In the last few years, I have noticed a distinct degeneration in the quality of posts that people put up on the web. It hardly matters what blog or news site is involved. About 80% of the comments that people make on a given story or blog posting, are either off topic or simply toxic. It feels like there is a vast pool of people--most of them seem to be either young or astonishingly immature adults--who read damn near anything and react to it by dumping not merely critical opinions but blatantly nasty, even vicious comments.
Here's a link to a news story on this topic on CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/11/tech/web/online-comments-sxsw/index.html
When I pause to wonder why this should be the case, nothing springs immediately to mind, other than the notion that these people seem to be driven by a world-view that is so toxic that one shudders at the thought of what it must be like to see life through their 'shit-colored glasses'. Apparently, the anonymity of the web does encourage people to act-out at their lowest level. Under the cloak of remaining nameless, their worst tendencies just come roaring out. But, I get a sense that it is an obnoxious but powerful form of honesty these individuals are practicing. They aren't faking this; they really do feel this way. Ouch!
Many of them present as low-brow people who have no clue as to the corrosive nature of what they are posting, while others seem to be simply lost souls who have way too much time on their hands. Many are so limited in their use of the English language that I have to wonder if they are early-life failures in the educational system, and are feeling rejected. Of course, it's possible that their the abuse of their native language is just another way of acting out.
I just keep wondering why any person would feel so compelled to dump poisonous sentiments into a discussion? Maybe it serves as a catharsis that hopefully lowers the pressure of the inner seething that they carry through their daily lives? Is this lowering the frequency of school shootings? If so, then let 'er rip kids.
Another train of thinking leads me to ask if we're developing such a shattered sense of our society that these individuals feel cut-off, disenfranchised. Maybe they see themselves as 'outliers' and are reacting to feelings of being rejected. What is particularly troubling about this is the apparently vast number of such souls out there across the land. How do these individuals survive? Are they able to lead anything resembling a normal life, or are they just stewing in their own poison, breeding negativity on a level that renders them partially or completely incapacitated?
This coterie of people has a descriptor that is beginning to be used to identify them:. They are 'The Haters' and they don't have to look further than Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter or Glenn Beck to find role models. This term serves as an indication of how many and how noxious they are. My thoughts turn to questions such as: "What will be the impact on society at large of having an apparently significant portion of us so dysfunctional?" Or, "How will these people ever manage to have happy lives?" "Does life really suck that badly for so many people?" Am I just motoring along here with a completely false sense of what life is like for so many?
It's becoming apparent that far too many young people are marinating in a toxic stew of nastiness, viciousness, separation and hopelessness. I do not have any answers. I am not sure anybody else does either. But, if you know a young person, or several, who seems to be caught-up in this mode of being, I hope that you will feel that it's at least worth trying to reach out to them and let them know....that they're not alone.
Or can it really be that these young people are just harbingers of where our society is headed when we have so much hatefulness and disrespect being broadcast non-stop by people like Rush Limbaugh? Is this who we are becoming?
If so, I want to get on the first train out of here. Is it too late for me to sign-up to get hoovered when the Rapture comes?