Wednesday, January 14, 2009

i'm sorry jessie

you're right, of course. we have been in no way updating the blog often enough. sometimes i get lazy. so i'm gonna just post something real quick to let the internet know i haven't died, and perhaps i can get this whole 'posting' thing to become a habit again.

the subject today: ignorant people and internet commenting.

so i was reminded today of a long-standing irritation i've had. i went to check some of my blogs i haven't read in a few days, and discovered that sister toldja, who i find to be occasionally hilarious, got herself in a bit of trouble while i wasn't looking. apparently this post got linked on jezebel and, in the eternal words of eddie murphy, white folks lost their motherf*ckin minds. that poor little blog, which usually gets somewhere around 5 comments on a post, suddenly had just about 150, and most of them were mad as hell. if i had to summarize them in just a few words, it would be something along the lines of "you're an ignorant racist bitch, you remind me of hitler, its your fault racism still exists in the world, and as a white person i feel personally attacked and victimized." oh, and about 70% of the comments were posted anonymously. now you see why we don't allow anonymous comments on THIS blog.

so here's the thing thats always bothered me about the internet, and the world of internet commenting:
1) people seem to think its ok to pretend like they don't understand when something's a joke, and then just go off on it like it was an article in the new york times and not a post on a humor blog.
2) people seem to think 'anonymous' means 'i can insult you personally and compare you to hitler.'

and 3, which is the main reason this whole thing fascinated/annoyed me, is that people who (and i'm gonna go out on a limb and make a WILD generalization here) in their daily lives don't give more than a passing thought to issues like racism, homophobia, and social justice in general, who spend their time reading blogs like jezebel and gawker so they can keep up on their celebrity news, but probably don't even know the website for the BBC and certainly don't have any race-themed blogs bookmarked in their browsers suddenly feel the need to get impassioned about something when it happens across their computer screen on their way to some article about natalie portman's latest romance. i'm sorry, but in real life if you came across a group of black people talking about racism, you would keep walking because you would be uncomfortable and uninterested. but on the internet you feel like you have a right to join the conversation? fuck that. this is that brownstoner brooklyn eviction blog post all over again. just because something involving race or class falls into your otherwise wealthy, white, heterosexual internet 'space' doesn't mean you all of a sudden have a stake in that issue. if you spend 98% of your time ignoring issues like that, you frankly have no right to get indignant.

i'm mad late to work so i'm gonna just end this with little to no conclusion, and just leave you with these words of wisdom: the internet is a dangerous place, people. the same person who moves their purse to the other side when you sit down next to them on the train could be getting home, logging on, and trying to make some profound point about race in the comments section of a blog. you would never know.

addition: now that i'm AT work and shouldn't be blogging, i had a great thought and a clarification: i'm not actually mad at jezebel and gawker. both enjoyable websites, and tons of normal and smart people read them. here is my point - if you're going to get righteously indignant about something, you first need to earn some kind of righteousness. so don't pretend to get indignant about something you don't talk about enough to have confidence in your own opinions. express an opinion, sure, but feel free to also recognize you're not the expert.