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