Tag Archives: internet

11032012 – Words

It’s been so long. It’s been too long.

I feel that words have been calling me, pulling me in, begging me to Let Them Be.

I mute them. I go on living. I attempt to have actual conversations with actual people.

I try to hide my journal and forget the passwords to my blogs.

I’ve been living in the Real World,

But my Real World Thoughts were undeveloped, unexpressed, and uninteresting to those I shared them with.

So I let these thoughts dance around in my mind before I went to sleep, while I doodled in my lecture hall, while I drove my car.

And this made me feel crazy. In my very real world, where I could not escape to the internet, I didn’t feel like I was fully engaged in my life. I was disinterested in the things happening around me. I was not impressed by all the things that should have impressed me. I was moody. I wanted to talk and listen to others talk about things that are probably not important, but so intriguing nonetheless.

I’m back to my internet community. I enjoy all the email correspondences, comments, feedback, and everything else from my followers and others who stop by to read what I write. It’s a shame that we’re scattered around the globe and cannot meet for coffee and deep talks.

 

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Internet Forums…

At this moment, I am watching a few educational videos online. Earlier, I read a few newspaper articles about human rights issues, cultural traditions, and racism. I like to skim through different mediums of information, and I actually prefer articles that are clearly biased. When authors claim to be stating objective facts, I roll my eyes and bite my lip. I like people who are savvy enough to admit their own faults and who recognize the lens through which they are looking at a particular circumstance. I enjoy reading information written by those who are clearly well-researched, clear, and who believe in something and stick to it throughout.

That being said, I am concerned. No, not about sensationalist journalism or about one-sided publications. I am concerned about the general population. Reading the comments beneath news articles, videos, and essays – I am deeply disappointed in what people say, how they say it, and how little they know about the world they inhabit. There is so much hate – for both the innocent and the guilty. There is so little empathy – for humans who, by no fault or little fault of their own, are struggling. At first, I read these comments and start vigorously typing responses. But I soon realize that I cannot possible reply to the hundreds of hurtful, mean, ignorant remarks. Moreover, I cannot change the thoughts of these people. My anger subsides, and I close my laptop and take a few deep breathes.

People feel safe online – they can bully, say unacceptable things, and they can choose to not reply to reasonable refutations to their statements. Although people have the ability to research whatever they please, they tend to do so mindlessly and without any sort of critical reflection on their sources. Furthermore, instead of attacking ideas, they attack the people who hold the ideas – which is completely useless for the purposes of intelligent discussion.

So I am concerned – about the opinions of certain members of the internet community, the lack of logic applied to arguments, the atrocious use of grammar.

 

“A man only becomes wise when he begins to calculate the approximate depth of his ignorance.” – Gian Carlo Menotti

 


Manners, freedom, and feminism.

The three things were going through my mind as I sat in a Starbucks, sipping my soy chai latte. I tried to read something or other on moral philosophy, but I could not concentrate. This is what happened:

The place is packed. Students are everywhere. Up in the loft area, there is one power outlet. Everyone twitches every time somebody in the general area of the Outlet moves, hoping that they are leaving. As soon as someone gets up, some other desperate coffee addict appears. The power outlet is calling us all by name, as our “low battery” notifications flicker.

The bell-tower rings. I’m still holding my spot in the general area and my charger is plugged in. I am lucky. The nice old man sitting behind the table in the corner, the table right in front of the Outlet, gets up, smiles, and says goodbye. Everyone is glaring. Little do they know, trouble is on its way.

A man dressed in tan corduroys, a light blue colored button down shirt, and polished dress shoes quickly appears. He’s wearing black glasses, because obviously the sun’s rays are overwhelming inside the dimmed coffee shop. Ridiculous. He also has a long board or a skate board, some kind of board.
Odd, but that’s besides the point.

He sits down. He did not purchase a drink or have a backpack. He sits down and a girl hurries over from a different table asking if he wouldn’t mind switching seats with her. But he says, “I was sitting on the couch for a long time and I have been waiting for this seat.” The girl, disappointed, says okay and leaves.

