Wednesday, 5 December 2012

tl;dr or loving spoonful

I have seen quite a lot of weird and wonderful through-the-looking-glass homages of art imitating digital life, but something about the tribal makeup of this woman, inspired to pose as Grumpy Internet Meme Cat really just struck me as the be-all, end-all, sort of like a Faberge Egg, Busby Berkley choreography, or some amazingly executed Rube Goldberg bucket-brigade of customer service teamwork to make a wish come true. Now with that spoonful of sugar, there is, however, much too much cowardly incivility and trolling, bullying on the internet.

There have been far worse tragedies that ended with consequences more dire and as undoable as the meanness and careless comments and mobbing that have been indelibly commented to the narrative, but one recent and unrelenting attack on a German politician who entered regional service with a seat on the Pirate Party for merely speaking really is a disheartening reminder of how cruel and childish and uncensored people can be. It was not the content of her words but tenor of her speech, as someone who is hearing-impaired, that brought on a barrage of cold and ugly commentary, channeled through one social networking forum, that stirred feelings of self-consciousness and insecurity about how she talked that maybe she had long ago over come or did not know to be anything other than confident about before. This woman was propelled to celebrity and politics for her ability to read lips and shared the unheard conversations between coaches and players and provided some interesting insights during the soccer championships with her play-by-play feed, but she is now thinking of resigning over this harsh and unreasonable treatment. Celebrity and public-service invites criticism, of course, and an audience of any size draws spite and nastiness—if for nothing else, out of the mirage of anonymity and distance. I hope @pontifex will not have to deal with this kind of abuse or disrespect, but such forums deflate inhibitions and encourage something other than courage, making it sometimes hard to forgive what is never truly forgot. Words are as shattering as sticks and stones, and I hope that people could move forward with a little compassion and empathy so the really terrible and permanent things don’t happen again. There ought to be a penance for those who don’t have the restraint to resist nasty, unhelpful comments, like posting enough funny cat memes or inspirational quotes (and say it like they mean it, though no amount really equals sorry) to smooth the situation over.