On the Salisbury Review’s site Dalrymple addresses the contentiousness of social media commentary, wondering “whether the social media express the bile that has always existed or whether it has actually increased that bile by turning the expression of it into a habit.” In the example he gives, people can’t even discuss the discovery of an underground canyon in Greenland without getting angry:
James: Very interesting, but the probing is probably just a
cover for the start of checking for oil.
Carrol: The computer you used to type your idiotic post was
made possible by oil.
James: ‘My idiotic post,’ Carrol? Judging by your absurd/
unintelligible comment, YOU are the only idiot here, as
you don’t even understand what I’ve written.
Truant: All [Carrol] did was make a statement that your
computer has oil-based components in its construction,
and stated so without any accusations except that you
are an idiot.
James: No, Truant, you are as thick as Carrol.
In Dalrymple’s article The Taliban’s of Austerity he basically sums up the the problem of people living beyond their means, failure to pay off debt etc as a “profound moral crisis”. I agree and I think it predates the internet by some way… a lot of the problem being a permanent part of the human condition no doubt.
I think the internet has mainly allowed people to show their true colours, as it were. Actually I’d like to give the benefit of the doubt that the terrible way people express themselves, their activity more generally, watching pornography etc, is not about their ‘true colours’ so much as voluntarily allowing the better angels of their nature to be corrupted; it goes against what can be redeemed.
Use if the internet probably does compound the problem in many cases but really it’s more the revealing of attitudes that have tended to lay beneath the surface ever since I can remember.
I remeber quite clearly, back in 1996 when probably at my most alienated, isolated stage in life. On expressing concerns about society to a man and he replied, “They can’t all be wrong”. My views were obviously rather sweeping, but frankly most people simply are in denial. A lot of the time I’m essentially in denial just to get through the day without succumbing to despair.
So, and I have kind of said this before and speaking as someone who only just recently recieved some pretty extreme abuse online which didn’t exactly fill me with joy, I don’t like the vitriol but paradoxically it’s kind of a relief to point out to certain people that this is what people, quite generally, are really like and a large part of the reason why I withdrew from much of society in my youth. One friend was recently adament, in a rather heated manner, that what I speak of is not really so general; he has since been more in agreement with me.
A few years back I said of the Olympics, to the same friend mentioned above, that they’re costing “millions upon millions upon millions upon millions…” And I continued in that vein for some time, as I could without exaggerating.
He wasn’t impressed and rather casually played down the vast sums that were poured into the games… I mean ‘games’ for heavens sakes! He made some reference to an estimate of global currency, it was in the trillions, maybe even sixty trillion, maybe even three hundred trillion. Boy was I relieved by that. Not! It’s utterly bogus.
I’m not so sure about the gold standard but this guy is obviously, and I mean obviously, basically right.