Really? Did you have to say that?
I am a thin-skinned soft heart, I admit it. A pansy, a Pollyanna, someone who always expects to the see the good in people, and is reluctant to accept anything bad. I really do try to se the bright side of things. It annoys my friends. Maybe it’s this streak of optimistic innocence that leaves me feeling so shocked when someone is hurtful. I don't understand why that would be the response and I just never want to believe that another person could want anything but the best for others. Yes, we all have our moments wherein we say something that really shouldn’t have been said, but when you have time to think about it because you have to write it down and then send it, you have time to decide not to hit that 'submit' button. Sadly, in this age of anonymity, it seems that being a horrible human being on a regular basis is becoming the new normal. It shows up in all sorts of venues, even those you don't expect.
It happens on social media
I started seeing this on Facebook; friends (real friends, people I have lunch with) would update their status to reflect some cruel dig at some other group of people. Bigotry thinly washed with righteousness, or even a complete trampling and rewriting of facts to say something mean. This is sometimes played off as “it’s all in fun!” well, no, it isn’t. Deliberately saying something hurtful and mean, especially when followed by some variation of ‘because I’m so much more Christian than you’ is not fun. I’m not at all religious, but I’m pretty sure none of the popular religions include a paragraph that says “and thou shalt spread my word by showing all how much better thou art than them”. Somewhere along the line I remember hearing things like ‘judge not…’, and ‘do unto others…’ Clearly I’ve only heard about the fantasy religions in storybooks. Real-life religion never seems to be quite as nice I suppose Facebook has allowed me to see a side of my “friends” that I would otherwise have never seen. This was probably the most unexpected to me. I assumed that interacting with someone in real life over several years would have allowed me to see all sides of that person. Apparently not.
It happens in open forums
It happens in closed writers groups
Is it a lost cause?
I suppose there must be some good side to this; isn’t there always a good side? Maybe the people with empty souls who revel in provoking through the internet find it easier to pretend they are good when interacting in real life. Maybe they live longer by transferring their hate to strangers. Or maybe they just keep the nice people off the internet, and involved in real life.