The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Il Buono

This week I had a reminder of how incredible the Internet can be. Back in college I spent a lot of time hanging out with a good friend (and drinking beer!). Back then people weren’t connected constantly though. There were very few cellphones, email was pretty new and, as happened back then, our lives moved on and we lost track of each other and fell out of contact. I’ve looked online for my old friend several times with no luck. But it was just a question of looking in the right place and this week I did!

It took twenty years to find each other again and yet in a matter of hours we’d exchanged emails, photographs, done a video chat and a lot of catching up, even though we now live on different continents. It’s amazing how technology helps so much in making that communication possible and accessible. It really does break down barriers that not very long ago were almost insurmountable.

Il Brutto

Of course with any advance there’s a down side and that’s definitely true with the Internet. The same technology that makes it easy for me and my buddy to catch up also brings with it a barrage of vacuous, puerile nonsense. Many are so addicted to “social media” that they spend literally hours posting nothing but status updates, all basically saying “Look at me, look at me.”

It’s emphasized even more the difference between the have’s and the have not’s. Those with the technology and the wealth can just sit around and parade themselves to satisfy some bizarre narcissistic fetish. Strutting like Peacocks as they show everybody how much they have and how “wonderful” they are, while the rest are supposed to fan this egotism and endlessly “like” them.

And then there’s the polarization that seems to thrive on the internet. You know what I’m talking about–everyone’s entitled to their opinion… until they disagree with you. Once that happens, people on the “other” side demonize anyone who dares to disagree, or even just question whatever subject is being discussed.

Il Cattivo

And this is where things start to get really ugly. The same technology that allows instant communication can also be subverted and manipulated for many reasons that aren’t even approaching “good.” Now children can be hounded by bullies all day and night, unseen predators can groom them and lure them into all manner of terrible acts. Then we have the people who hide behind the remoteness and virtual anonymity of the Internet, who publicly call for those they perceive to have “wronged” them to be violated and physically attacked. Such as the events in the “gamergate” controversy. When you start openly calling for someone to be injured, raped or killed, then you have crossed the line and are certifiably batshit crazy.

It doesn’t matter what the victim has done (or is supposed to have done), nothing justifies these public calls for attacks. I think even Tuco would agree with that.

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