I’m sure we’ve all, in our voyages into the world of electronic discourse, observed the truth of these statements:
It astonishes me how many people take insult for refutation. They think that if they call someone a name – fool, for example, or dupe – they have successfully disposed of his arguments.
The internet seems to have reinforced the human tendency to resort to the ad hominem.
The spread of education has done little to raise the tone of argument, or the internet to improve its temper.
Read the whole thing at the Salisbury Review site.
“The spread of education”: ah, the famous British dry humour.
I recall in 1996 I was watching the TV adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels (Ted Danson) with two people who I didn’t know so well but soon learn’t to dislike very much.
At one point, regarding Lemuel’s sense of alienation, one of these persons said somewhat sarcastically “It’s ‘Jaxon’!” (actually that’s not my name, were it so, I’d doubtless be a ‘Hyphen Leigh’ in Wallop’s schema but that’s by the bye) but hey, I took it as a compliment even so.
That same year I was talking to someone else, expressing a somewhat despairing sentiment about the general masses and he said “they can’t all be wrong” It was in the spirit of “Forty million Frenchmen can’t be wrong” http://tinyurl.com/ks8uddg
I think it was the next year I was talking to a young girl/woman… she wasn’t unpleasant as such but when I elaborated on, shall we say, the decline of civilisation theme?
Well, she seemed to be listening.. and she could hardly refute me, she didn’t call me a fool she just said “I think you’re hard on people” the manner suggested that had her education supplied her with the word misanthropic then she may have deployed it.
So what… big deal… Now, had I speculated on how in ten years the internet would reveal unto the world what for me was already fairly plainly on display, that is, describe it as it is. Lo, I think not that she would have been so restrained… nay she would have been appalled.
Do I think that now, if she’s still upon the earth, does she look upon the face of the internet and think “He was right”?
No I’m guessing she’s rather indifferent and unthinking on such matters still… other than the injustice of the effects of ‘austerity’ of course.
The specificity of above conversations, years etc… is doubtless a little misleading – it was an ongoing thing, just these instances come to mind.
I soon learnt?