As a planet we are making incredible advances in technology and communication. We can make synthetic sperm and put a man on the moon (or in a studio decked out very well to look like the moon.) But I worry that as a species we are becoming a whole lot hypocritical.
Our vulnerability to ‘offense’ is becoming dangerous and is threatening the entire dynamic of the society we live in. It is good to be self-regulating and to address problems when we see them arise. But some of the problems we are attempting to eradicate are making way for new ones.
Corporal and capital punishment used to be widespread, even a form of entertainment . Now we have the social media guillotine of Twitter and Facebook and anyone and everyone can get unlimited free burning sticks to brand anyone who causes them offense. The problem is that those most offended are the first to raise a virtual stick and offend the crap out of whoever offended them.
Indeed, the social media has become a cacophonous rabble of naysayers and self-righteous prigs, some just reveling in the anonymous platform, others hell-bent on disemboweling strangers who dare to disagree with them. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so damaging. The huffing, puffing commentators are quick to point out a perceived ‘offence’ but fail to responsibly filter their own responses which can include death threats and profane litanies of personal abuse.
Our human race is becoming so self-righteous and hypocritical that the heat it is generating might just be contributing to global warming. Freedom of speech is being threatened like never before, despite the web megaphones handed out to anyone who can hold and operate a mobile phone. People have been given a voice but are increasingly using it to abuse others for the crime of having used their own voice. If one thing really offends me – it is hypocrisy. I’ll call it when I see it but I’ll try to do it nicely.
Here’s the rub. You can’t please all the people all the time. What offends one person will make someone else laugh. One person’s poison is another’s cognac. And you know what, not having developed our powers of mind-reading, we can’t always predict how people will react when we share our views.
Twitter users can often be very black or white . ‘Champion my world view or I will cut you into tiny pieces with my hash-tag.’
The Twitter troll is a new and disturbing creature to climb out of the primordial internet soup. Trolls are dangerous because you rarely see them coming. They hide under the Twitter bridge ready to leap up and strike at the first sounds of heavy footsteps. Trolls also set up Facebook pages to specifically embarrass, shame and destroy people they have a beef with. Sometimes strangers target a celebrity, disregarding any psychological damage they may in turn create. Trolls derive pleasure from inflicting senseless vitriol into the ether.
We live in a world where the flies on the wall have Twitter accounts and cameras and little respect.
The new commandments of political correctness might soon look like this.
1. Thou shalt not make a joke, about anything as it is sure to offend someone.
2. Thou shalt not point out the bleeding obvious to people who are content to wallow in irrationality and delusion.
3. Thou shalt not use any labels to describe any person ever.
4. Thou shall free up the law courts by taking personal revenge on the presumed guilty via social media, killing them (virtually speaking) with a sledge-hammer of abuse.
5. Thou shall enjoy freedom of religion so long as your heathen practices do not offend the Judea-Christian sensibility.
6. Thou shalt not sack any employee for any reason.
7. Thou shall protect the rights of children unless they infringe on the right to bear arms (pointedly directed at the US).
8. Thou shalt not play practical jokes on anyone.
9. Thou shalt not give homeless people shoes as they will just be ungrateful and sell them for beer.
1 Thou shalt not laugh at Sacha Baron Cohen as he is the devil (but not because he’s Jewish or male).
It seems the only way to ensure that you are never found culpable for someone else’s profound sense of ‘offense’ is to remain silent.
Not this little blabber-mouth.