28 January 2009

Anonymous Doesn't Like Me!

I had a recent post about distractions in movie theaters linked on IMDb's Hit List. As always when I have a post linked there a lot of comments were left. In this case many of the comments were in disagreement with me. That's fine, of course.

However I continue to be surprised and disappointed by how vitriolic some people are. They can't read something they disagree with and move on or just leave their contrary opinion. They get nasty. I was called an "elitist" and told to "get off" my "high horse" and accused of having the "attention span of a four-year-old."

Of course 99% of the time such comments are left by cowards who hide behind the cloak of anonymity. I suppose if a person is small enough to resort to name calling you've got to expect that they're too small to stand behind their words.

The Internet is positively teeming with blogs and message boards where people talk tough from their computers. I'd venture that a lot of them are quite nice when met in person. But when its just them and the keyboard and cyberspace they feel free to let the venom flow. It's too easy to resist, I suppose. For all a person knows the barbs directed their way could come from a 17 year old in Davenport, Iowa, or a 38 year old professor of literature in London or a 52 year old sex offender in your very own neighborhood. Your just who you say you are and if you don't say then you're anyone from anywhere. Let it fly!

I've also noticed a general increase in the nastiness of public dialogue. I used to disagree but respect the voices on the political right. Then along came the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter who make attacks personal. This was brought to the Oval office with the ascension of Karl Rove and the politics of division. Suddenly people who disagreed with the government's actions were accused of being anti-American. I hope that as the Republicans re-tool themselves in the wake of the ass kicking they took last November they decide to drop their more bellicose elements. Hopefully the Limbaughs can become as marginalized as hate groups have been and we can have civil dialogue based on the issues. I though John McCain took a step in that direction with his concession speech.

Meanwhile maybe we can have more civil dialogue on the Internet too, though in this case I know now I'm guilty of wishful thinking.

I welcome anyone to leave dissenting opinions from those expressed on this blog. But if you're going to blast away, be proud and do it from behind your name. And save the name calling for the playground.


R. D. Finch said...

As someone who has also appeared on IMDb's "hit list," I understand exactly what you're talking about and fully agree! The folks at IMDb seem to like posts with lists, and most people who leave comments complain about pets that weren't included or inclusions they feel were unjustified. That's okay with me, but why can't they be civil about it? All I can infer is that a lot of highly opinionated people must be having a bad day and hiding behind the shield of anonymity to lash out.

I'm also amazed at how obvious is it that so many of the commenters haven't even read the post carefully. They seem to miss the criteria laid out at the beginning and skip directly from the title to the list at the end.

Finally, there's the fact--which you've written about--that so many people consider a difference of opinion equivalent to a declaration of war. How can anybody, even a real movie-lover, get so exercised about a difference of opinion in such a subjective area? Nobody's going to agree all the time with anyone else about movies (or any work of art or entertainment, for that matter), so I say lighten up, and if you have something to say, be reasonable about it. There's a clear difference between discourse and vitriol.

Anonymous said...

It seems to stem from the facelessness of the internet, I suppose. So easy to hate (instantly) those we do not know!
I had a recent reminder in real life. I was deeply upset by the passage of Prop 8 in California, and, speaking with two co-workers, I said, "I think I'm just going to stop talking to anyone who voted yes on 8."
One of the women--one whom I like very much--got a very guilty look on her face and said, "Well, then, I guess you'll have to stop talking to me."
I was shocked and disappointed at her decision, and I still feel it was wrong, but knowing her as I do, it was harder to muster up the vitriol I'd reserved for those anonymous voters. Now those other idiots, the ones I haven't met; I still hate them. Ha ha!
As ever, enjoying the blog, sir.

Byron the afro-filmviewer said...

great post. well said.