Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Flaming Away

Sometimes I find myself looking at the comments columns on various websites and blogs with a kind of fascinated horror at just how extraordinarily rude/unpleasant/nasty/gratuitously obtuse people can be - especially clever people. Youtube provides numerous striking examples. Ever since I discovered just how easy it is to access material by musicians I admire, I also discovered what astonishing drivel gets posted under the clips. The other day I was luxuriating in the sounds of the masterful Bill Frisell, but also enduring the sometimes pointlessly random clueless criticism that somehow accompanies the wonderful material that the fans post.

Today I sort of trapped myself in viewing an extraordinarily bitter set of exchanges within some of the blog pages managed by folk who see themselves as part of the skeptic/atheist community. (Before, gentle reader, you assume that as a theist I'm just having a go here, let me say that I'm certain I could unearth the same sort of stuff within various 'theist communities' if I looked hard enough. This kind of stupidity is hard-wired into our species at every level.) It was like witnessing a pile-up on the highway - horrible, but fascinatingly horrible. I admit, by the way, that it doesn't say much for my character that I stuck around to read the stuff.

And so much of it! I'm talking about single blog entries followed by 300+ comments. That's almost the full extent of this Far Place for a year. Whilst it's true there are sane, conciliatory voices in there, they just get overwhelmed by the mounds of vituperation. (Awful mixed metaphor there, but it sort of conveys my distress, so I'll let it stand.)

And the nastiest ones often seem to think they are so much in the right that the vituperation is not merely justified but somehow represents a positive and necessary moral good. (A bit like signs of The Elect.) I really don't want to have too much to do with a world in which straightforward decency, kindness, politeness, tolerance, compassion have become moral failings.

Maybe I'm just unenlightened. Thankfully.


Trebuchet said...

A lot of people do that for fun. Several ethnographers have managed to describe these people in amusing ways. One such can be found here and there are many more! :)

Brian Connor said...

Thanks for the link. Cheering stuff!