7.14.2010

It's Not a Rodney King World

I'm not really sure what to say today.  I'm a bit maudlin about the interwebz internecine infighting.  It doesn't usually get me down because I attempt to foster within myself a spirit of optimism.  I'm a grad student now, a Social Worker shooting for my terminal degree... and not because I want to help people.




Setting out to help people is asking for trouble.  Most people don't want help, they want to be left the hell alone to do what they're going to do anyway.

I don't have the zeal to heal.

Its for that reason I've never really tried to get involved in any conflict... and by that I mean the bush wars that flame up from time to time.  Let's face it, the forums and blogs making up our hobby footprint here on the internet are rife with tinder left behind after the uncountable disagreements over any and everything.  It takes only a tiny spark to set it off.

*Note: after an email conversation with someone, I decided to take out the links to the particular articles.  Basically sweep away the tinder.*

It's human nature to take sides, and the thought can't help but occur to me: is it a biological imperative for those who take sides to resent those who don't?  After all, everybody hates a moderate, everybody resents a fence-sitter!  I can see the benefit, after all.  In our ancient past socializing was literally the most important thing going, tying the tribe together with unbreakable bonds, bonds tested in a daily struggle for survival.  You simply can't have someone saying, "Guys, I think I'm going to sit this one out.  That mammoth over there looks pretty tough!"

Our society is wildly different, but from an evolutionary perspective there simply hasn't been enough time for our inner rules to change.  We've gone from ancient, nomadic man wandering the grasslands to literally setting down roots and building a community on a more stable food source, agriculture.  Even then, our numbers were small enough so everyone knew everyone, but still large enough that the inner imperatives were in conflict...

...and can you imagine the surprise when brother killed brother?

I'm not so naive as to imagine it didn't happen among the wandering tribes, with some alpha male swinging a rock at his cousin just a bit too hard, but what possible reason could Cain have for killing Able?  Can't you imagine cousin Bob standing across the field, talking to his second-cousin twice-removed who's also his nephew, Glen, saying something like, "Boy, Glen, don't you think Cain could have saved all that aggression for killing that tribe in the next county?"

On the scales we're talking about, it's been only a long, lazy afternoon since man decided to sit down, plant some grub, build some huts, construct the wheel, use fire for steam and steam for power, prop up a factory, make a car and then an airplane, create tiny stuff, create stuff much tinier, build a computer, attach phone lines between them, host a bulletin board, design the World Wide Web...

...and have an online fight or three.  Our instincts are barely more evolved than Fido's.  Let's not pretend our civility is more than skin deep.

The Internet compounds the problem, adding anonymity to the mix.  There's a reason I use my real name: I never want that excuse for poor behavior.  I'm not suggesting others should do likewise - I'll monitor my behavior and you can monitor yours - but let's not pretend that some of these dudes out there running their mouths aren't 115lbs soaking wet and would never, ever talk smack to a real life person.

There are people out there who flame because they want to flame, and there are others who believe what they're saying and are willing to stand for it.

That's a respectable thing to do.  The problem is anonymity takes civility out of the equation.  In person, if I say something nasty about you I've got to risk getting punched in the face.

I know.  It's happened.  I got up, dusted myself off, and told the dude his girl was stupid, too.  That was a nice little fight, it was.

There is no such threat of physical pain acting as a balance to all the testosterone. 

Okay, on to specifics.  I'm not going to talk about the actual conflict - what's the point?  It's the latest in a long string of conflict between Bell and YTTH.  It's almost become inevitable.

(Besides, some of the specifics are hilarious.  The King's comments were a prime example of his form at its very best... and isn't that part of the appeal?  The satisfaction one gets from tagging the opposition is almost primal - it's why I liked to fight so much when I was younger.)

On one side we have the Bell crew, specifically in this case Bushido Red Panda and Darkwynn... what's not to like?  I've met Nick twice and he's a great guy.  I don't know Bushido, but his videos make me laugh.  He seems like somebody I would get along with.  I can keep going in this vein.  I've met JWolf, Bigred, Mkerr, and a bunch of the other Bell dudes.  All of these guys are personable, and all of these guys love the hobby I love.

