I know, I could go on for hours and hours, but I’m talking about the one thing that makes being online a thoroughly unpleasant experience, day in and day out.
No, I don’t mean those busy signals when you try and dial in to AOL! ROFL!
I’m talking about hate. Ugly, blinding, fascist rage.
You know you’ve seen it. You’ve probably be on the receiving end of it. Actually, you’ve probably been on the giving end of it too. I know that I have.
Someone comes along and says something you don’t agree with and it just burns you up inside! In real life, you wouldn’t have the balls to do anything about it, but luckily, this is the internet, so all you have to do is fire off a quick, anonymous note letting this son of a bitch know what a faggot he is and how if he was here right now, you’d kick his ass!
Maybe you don’t think this is a big deal. It’s just some angry, impotent teenagers from the midwest venting some displaced hostility, what’s the real harm?
The harm is that the internet is no longer just a fringe element anymore. The harm is that this is what passes for discourse in society now.
If you don’t believe me, if you think I’m making this up or at least exaggerating the state of things, you’ve probably never looked at the comments on YouTube.
Like the ones for the video, Drunk History 3.
This is a popular web series where someone gets drunk, talks about history and then actors re-enact these moments, word for word.
It’s really funny, has become somewhat of an internet sensation and has been mostly free of criticism for its historical inaccuracies. (Like Alexander Hamilton having a cell phone.)
That is, until it was hosted by a woman.
Now I’m not here to debate sexism or the historical details of the Fugitive Slave Act.
Based on the fact that I know Jen Kirkman to be an intelligent person who has better things to do with her time than bait people on YouTube comment forums, I’m going to side with her on this one and say that she is correct and they are wrong.
That said, if you want to argue that it’s not sexism that caused these people to belittle her assertions about this contentious historical happening, you are wrong.
How do I know? Because I know the internet is a place filled with angry, hateful people. People who don’t want a woman holding revered historical figures accountable for their less-than-savory actions, apparently.
And there’s nothing that people filled with hate love more than putting uppity women in their place.
Yes, most of the comments are positive, but that doesn’t lessen the effects of the ones that aren’t. I’m not going to repost them here, if you’re that curious, go look for yourself. Or don’t. You’ve seen them all before. There’s nothing new in the way of condescension here.
You have to ask yourself, what kind of people would react this way? If you don’t like a video, why not just stop watching, go watch something else?
In general, why is the onus on you to inform people that they are wrong or that they are fat and ugly or that their video/singing/acting/stand-up comedy sucks? Who does this?
If I am the worst singer in the world and I put up a video of me singing, why does it enrage you so much that I would dare to do that? It’s not punishment enough that I think I’m good but I’m actually horrible? Do you think that I need to be stopped before life’s rich, bountiful harvest is bestowed up on me? You have to make sure I’m aware of it too? For what reason? So that I don’t steal your share of these blessings?
You know, the ones reserved for people with no talent?
Getting back to the topic, this is a comedy video. A very funny one, but still, a comedy video based on the recollections of someone who is intoxicated. This is not shown in schools to children. Yet, some people watched it and something in it made them so angry, they took the time to make personal attacks on the people in it.
I know this is asking a lot, but be honest here: why did you watch this video and feel the need to point out to the world that you think some of the things in it weren’t right?
People don’t get angry about historical inaccuracies, they just don’t. I don’t buy it. There’s something else going on here. Something uglier.
Now, that’s fine, call me a little whiny bitch who can’t take criticism and starts crying about it when people pick on me or my friends, but know you’re missing the point.
There’s always been anger. There’s always been angry people. But now there’s this magical device which connects all of them and removes the consequences of sharing their anger with others.
You’ve been raised your whole life to think that you’re special. That you’re smarter than everyone else. But life hasn’t really lived up to that, has it? You do a job that anybody could do, you aren’t particularly popular with women. You’re not rich. People you consider morons have much more money and success than you.
So you start looking for answers. And like your predecessors throughout history, you’ve chosen not to look in the place you should, you look elsewhere, outside yourself.
You blame the Democrats. Or the Republicans. Or women. Or blacks. Or gays. Or whatever. You’re probably blaming me right now for not including “men” or “whites” on that list.
But the truth is, it’s you. You’re not that smart. You’re not an exceptional person. There’s probably not anything you do that much better than anyone else in the world and if there is, it’s not a big deal anyway and doesn’t contribute anything.
And now I’m doing it too. Because the real danger of unbridled, anonymous hatred is that it’s contagious. It’s a quick fix for people to feel better about themselves.
So I’m sorry I said that about you. I didn’t mean it.
I’m sure there are people out there who think you are special. Who love you. Focus on them. Let that be enough. Let their opinions be the ones you care about. Not some strangers who just wanted to make a funny video.