The man, maybe in his early thirties, takes out his phone and its charger. Everyone’s relieved that he is taking advantage of the best seat in the house. In the corner, by himself, he starts messing with his phone.

He waited for that seat not because he wanted to text his friends, call someone important, call someone unimportant, check his email, listen to music, etc. No. He waited for that seat because he thought he could hide what he was doing. He faced the room and mostly me, with his screen facing the corner.

Porn. He was watching porn using Starbucks’ complimentary Wi-Fi. He was nervous, looking around making sure nobody knew what he was doing. In his creepy dark sunglasses and his business casual attire, he was sitting in a dark, public room watching porn.

I’m not even going to elaborate on my disgust with porn in general. I’m just commenting on this man watching it in a crowded public place at 2:00 P.M. As a feminist, I was offended. I am still offended. I wanted to throw things at him. I wanted to confront him. I wanted to tell him to get the fuck out. There were kids in that room. He was lucky none of their parents or tutors were sitting where I was. I wanted to yell at him and tell him that his behavior was disrespectful and unacceptable. Maybe, sir scumbag, you don’t share my values or beliefs or whatever, but your actions are not okay.

But I didn’t say anything. I wish I had said something. I just shot dirty looks and he definitely saw them. He tried to hide his screen more. So he turned his chair and was facing me. I put on my over-sized sweater. He noticed my dirty looks. He left.

I don’t really care what people say about male sexuality. I don’t really care about any of it.
We live in a civilized world. People can control their desire to eat (which is something totally necessary for  health and survival). You can control your obsession with sex. And if you find it too dificult, there are treatment centers for that. Use them.

The world is a shared space. You may find corners in which you think you’re totally alone, but the truth of the matter is, your actions and you are never truly hidden. Your actions affect other people.


The Loss of Intelligent Conversation.

I guess the way to get a million followers is to write about exciting things that the majority of bloggers/blog readers find either witty, funny, and/or insightful.
These posts should also probably include a disproportionate amount of photographs, a few words, and probably a numbered list of some sort. Also, pure entertainment should be the primary goal of every post. Nobody really likes to talk about things that matter, because they are so afraid of disagreement and debate. Everyone is afraid to hurt everyone else’s feelings, and “attack” everyone else’s beliefs. The internet is known to be this great source of knowledge and a significant manifestation of progress.  But oh my God, when did we become so shallow? When did moral relativism and dismissal of this idea of “truth” become so widely accepted.  Don’t we care about our beliefs? Don’t we care about the values of others? What’s the point of believing in anything, if we go around saying things like: “We’ll never know the truth, so we might as well drop this argument”? Sure, it’s fine to believe in different things, and sure, we may never know the answers to many of our questions. But by rejecting the existence of truth, aren’t we also dismissing our own personal beliefs?

Personal beliefs are sensitive issues, but by no means are belief systems the only topics of shallow discourse online. Let’s take celebrity Twitter accounts. A celebrity says something offensive [I’m sure you can think of many of these occurrences, and therefore I won’t list names] about either politics, socio-economic issues, a TV show, another celebrity, etc.  and fans go nuts. Social media sites have brought celebrities closer to their fans, but have also forced the people involved to put on facades. Celebrities who say things the majority of people do not like later apologize or have to have some big-time interview explaining why they said what they said. The problem, though, is not in these celebrities. It’s in the fans. Why are fans constantly criticizing successful human beings? Why must these humans beings think and talk in such a way as to not offend anybody? Why do we expect public figures to be “better” than regular citizens? We want to see these stars as real life people, but we really hate when they aren’t perfect and say things that we don’t like. But most importantly, why are we so afraid of allowing people to voice the things they truly think, regardless of whether or not we think their opinions are correct? Why are we so sensitive?

There are many people out there who have world views that you and I may find to be absolutely ridiculous, yet it is ignorant to silence them: because they exist.
And when views exist they have power, regardless of whether or not they adhere to our standards.

Why are we so afraid of our own thoughts?
Why do we fear our own humanity?