I read a lot of news blogs/sites. Naturally, the main ones I focus on are gay oriented because I can’t really count on mainstream media to bother with things that impact or matter to me. So, I go where I can find the information I care about. It’s just the way it works out.
You’d think I would have learned by now NOT to read comments on ANY news site/blog. I wish I were able to say that I read the article and leave. I would probably be a happier person more often if I did follow that simple rule. I know my blood pressure wouldn’t spike so much or so often if I did. I find that mainstream media has some very horrific comments that chill the blood, especially when it is comment after comment after comment. What stresses me more is finding that same trend on my gay sites.
The internet should be at least neutral or perhaps help showcase the best in humanity and compassion. That potential is there. It never seems to work out that way though. Rather the opposite. People seem to feel that the object is to be right at all costs and anyone not for you entirely, from their first breath to their last is completely against you. If this is the case, you must drag them down and cast them as the worst possible scenario. Then, for good measure, you denigrate with a broad brush and make sure to include anyone even remotely like them or that might sound like them. The conservative religious do it, the atheist far left do it and it is a horrible double standard.
Each uses identical tactics and almost word for word verbage in their attacks on their political opposites. I have witnessed and been on the receiving end of some pretty vicious verbal assaults by atheists, using identical tactics, word usage and venom as I would expect from a fundamentalist religious person. I have watched and read Republicans denigrate their political opponents and then Democrats return fire making identical claims. If someone stands up for themselves, they are recast as evil, insidious corrupters of innocence.
One of the worst tactics is where someone’s past is trotted out and gummed to death even though they may have actually changed their position on a given subject. Apparently no one in the world is genuinely capable of changing their minds on a topic and working from that new position. From that first position you take on a topic, you apparently can never change and never move onward, ever.
It seems that the standards of conduct always apply to your opponents and never to the self. The harsh light of truth is your weapon of choice until it is shown on your own shadows and then you are allowed to cry foul. Not only do you get to say it is unfair/not true/false/propaganda, but you get the added bonus of self-righteous indignation. You can beat your chest and claim the high ground to stomp out your hissy fit on and make sure you lower that ground to the very level you are condemning. Neat trick, that.
Not all of my positions have remained the same over the years. Some have evolved, others devolved, and some have stayed static. I can admit, not always easily but can, that some of those opinions were just plain stupid. Others lacked full information to be based on. Still others were extensions of my bias. According to the internet and it seems, the real world of interactions, I cannot change my mind. No one is allowed to change their minds and remain believable.
I have never understood the need to utterly vilify with a broad brush. An individual and that individual’s actions, sure. That individual’s family, co-workers, political party, entire religion, absolutely every connection possible to that individual? I don’t understand it. There are incredibly few absolutes in the world, yet every effort is made to take discourse into the land of absolutes and to hell with the fact that absolutes are as rare as a taxless society.
This need to denigrate stains us. If someone you hate does something that is undeniably good/positive/merit worthy, we simply cannot accept it solely because of everything else about them. Why? I admit it is not easy and obviously can only be done with grudging apathy. It can be done though. We just don’t choose to allow them the ability to do that thing. It must be a mistake, not intended, an accident or some other convenient misnomer that it happened under. No, no, no, we cannot accept something good from that which we despise. Existence would simply cease to be in that second of acknowledgement.
I think I need to follow that rule and not read comments on news sites any more. It doesn’t contribute anything positive to my understanding of any given article nor does it inspire me to positive efforts in any part of my life. Maybe instead of looking outward at the double standard shuffle and dance, I need to really make sure I don’t participate in the very thing I am objecting to in others. I have a real feeling that will be time well spent and I won’t regret the time as a loss. Not like the many, many minutes I can never get back reading hate filled comments on any news site. Yes, my navel beckons.