Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Dark Side

The enduring mystery of Jimmy Carter Derangement Syndrome...

I don't know why, but something dark and masochistic within me made me check out the comments on the Yahoo news story about Jimmy Carter getting hospitalized. I don't know why I do it... Yahoo news commenters, after all, are some of the most brutal on the planet. What did I expect to find? Lots of "get well soon" messages..?

Obviously not. Seems many are taking the opportunity to whoop and holler and wish Carter a speedy demise. Maybe this shouldn't disgust and worry me. But it does.

What worries me is that Yahoo news is not some fringe portal of evil like, say, Town Hall or Drudge. Yahoo is a mainstream news site populated by average folks - bored office guys surfing the net while they should be collating expense reports, soccer moms whiling away the hours between breakfast TV and Oprah, old folks and regular Joes in general. Imagine, for instance, the mom who got her kids up this morning, put syrup smiley faces on their pancakes and kissed them goodbye... before firing up her Dell to share thoughts like these with the world:

"It would have been so funny if the SECOND WORST president in US history had choked on a peanut. But the phone call from the ALL TIME WORST 'president', the 'messiah from Kenya', made it all better with just one phone call, no wonder the liberals are estatic [sic] with the man-monkey from darkest Africa."

"RIP Mr. Carter....oh sorry...your alive...its just that that picture of u makes me think that you died one month ago. Sorry about that. I did just buy your new book sir, will color it later."

Maybe I have a tendency to over-think sh*t, but it really depresses me that so many nice folks must be secret maniacs. So many ready to leap on the web to spew hate whenever a story awakens their dark side. This is supposed to be what people like me do... not normal people. These folks probably attend churches, PTA, you probably chat with them in the check-out line or wave when you drive by them in the street... But they're like secret pod people: Just give them freedom of speech and an anonymous internet identity and we go from Mayberry to Fallujah in the click of a mouse.

Tell me I shouldn't worry... Please reassure me that we are not being consumed by the dark side. Am I being an over-sensitive flower..? I think I need a hug.

(Related: Jimmy Carter Derangement Syndrome)



  1. The internet does bring out the worst in people. I was just thinking exactly the same thing myself after spending the last half hour exchanging insults with some total stranger across the other side of the world when I came and read similar thoughts on your blog. Well, at least in my case, it was a debate about politics. But it wouldn't escalate like that in a pub; someone, probably me, would end up getting their head kicked in. I think it's partly that, once we just walked through crowds of people in cities etc and they didn't bother us that much because we couldn't see their thoughts/opinions, yet now we trawl through crowds of people on the net and get to see their thoughts/opinions and, apart from the fact that we are wandering through all the derangement that's always been present in the human condition (the state of the world is proof of that), such things can't help but produce a response, so we're in a state of hyper-reactiviness but without any of the danger we'd incur by expressing those responses in real life. Or somethinbg like that. Just a theory. Doesn't explain wanton nastiness though, other than that maybe we accommodate to this climate of heated divisive antagonism by increments until you end up with a virtual world where nastier behaviour, being so commonplace, is tolerated more than it would be in normal life.

    The alternative is to just say no, most people are just shits. Which, again looking at the state of the world, might well be the case.

  2. Don't get me wrong, I like internet fighting with idiots as much as the next guy. But my rules are: insults must at least be funny and opinions must be based on fact. Most wingnuts seem to totally ignore both of those rules so they're just spouting nasty crap for the sake of it.

    It was funny a few years ago when I was 'arguing' with a Republican nut and it got the stage of meeting up in real life for a fight. So I uploaded a pic of the rapper Fat Joe for my profile photo. Didn't hear anything more from ass-kicking conservative dude after that.

  3. We have been a hate charged society. It is encouraged by the media, the right wing politicians, the Christian religious leaders and our education system.
    Yes, we are on a steep downward cultural spiral.
    History will show that he wasn't nearly as bad a president as the Reganistas and the extremist right wing would like to make him put to have been.
    Jimmy Carter will go down in history as one of the finest men and most honest statesmen of the 20th Century.


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