Every time I need to choose between hitting my head with a hammer or reading online message boards about various political and social issues, I usually pick the latter. Then, it’s with great annoyance that I realize I made the wrong decision.
I only allow myself an hour to read online “news,” but I can’t avoid clicking on the “Comments” section after I read a provocative item. That’s where I’m thrown into the sordid realm of anonymous people who communicate like deranged savages: Every capitalized sentence is just one more slobbering grunt, and every additional exclamation point becomes a series of belches and farts from their overloaded, underdeveloped brains.
I’m amazed at the horrible and nasty phrases that humans actually write to complete strangers. And they prove their enormous inadequacy by hitting “Send” so the entire world can know that their only contribution to society is to help with the deterioration of the culture. Here are a few examples, followed by my more refined commentary:
“SHUT UP UR DANMMD TRAP!!!!!!!”
We’ve got some anger management issues here. Why would someone be so mad at someone they will never know? And, it’s about an issue over which they will never have any control. We won’t discuss spelling because no one cares about that.
“YOUR A FU**N IDIOT!!!!!!!”
Again, we must marvel that someone this illiterate has the capacity to turn on a computer and actually find the Internet. He doesn’t understand the different between “your” and “you’re,” and it’s probably not a good idea to inform him that the abbreviation is wrong. Five syllable words would be beyond his comprehension.
“EAT SHT N DIE!!!!!!!”
This comment came after another anonymous poster defended a high-ranking politician. In my humble opinion, the task doesn’t make sense. But, perhaps logic isn’t the issue. Also, I’m guessing that this person doesn’t write thank you notes.
Most of the sites do have restrictions stating that inappropriate comments will be removed for violating the rules. That makes me wonder just how bad the culpable comments had to be. We’re witnessing an entire sub-culture of professional posters, people who earn badges for their popular online comments. To prove that civilization is, indeed, teetering on extinction, unnamed but prolific people who regularly post comments on HuffPost can achieve various levels of popularity and obtain separate Facebook pages to expand their fan base of other unidentified "writers." I imagine lonely, dark rooms full of hunchbacked gargoyles pecking away on grease-stained keyboards, chuckling insanely at their own wicked messages.
Yes, I know that I can avoid all this mental anguish by refusing to read the message boards on various sites. Or, maybe I could initiate another option for those who wish to communicate through a more sophisticated, genteel, and enlightened debate that could salvage what’s left of civil discourse. But, just as NASCAR isn’t any fun without wrecks, and fans scream for the defensive line to take down and hurt the quarterback, sometimes we enjoy our roles as spectators in life’s dark satire. Can the gladiators be next?