2008
02.05

I know that there are times when I can be a complete and total bitch. More often than not, situations such as these lead me to saying things that, at the time, I know I will regret later; and I do regret them. But when thinking about the things that I say and the reasons why I regret them, I know that on a daily basis I can find much worse out there on the Internet.

My biggest vice is bringing up past events in an attempt to use them as leverage for whatever my current argument may be. Even then, sometimes the things I say are pretty tame compared to the things I’ve seen.

I’ve had enough classes which deal with personal identity on the Internet to be fairly comfortable saying that most (if not all) people are much more confident and assertive when they’re sitting behind a computer screen and not talking to people face-to-face; especially when in an argument. But even if this is the case, does it really give us the right to use hate as a weapon just because we’re in Cyberspace?

I browse the Internet on a daily basis, and everywhere I go I see hate splattered like an ugly red blotch across Web pages. I see people saying that African Americans should be slaves again; calling them names that I wouldn’t even dream of repeating. I see people levying accusations against each other that neither parties intend to (or can) prove. I see a news article about the Westborough Baptist Church members putting up a new “God Hates” site. I find the page of a girl who has thrown up an image of the planes crashing on 9/11 and states that America deserved what they got; that all Americans should die like that.

Would these people say the same things if it were a real world situation? Would that girl hold a sign saying that on a street corner in New York City (hell, any city in the US). Maybe, maybe not (in the case of the Westborough Baptist Church, it would have to be a yes because they do believe everything the spew). But what right do any of us have to judge someone else based on anything put their own actions? I can’t choose the country I was born in any more than someone can choose the color of their skin. I happen to have a strong connection to the country this place, and whether or not we’re the greatest or worst country on Earth, I’m still going to be proud of my home.

I guess I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why people, who might be amazing human beings in real life, would stoop to this level of hate just to fuel the fire of an argument over the Internet. Maybe someday someone can explain it to me, but until then I guess it’s just my duty to sit back and keep my mouth shut; watching slowly as something I’ve come to cherish so much turns more and more into a breeding ground for something that pains my heart so.

  1. Hear hear!
    Really though if they could say stuff like that in any medium and mean it they’re most likely not amazing human beings in real life. If they mean it here it’s still a part of them, whether they’d say it out from behind their computers or not… and if they could mean all Americans deserve to die like that or African Americans need to be slaves again… just no. Those aren’t even okay for jokes.

  2. I seriously doubt that half the things people say on their websites or forums are things they would say in their “real world” scenarios. The idea of having commentary protected by free speech gives them a feeling of comfort to say whatever they want on the Internet, but the social negativities of being labeled a racist that come with calling someone a racial slur makes them say little, if anything, at all.

    I met someone from online who was one of the more outspoken people I knew. But when we met up, this person was completely meek and feeble. It was a definite shock, and it made me start seeing a lot of my online friends in a different light.

  3. I’m definitely more outspoken on the net. In reality, I’m actually a bit scared of talking to people. I’m a bit more conscious about the way I sound and how I say things, and I’m always worried about how people will react. Like if I cant think of a word or say something stupid. But on the net I can always edit what I say before anyone ever reads it.

    Like when I did Radio X last week, I actually put off testing my skype account til the last minute because I was afraid of sounding like a complete moron.

  4. I think it pretty much all owes to the since so-called “Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory”:
    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

    The fact of the matter is that even though people could conceivably be traced to their commentary via IP addresses, whois reports, and so on, no one is going to go to all the trouble. Therefore, being removed from their commentary makes it all the more “reasonable” for them to do it. Furthermore, there’s (with few exceptions) no requirements for publishing on the internet. Any tool with two brain cells and a working knowledge of how to use a mouse could get a LiveJournal, or 4chan account, or whatever you choose, and use it to say and do, with near impunity, just about anything they want for the whole world to read if they come across it.

    Don’t think, just in case I’m coming off wrong, that I’m attempting to rationalize these people. I’m not — it’s totally ludicrous. There’s the flip side of this coin that the fact that you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should. It makes me wonder at times what happened to human decency.

  5. [quote comment=”20477″]It makes me wonder at times what happened to human decency.[/quote]

    It died long ago, sadly.
    I’m still in mourning.

  6. Word up! I agree, I don’t know why people do and say those things. It’s confusing too being that I feel how you do taking pride in my country.