The Internet Has Killed Common Decency

Holy shit I’ve about had it with what tremendous assholes people on the internet are. Remember that book that was popular a long time ago, Everything I Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten? Well, it should be required reading. Pretty sure the first chapter was an in-depth analysis of The Golden Rule which is not “lash out with harmful, toxic energy and hide behind your keyboard”.

In the first four days of the new year, I’ve had two online experiences that really make me question if there’s any way to accelerate the next life extinguishing comet so Earth can start over. Human beings have lost all sense of decency and decorum, and well, just fucking common courtesy.

Example one: I’m the “tech support” of our dynamic duo over here at The Midlife. I do it because I like it, I have some aptitude, and I find it to be a huge challenge to constantly learn new ways to improve our business. I also do it because I have convinced myself I’m less likely to develop Dementia or to have my children see a Progressive Insurance commercial and laugh, “that’s just like Mommy.” Yes, my children, even the adults, call me Mommy. And if you have anything to say about it, I hope you finish reading my tirade, I mean blog, before you respond in writing. If you do feel like responding, I dare you to make sure it is something you would say to my face. 

One of the technologies I’m learning has a “supportive community” you join where you can ask questions. 

I did.

Now I want to punch a lot of people.

In my question, I flat out admitted I was a complete newbie and that I had searched for the answer to my question unsuccessfully. There are 9 replies to my question. They are shaming, snarky and rude. I can sumarize, “you are a fucking idiot for asking this”, is the general tone.

But am I?

Because one person answered with the EXACT place I needed to go on my setup for this program to change the feature I was looking to exclude.

So as much as I want to go back into the thread and give the others a piece of my mind. I won’t. 

Instead, I’m reflecting on how incredibly damaged people are. They took precious time out of their precious day in their precious life to just be hurtful and mean. And even worse, they opened the door for others to pile on because that type of behavior is normalized.

It’s that mob mentality that’s super terrifying. Is it an eventuality for humankind to seek some kind, any kind, of gang in order to feel like they belong?

This past weekend, there was a terrible accident in professional football. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, I bet there’s a good chance you heard about it. Damar Hamlin is a 24 year old defensive player for the Buffalo Bills who suffered a heart attack on the field after a tackle. The rest of the Bills vs. Bengals game was canceled and it is unclear if it will be rescheduled. Hamlin is still in critical condition and the extent of the damage is unknown, but it doesn’t sound good.

During the stoppage of the game, Skip Bayless, a Fox Sports broadcaster tweeted something that has caused incendiary outrage and calls to have him personally canceled. I want to impress upon you the torrential backlash online against this man. 

Here’s the tweet:

Am I the only one who sees the last part of the tweet that says, “….which suddenly seems so irrelevant”? Isn’t he making the same point that the people who are so angry at him are making – that this absolutely shocking and terrible thing that happened to Hamlin is bigger and more important than football?

But the people keep piling on, and on, and on. I bet this guy resigns soon.

And I’m sure as hell not going to throw my opinion out there. 

For clarification, I don’t think of you, The Midlife community, as “out there”. I do want to hear what you think, just productively and kindly, and preferably conversationally.

And that’s a big point: people will write something they absolutely WOULD NOT have the guts to say to someone’s face. They just want to get their shots in and then run away and hide behind their mother’s skirt before you can respond.

It is infuriating.

We hear a lot about kids and cyberbullying, but I was curious about the incidence of adult cyberbullying so I looked it up. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2017 found that around 4% of US adults have experienced online harassment, which can include cyberbullying. That was the most official thing I could find. It is both ridiculously old and also incredibly underreported. People are just used to it. Treating your fellow (wo)man with rancor, rudeness, and condescension is commonplace. The internet has killed common decency.

The second incident was a whopper. I tell Tracy all about it in episode #126 of The Midlife Podcast dropping Monday, January 23rd. I don’t want to spoil it for you, and frankly, it’s just too irritating to recount again. I hope you’ll have a listen, feel equally offended about the incident, and send me messages of support. Frankly, I’m still a little shook.

Suffice it to say, is it too much to ask to have “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it all” tattooed on the inside of every humans’ eyeballs? Ok, maybe that does seem extreme.

I will acknowledge there is a huge lesson in this for me: I am now going to approach everything I write online as if I have been lobotomized. I will inject zero personality, humor (because incredulously, not everyone thinks I’m as funny as I do), or pointedness in anything I write on the internet. 

Except to you, our dear The Midlife community. Because you get me, right?

Oh fuck, is someone going to write me telling me that lobotomized people still have a personality or that I have suggested infant mutalation or that my children are maladjusted because they call me Mommy? 

Bottom line, just be nice. And if you can’t, scroll. And if it’s that offensive and important to you, find a way to have a human conversation.

In our case, come visit with Tracy and I during a Wednesday Happy Hour when you can be part of the podcast and I’m willing to hear anything you have to say. Just be willing to hear a response. You can sign up here to get the link.

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