enough LOVE.

  2. sleepyjane Says:

    I agree Blue – I’ve seen the comments on all the youtube videos I watch and there’s ALWAYS nasty ones towards the video or commentors. It disgusts me. Everyone has their own opinion and when someone is mean towards a particular person it basically says that their opinion doesn’t matter and they don’t matter and I hate that. This is one big circle – then comes self doubt and self hatred because if someone tells you you’re ugly and stupid long enough you start to believe it. ANd I’m not just talking about YouTube comments – it’s everywhere.

    A little kindness goes a long way as they say.

  3. politicsreligion Says:

    I love what you wrote, and I have never even experienced the forums or things that you mention. But I see it in other places, and I particularly see it in children. I subbed in a 6th grade last year that had the meanest (to each other) kids that I had ever seen. And the meanest (and coolest kids) got the biggest laughs from the other when picking on the the wimpiest and smallest. I have become a nazi about making sure my students treat each other with love and respect at ALL times. Of course it helps that, not being in a public school, it is actually part of our curriculum.
    I think it has to start with the kids and be a part of who we are as we are raised.
    Secondarily, we need to stress NETIQUETTE – having good manners on the internet and in email. Good manners in real life might be a good thing to revisit as well…

  4. politicsreligion Says:

    Oops, sorry, it’s me, summerfever. I commented while logged in at the group site 🙂

    I am glad you are visiting us over there, by the way, and I love your participation. Thanks!

  5. michele Says:

    You are so right about this! One of my own YouTube videos got some very nasty comments (I deleted them) calling me an idiot because I didn’t know how to use my KitchenAid mixer as well as telling me I should never have bought that piece of “junk” in the first place. One guy went on and on (an entire paragraph’s worth) to insult and degrade me.

    So, I feel ya, Sista!!

  6. Elle Says:

    Truly a shame that we as a society are stooping to these lows. There absolutely must be more niceness in the world. Spread the niceness!

  7. art Says:

    its really not society as a whole thats like this, its the youth thats like this, they have no morals, no disipline, and really dont care!! this is a great read here today!!

  8. chaosdaily Says:

    That’s why we all need to be as nice and courteous to each other as we can… to try to counteract the hate and teach people how nice it can be to be polite and sweet. Imagine all the people, living life in peace….

  9. Herstory07 Says:

    Cheetos are a sign of the end times?? OH MY GAWD, no way! heheh!

  10. shipjumper Says:

    I agree and it’s really frustrating. It’s like the old saying I heard so often in my holy roller christian days…..”People burn out anothers candle in hopes of making theirs burn a little brighter.” It’s so true and apparent nowadays, but so twisted. If I make you feel like crap I’ll feel better about myself….bwhahaha! Wake up people, it doesn’t work that way. Saddly, you see it more and more every day.

  11. Aimee Says:

    And seriously, who has the energy to be arguing and attacking like that? I see a comment I disagree with I might post a blog about it, from my perspective but I will not feel so passionate that I need to spread hate.
    FYI: I think a lot of those people have nothing important to add to the discussion even though they disagree and so without good verbal or communication skills all they can do is write, “gay.” Perhaps a sign of lack of education or lack of willingness to learn???? Def proof lacking in the commenter.

  12. Dana Says:

    I see this all the time with my students. I’m always admonishing them to “play nice”. Truly the things that they say to each other breaks my heart. Who thought that being mean would be a badge of honor? Of course, once they cross the line with me they always say…”but I was just joking…” I look them squarely in the eye and say, “No you weren’t because jokes are funny…not mean.”

    *GRRR*

  13. whatdayisit Says:

    You are so right. I have noticed it also. At first, I thought it was because it is so much easier to snark at someone via the Internet or blogs or even texting on the cell phone. The person can throw out their jabs and just wait to see what happens. But in many personal-in-your-face conflicts, I see this nastiness too. So many people run around demanding respect when they haven’t earned it. It is a sad world we have come to. I guess some of us just need to continue to act as we believe we should and teach our children to do the same…maybe there will still be a small minority of us trying to be nice to each other.

    And….once again I was so overwhelmed with the food blog you posted that I commented on that blog site today also.


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