The age of the internet is indeed a depressing and confusing one. Recently, during my bi-annual marathon crawl out from under my rock, I’ve been hearing a lot about this whole phenomenon of internet bullying. Internet bullying has always confused me, because it’s so impersonal. Surely the reason you engage in the bully/victim relationship is to educate your peers on the cruel nature of life and the meanness of the human spirit as you dump mud in his hair. Doing it on the internet removes that personal, if not disturbing, aspect of the whole thing and doesn’t that just make it pointless busy work? If I don’t get to see the tears streaming down the face of the person whose life I just ruined, then I don’t even wanna know about it. Wallace Nutting was right, anything that’s new is bad! The other fear I have is that if people engage in internet bullying, the internet will do the same thing it always does. Quality will always go out the window once this amount of quantity is involved. The lowering of standards is something to be feared, because I don’t want to turn into every generation before mine, which always states that things were so much better when they were children (two miles, up-hill both ways, chased by a pack of hungry wolves in waist deep snow and that was the way we liked it, etc. etc.) Allow me to demonstrate with an experience of mine.
A few years ago I was going on a walk. The moon was out, and there wasn’t a single cloud to mar the experience. The cool breeze gently brushed over me, but it was quite warm all the same. As I walked along, a car zoomed past me, going around 50 in a 25 and some young pup yelled something at me as he went past. It was really too nice a night for me to get worked up about, so I just brushed it off. I only started to take note when it happened again. This experience repeated itself three more times, and it was really a shame. Apparently nobody had explained to these fine late night revelers that due to the Doppler Effect everything they say passing me by at that speed becomes completely unintelligible. He could have been yelling out the zinger of the century or asking me where the nearest gas station was at fifty miles an hour, I will never know. I found out in another walk that I was not singled out in their merry making, as they yelled at every other person they passed. God help us if they try and hit on women, because even the most romantic line ever uttered would sound like creepy gibberish if you yelled it out of a truck going fifty miles an hour past a solitary woman walking alone at night. This is how the truck driver from Duel harasses ladies.
Really, the worst part of internet bullying is the fire and forget aspect of it. That is, unless you keep coming back to the same forums and comments sections for more because you’re a hopeless masochist and you just can’t get enough vitriol into your verbal diet. I can’t count how many times I have immediately scrolled down to the comments section, cackling with glee, finding one of those conversations trees that has become so stereotypical I have literally seen an entire conversation made up of what stereotypical responses would come next. Naturally, that one almost ended in the internet equivalent of a street fight with knives. Sometimes, the same person just goes through the entire comments section and bullies literally every single person that comments in any fashion. It’s like internet bullying carpet bombing, it just goes on and on. I suppose I should be counting the small blessings, because anybody who bothers commenting on a news report these days is taking their lives into their own hands, so maybe I should stop worrying and let the grownups do whatever they want to do. After all, if they weren’t making nasty comments on Yahoo news articles than they might be burning people’s houses down or giving out Glasgow smiles on street corners, just because.
This is why the entire human population needs to be banned from the internet like right now. When the inevitable rise of the machines comes, before the inevitable boredom of the machines follows, the biggest reason why they’re going to try and wipe us out is the internet. Can you imagine getting hit with all the data from internet trolls, porn, political commentaries and more porn all at once? The internet would be like the digital equivalent of Lovecraftian horror. Incidentally, there’s a site out there that offers full on furniture porn for the curious and perverted of you out there. No, I am not joking and yes you should check it out. My personal favorite was the gay teen lawn chairs outdoors doing it lounging style. And now the hate comments may commence, since a post on internet bullying wouldn’t be complete unless there was a comments section. If I ever take one comments section down, it will totally be this one.
I kid when I say that bullying someone face to face is better than internet bullying, neither are the right thing to do and neither are acceptable in the least. Personal connections are something I have always had some amount of difficulty with, and I have met so many people through the interwebs that I can hardly call foul on the internet for that either. The internet is a tool, and just as with all tools you can use it to do very good things and very bad things, usually mixed in with a lot of boring things. And also, if Avenue Q is to be believed, porn. You know what? Why would anyone want to take credit for the internet? Hey, Al Gore! Stop taking credit for the largest producer of pornography content the world has ever seen! This is no longer a point in your favor! Unless that was your intention in the first place, the uh…free sharing of information and ideas? Nevermind. Consider my objection cheerfully withdrawn. Uh. Not that I would know anything about that.