Then we've got a collection of people who are my favorite internet personalities, including the King, Kirby, Chumby, and Dethtron.  I get along with these dudes famously, unless I'm missing something.  There's zero doubt in my mind that hanging out with these guys would be a laugh riot.  They're funny people.

And let's not forget Stelek, probably the most infamous of Internet personalities.  He's abrasive and unapologetic.  If I can make an observation, he seems like a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve.  He works his butt off on his site but he doesn't get the accolades he sees going to others.  He may not care - I don't know - but truth be told I think it bothers him.  Regardless, I can't help but like him and his site.

What's my point?

I think all these guys would get along if they were dropped in a room together.  Maybe not all of them would be fast friends, but certainly they'd have something to talk about.

So why is it so easy to take offense at what someone is saying?

It's because it's so easy to say it.  The Internet makes it that easy.  There is none of the social lubrication we use in person to smooth the way through our conversations.  In life, we're careful with our opinions, careful with our words.  We'd never dream of walking up to a stranger and telling him his mother wears combat boots, much less some of the other things that are said.

I'm a Social Worker because I like people... but to finish that thought, I 'm a person who likes people who like people.  We're it, folks - the only thing worth talking about.  Like I said, I don't have the zeal to heal.  I don't try to play the peacemaker, even when I see people I like tear at each other.  Sometimes I want to, but I recognize nobody would thank me for it.

It's not a Rodney King world.  That's something worth feeling bad about sometimes, something that will someday make my digital head explode in a chain reaction.

*sigh*

Ah well - until then, I'm down for some Diana Ross!

16 comments:

Heavy D said...

Couldn't agree with you more. There will maybe hatred at times but. But once we all set aside differences & put everything together, we all love one thing and thats 40k :)

Brent said...

Thanks D - I appreciate the comments on this post. It's easy to see how it could backfire on me!

Gauthic said...

From Episode One.... "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you."

From The Empire Strike Backyard (Hilarious Fan Film)....
"Fear you say! fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to greed, greed leads to misery, misery leads to despair, despair leads to crying, crying leads to tears, tears leads to sniffing, sniffing leads to tissues......hatred leads to poverty, poverty leads to hunger, hunger leads to steak, steak leads to stir-frying!"
MOV Movie

Chumbalaya said...

Good stuff Brent. At the risk of being called a fence-sitter I totally agree with you and anybody who doesn't is stupid.

b.smoove said...

amen.

Papa JJ said...

Excellent analysis, Brent. I think you've correctly identified online-anonymity as one of the main reasons why people so casually say horrible things about and toward each other. I doubt much of what gets said would be done so in person, or at the very least would be said in a more tactful manner. I wouldn't want people to be fake or untrue to themselves just for the sake of getting along, but it is still possible to show a modicum of civility while disagreeing with someone. And when folks insist on treating others in a contemptible way, it does provide for some hilarious snowmobiling opportunities. Since this is not a Rodney King world, it's good to know Dethtron is there to keep the stupidity in check and just maybe prevent any digital head explosion chain reactions from occurring.

Fleahost said...

My head hurts. Didn't expect you to was cerebral. You're right of course.

The_King_Elessar said...

Brent's Theme tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qIBvbd6skI

I think what happened here is that, somehow, BRP has come across it, and not thought that maybe, just maybe, Stelek intended to go through all the lists. now, I didn't speak to him before the event (and haven't spoken to him outside of full public view, ie YTTH comments) but I reckon that was always Stelek's intention. He started with the US because it's more relevant to most readers. Even me.

I think Stelek wasn't AIMING for Drama, because, as you've seen yourself, he can go a LOT further when he is.

