I’m starting this one with only a vague idea of where it’s going, so if it goes off the rails you have been warned. I realized the other day that this blog had pretty much become a movie/TV review blog, and though those were things I had always talked about, they were not supposed to become the primary content. So I wanted to kind of examine how that happened, and it brought a couple of things to mind.
I want to enjoy my internet experience. There was a time I enjoyed an argument more than the spokesman for “Lucky Charms” after five Jamesons shots and three pints of Guinness. I’ve really gotten over that. I do still seriously love a discussion, contrasting two points of view and comparing their relative merits, but that’s become something of a lost art. There’s no back and forth in real time on the internet, and nine times out of ten any discussion ends in name-calling, unfriending, or some pitiful excuse for “evidence” that I or my opponent are simply too tired to try and disprove. Besides, it’s the internet; whatever your opinion you will find some source to back you up or to cite. And that will be a “good” source because it says what I wanted it to. That’s called “confirmation bias” and I assure you I am every bit as guilty as anyone at whom I could poke fingers.
So, tired of fighting, my internet presence has devolved into little more than pop culture talking. Even that becomes tough as a) there’s a googleplex of folks like me wanting to share their little movie reviews or carefully sculpted snark and b) there will be as much venom from some Trekkies about JJ movies as there will from an anti-vax Hippie mom or a Climate Change Denier. It’s all about the righteous indignation now, and again I fall victim, not only as someone who just does a Google search for some Nacelle Porn (that’s a Trek fan who want to see Starships by the way, not pornography) and ends up on rants about magic blood (hey sport, try actually listening to the dialog about serums and such, mmkay?) but as someone who begins to give into my own Righteous Indignation (is he going to save anyone? He’s fucking Superman, right?) on variety of subjects (hey Facebook, where’s my timeline control?), and I then sound like the web equivalent of Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino” growling about getting off my lawn. Such ire stirs not only my use of parenthesis, but also triggers immense run-on sentences, the likes of which would make Tolstoy proud.
I even find myself getting so angry about others’ Righteous Indignation, that I have to question MY Righteous Indignation as being just as misguided as theirs. Is my disdain for act III of “Man of Steel” any different than another’s disdain for “Star Trek Into Darkness”? Will I be judged for wanting a “Dredd” sequel far more than any “Pacific Rim” sequel? How much am I pissing off right and left believing in both the efficacy of vaccines AND the reality of Climate Change? Why do I care if you care if I believe in God AND evolution?
In short, I have begun to measure every post I make anywhere on the net—here, FB, Tumblr, Twitter, heck even Goodreads—against how willing I am to pick a fight over saying what I think. What I think, no matter how benign I feel it is, is going to offend someone. Perhaps this wasn’t the norm when an audience consisted of the at-most-ten people who might be in a room with you, but now dozens or hundreds may see something, and want to respond to MY Righteous Indignation with their own. That has come to really put me off on sharing opinions on anything important.
The thing is, I really do enjoy a lot of the content people share on various social media. Shows, music, interesting well written opinions on social issues, history, or world events; I even occasionally see really nicely done arguments on political opinions I don’t agree with. They make me think instead of react, and I enjoy that a lot. It is usually closely followed by hyperbole, ad hominem attacks, and indignation and I don’t enjoy that at all. Want a good reason for aliens to nuke our planet from orbit? Watch the discussion comments at the bottom of ANY news article.
It just seems to me there is a lot in the world to be angry about and want to change without looking for those things everywhere you go.
So, end result for me is a diminished web presence. I don’t offer my screams to the cacophony on things that matter, but will rant about things that in the end are pretty inconsequential (looking at YOU, last episode of “How I Met Your Mother”!). Yet sometimes I do want to say something, to counter an opinion, or to provide my perspective. The internet though has sucked out my will to defend that opinion beyond what I say the first time online. Yes, that’s hypocritical, yes I am the pot calling the kettle black when I say I want to speak and not hear back. And therefore, I don’t speak.
I need to find better ways to direct that energy.
UPDATE: Ain't THIS some shit.
UPDATE: Ain't THIS some shit.