I keep encountering an increasing quantity of stories concerning the omnipresence of insults, shaming (which I sense is another term for being insulted) and the incidence of vile comments on the Internet. Well, it ain’t new, folks; it’s just an adjunct of anonymity.
Anonymity has always lent itself as a protective cover for what are usually cowardly comments. Cowardly? Well, how many of the boys hurling invective would do so by themselves–no crowd of thugs surrounding them for protection–or if their real, personal identity were to be attached to every post, every insult, every profanity that passes their lips?
Still, it ain’t new.
In Greek times political commentary was often written using false names, nom de plumes employed in an attempt to divert the anger of the masses. Two thousand or so years later, the telephone became a wonderful way to hide one’s identiy when making irritating, obscene or threatening statements. An army cliche brought up the colonel who called a unit orderly room on the phone. The call was answered by a male voice saying, “hello…” instead of the obligatory “Bravo Two One (or whatever unit…), Corporal whomever speaking. May I help you, sir?” The colonel vented his spleen before asking who he was talking to. “You don’t know?” the voice asked. “No…” the colonel answered.
“Well, fuck you, asshole…”
Internet forums are filled with such comments. I abstain from Twitter and such but I’m sure it’s much worse than a simple forum. After all, the President lurks there, he and his legions of mindless mouthbreathers, knuckledraggers, boys who enjoy sex with their mothers, people who gobble human feces with a fork and other similar creatures.
But it isn’t new. Not at all.