I’m left wondering of late, what the attraction is that I have with online discussion groups, forums and the like.
I get the feeling it stems from boredom, given what I do for a crust is intensely monotonous and allows me 9-5 access to the ‘net, so it’s a matter of filling in the time between infrequent periods of frantic activity. What better way can there be to fill in time than broadening one’s perspectives through intellectual interaction with like minds? Would but that were the case. Let me be brutally honest. This is the internet I’m on about and intelligence among the average discussion forum inhabitants is measured by the square root of age plus shoe size. Occasionally, and that’s VERY occasionally, one can stumble across a place where opinions can be expressed without virtual faecal matter being poured on that opinion from a great height. Such places are rare.
What aren’t rare, in fact proliferate across the ‘sphere, are what I call playgrounds. Ideological playgrounds where the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ congregate to engage in textual jousts centred on one-upmanship, expressions of racist attitudes, religious bigotry, hate-speak sessions and virtual penis size competitions. The favourite joust currently, and seems to have been since September 11, 2001 and fostered by the ‘war-blogging’ phenomenon, is the anti-Muslim tilt. "Islam is a backward, anarchic religion and should be modernised to conform with christianity" and "every Muslim is a potential bomb-carrying terrorist" being the popular opinion pieces. Principally, incitements offered by rabid right-wing froot-loops deliberately to attract their anti-thesis into name-calling, personal abuse and your average internet version of ‘I’m better than you because you chickened out’. The online version of schoolyard Nyah-Nyah cat calling.
I think the attraction for such idiocy to me is taking apart the so-called arguments behind the facile lunacy and showing it up for what it truly is. Genuine sookery always results. Job done, satisfaction gained and…..time filled in. One does what one needs to in order to get through the day.