As far as I was concerned, he was criticising the lists but not the players, so it wasn't personal. Had Darkwyyn simply replied with that 'I think your advice pedestrian' or whatever quip, and the ravenous ZombYs hadn't jumped in (or, indeed, the trolling of BRP) then it would have been a total non-event.

I thank you for the compliments - my intent was humour throughout. I see what I said as pretty balanced and moderate, without being personal or insulting - and of course I had a 'dig' at the ZombYs who made caret blanche statements of incorrect 'fact'.

I have no interest in more drama, per se - but I can and will amuse myself and others further by continuing in the same vein, with no qualms about doing so.

Later in the week, I intend to sit down with my Codeii and write lists for my own fictional ETC team.

I want those put through the same process as the French, Swedes and US. I've no doubt the rest will be demolished too - I've read a lot of them, and they make me EMO.


Overall you're right, I consider you a good e-buddy too, and I'm off to Google Rodney King, because I'm not 100% sure who that is. lol

The_King_Elessar said...

Okay, that's what I kinda thought...I didn't know of his efforts to stop the rioting though. Now, it makes sense. lol

Brent said...

King: Perhaps I should have said it, but I didn't consider this episode that outrageous.

I don't recall the whole thread, but I remember reading it with a mix of enjoyment and exasperation.

From the Bell end, I think it was a good topic for an article. The tournament is a big deal, it is interesting, and a bit of friendly finger-waving to stir some interest is always worthwhile.

From the YTTH end, I think it was a good topic for an article. There wasn't a doubt in my mind Stelek was going to post the various lists and rip on them. That's totally his bag.

I should also say I didn't find Stelek to be that outrageous. I thought he was pretty tame, truth be told. I don't think he picked on the Americans more than anyone else.

I guess there was a part of me that was surprised Nick and BRP chose to comment on it. The Bell dudes have done a good job of staying above it all, for the most part.

Except for Mkerr, but that's his job. He's good at it.

I think all of the flames over the last year built up and finally I felt compelled to write about it.

That's all - Brent

Col. Corbane said...

As long as people are safe in their anonymity there will always be keyboard warriors, it's just the nature of the net.

I learned to say 'whatever' a long time ago, and it's a phrase that's served me well. Fencesitting may not be liked that much, but I'd rather not get dragged into other peoples petty problems and just get on enjoying my hobby.

Jwolf said...

I used to get into all of the flamewars I could find, and actually treat comments by various trolls and geniuses as worthy of response.

Then I remembered a good old country truism (which is fair, because I am a resident of rural Texas):
No matter what else happens, if you choose to wrestle a pig, you end up dirty and smelling like shit.

This one simple sentence (and my desire not to smell like excrement) has done more to form a good internet policy for me than anything else. I still occasionally read some insult or receive some personal FU message, but I just let the pigs wallow and go inside and make a BLT. In the end, the pigs never win.

I haven't read the article in question, but I'll see Darkwynn and BRP later today, and ask them why they smell so bad. ;)

Gauthic said...

"No matter what else happens, if you choose to wrestle a pig, you end up dirty and smelling like shit."

Hey now! In my defense some of those girls back in the day were quite clean, just mildly rotunda.

Gonewild said...

Your blog is approaching 100 followers. I think you should have a kick-ass give away. Theres some tinder- start a fire!

The_King_Elessar said...

Agreed, I was pleasantly surprised by how tame it was...

Dethtron said...

The annonymity thing drives me crazy. I actually set out with the goal of not being annonymous on my own blog, but as I was semi-voluntarily thrust into the world of looking for employment, I decided to keep my online persona as clean as possible (given the nature of what I do...)

that being said, I slip in snippets of real life periodically when blogging. If you're paying attention, you probably know my full name, have seen multiple full on pictures of myself and my dog, etc. the original blog template actually had all of my real contact information in it under a section title "want to punch dethtron in the face." I decided to take it down though, as mentioned already because of the job search issue. Put something on a resume and people will google it. if that search turns up you ranting like a crazy person and swearing non-stop...bad times

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