I’m as in favor of full First Amendment freedom of speech as the next two-bit journalist, but I have swallowed my limit of ugly, hatefulness on the part of the weberati who take advantage of the Internet to publish a steady stream of vile messages to anyone who happens to set them off.
Most recent case in point: When the Eagles’ founder Glenn Frey died recently, one critic said some nice things about Frey, but went on to assert that the Eagles were one of the worst music groups ever. You might wish the critic hadn’t decided to kick the Eagles when their leader was down, but taste is taste. I’m not particularly upset with the critic, I’m troubled by the reaction to the critic. Some Eagles fans, or maybe just Internet trolls, responded by wishing the critic every possible misfortune, including death. This, my friends, over a music critic’s assessment of a band’s music.
Reading that some poor miserable misanthrope took the time to wish a music critic dead because he offended their musical taste pushed me over the edge of tolerance. I can’t take any more of this ugliness. You hear the same message, the same depraved disregard for other human beings, over and over and over again in all sorts of settings: artistic, political, whatever. How did we get here? I have long suspected that electronic media, beginning with television (and now all the other things we can indulge in by ourselves in the privacy of our own abode), have been driving a wedge between us (collectively speaking) that shrinks our sense of connectedness and makes it possible for us to decide that someone we don’t know from a hole in the wall has no right to live their life and hold whatever attitudes they choose to hold. We’ve created a dark, catacomb full of twisted, black-hearted, spiritually degenerate organisms (formerly human beings) who lurch through our society, knuckles dragging on the ground, tongues sharpened to skewer anyone and everyone at the slightest, imagined provocation.
Enough, already. I’m not asking everyone to morph into Pollyanna…just give the hate a rest for a while. Whew!