Doesn’t it seem like every one is just really, really, really pissed off these days?
As a voracious reader of articles on a variety of subjects from all manner of sources, I’m struck by how much vitriol can erupt from even the most innocuous of topics. There’s the political anger that turns any story even tangentially related to Obama, Congress or existence into a firestorm of Right vs. Left insults and talking points. Then there are the sports commentators who write off an entire fan base as despicable human beings because of their state of residence. And damn if the internet can’t make the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman seem like someone was erecting a statue to honor Hitler.
Our collective cholesterol must be through the roof.
The strangest thing about all this anger is that by almost all measurable metrics, we live in a safer, healthier and less violent world than any time in human history. This isn’t utopia, not by any means, but we’ve got a pretty good thing going on here. So, why so angry?
As a political junkie whose an obsessive KU basketball fan and a movie junkie, I get it. My blood boils all the time, and sometimes I let it out on some commentator. I’m not proud of it. And I’m working on being better about it.
There is, after all, no good reason on earth for getting pissed off at a total stranger on the internet. Countless causes and problems in this world warrant righteous anger (though we won’t all agree on what those are), but no matter what the subject, when discussing it with an anonymous person across a sea of wires, our anger is nothing more than the petulant tossing of rocks into a boundless ocean.
And, again, I’m as guilty of it as anyone. And, again, I’m trying to be better.
I can be better. We can all be better. There will always be Trolls, there will always be bitter, miserable people who feed off of making other people feel bad. And the internet is their greatest forum. But I’ve lived all over this country and met all manner of people, and I know that when we’re face-to-face, meeting in person, we are rarely if ever as nasty and brutish as we are online.
Nothing’s going to change that, though. The internet is a Pandora’s Box of anger and there’s no fixing that. Right?
Well, maybe… but maybe not.
Tomorrow, I will launch an idea that I hope can catch on, maybe only a small step in the grand scheme of things, but something that might be infectious if given the opportunity to spread.
I hope you’ll check back here on Wednesday and if you like my proposal, join in and share it with friends, family and online strangers.