Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cat Pictures and Vitriol


So it's been quite a while. I feel as though I say that a lot and, well, it's probably true. However, as I've said many times in the past, I don't post anything here unless it's actually worth posting and, today, I think I have something. Let's begin.

The Internet. It is a wondrous invention that brings joy to many people in the form of lolcats, videos, and other assorted silliness. It's also a perfect place to spread hatred, intolerance, and overall malaise. Sometimes, when perusing Facebook, I get the same feeling that I used to get when trick-or-treating as a kid (or last week)--I would hold out my bag and, if I was lucky, I'd get something really awesome. If I was unlucky, I'd get peanut butter taffy. Seriously. PEANUT BUTTER TAFFY! Ew.

That feeling comes around when I see certain things, mainly on Facebook. I am not referring to well-written posts about someone's views with which I happen to disagree. We can't all agree on everything but that does not make us enemies. It makes us different. And variety is the spice of life, no? Some say it's cumin but I don't see it.

So, yeah, I really enjoy seeing thought-provoking, opposing viewpoints and pondering them. Sometimes I engage in a brief debate about them, but avenues such as Facebook are terrible media for any kind of cogent debate. I always look forward to learning and, yes, my opinion can be swayed.

This is all great stuff...until it isn't. The peanut butter kiss in the candy bag comes along in the form of snarky, shallow, one-sided posts. They are never actually written by the person posting them and they are almost always in the form of a captioned picture that the poster found somewhere. They don't open up a dialogue, they don't cause anyone to think, and they don't offer up anything useful. They only serve to point fingers, assign blame, or irritate people.

And, it being the Internet, everyone be damned! It's the Internet and we can say what we want, right? We're very courageous when sitting behind our keyboards and it's so very easy to simply share something we've found without any context or independent thought of our own! Why think for ourselves when someone else has done it for us?

I sort of called someone out on this today. I may have been a little harsh. I will note, however, that it was face to face, in person. This is how I am. If you ask me a question, you will get a 100% honest answer--sometimes brutally honest. And, when I've a bone to pick, it happens. I decided that expressing my opinion in the same vein was appropriate and, hopefully, it got the point across.

I have become friends with some fabulously wonderful people via the Internet. I never would've encountered these fantastic individuals without it. Some of them I have had the pleasure of meeting in person while, others, I still desire to meet. I've been exposed to great things and have sometimes had my views changed for what I consider the better. I'm still a major work in progress but I am confident that I am on the right track.

I've no room in my life for negativity. The irony, here, is that I used to be something akin to the king of negativity. Nothing was going to turn out right, people were all jerks, and everything was doom and gloom. What turned me around? I really disliked myself. I wouldn't have wanted to hang around me. I was basically the person who would've posted the snarky, pre-fab quotes and pictures. I'm not really sure why I didn't so I'll just chalk it up to laziness.

Are you a conservative? A liberal? Gay? Straight? Do you use an iPhone? Android? Play PS4? Xbox? Excellent. Good for you! Do you want to tell me "Xbox sux!" or "PS4 sux!"? Can you put down the typos and have a decent discussion as to why you think so? No? Alright, then, bye.

The problem is not Republicans or Democrats. It's not conservatives, liberals, Christians, atheists or whatever. The problem is poverty, violence, bigotry, abuse, intolerance, economics, and possibly the fact that I still cannot find Waldo.

But, most of all, stop trying to tell everyone how to live their lives simply because you disapprove or because you're offended. Most people have a massively difficult time living their own lives without poking their noses into everyone else's business. Stop shaming people simply for being people who are not you.

I once had someone on Facebook point a finger and say that a particular large group of people was the cause of all of the problems we have today. How does that make anything better? Finger-pointing and accusations? No thank you. We live on the same rock. You can't possibly convince me that your farts smell like roses but that this group over here is the cause of all of planet Earth's woes.

Let's make things better, people.

I hope to contribute more activity here in the near future (if I can muster the creative juices) and, hopefully, my posts will be more lighthearted and along the lines of "Pool of Radiance II is possibly the worst game I've ever played".