Online Commentary and the Apparent End of Human Decency

So as a young person, I spend 90% of my free time on my computer reading the news, blogging, Facebooking, and watching videos on Youtube and Hulu. I also read the comment sections to read the feedback that posted material is getting from users and I almost always end up losing a little bit of faith in humanity and our capacity to be reasonable and decent to one another.

Youtube is the most notorious for comment indecency. You can look at any music video for any popular artists and for every positive or rational comment, there are at least 100 defamatory, profanity-ridden, hate rants insulting the artist or people who just may like them. Popular feuds on Youtube are Christina vs. Gaga, BeyoncĂ© vs. Ashanti, and on and on and on. Some users will even make a handle like “beyonceadumbslut666” just for the sole purpose of visiting all of her videos and insult her.

And it isn’t only just music videos. Videos with a constructive purpose like the It Gets Better video found here is followed by tons of anti-gay hate speech. Now I don’t expect everyone to agree or be tolerant, but why would you go on a video that is suppose to be comforting and uplifting and really is targeting anyone who has ever been bullied or is being bullied and then take away from the positive vibe with inappropriate comments?

It gets more disheartening when you see hundreds of these appropriate comments and any feeling of advancement or progression for mankind is squashed, at least for me it is.

But then I remember, that though 200 or 2,000 hateful users seems like an insurmountable number, in a larger context, it really is insignificant and doesn’t reflect the majority. There are about 310.5 million people in this country, not all of which go on Youtube or read the paper online. Then even out of all the users who do, the good majority don’t even comment and are otherwise indifferent.

It’s like what Jon Stewart said when he was on Oprah (watch the segment here) that most normal, moderate, rational, and decent Americans are too busy living in the real world to go sit on the computer and insult people they don’t know and will never meet anonymously. It’s also true that the people with the most extreme views will put more effort into having their view heard than those who are more in the middle. (I’ll discuss maybe in another post the problem presented by both the extreme right and left).

So for those of you, who like me, feel that there is no hope for humanity when you read the comments under your favorite Ke$ha video (I don’t really like her BTW, but I don’t comment on her videos either) remember that all of those haters probably don’t have anything better to do with themselves and don’t represent the rest of mankind.

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One Response to Online Commentary and the Apparent End of Human Decency

  1. This is why I hate reading the news on Yahoo! People are just… ugh. There are no words for it. Also the “We Didn’t Start the Flame War” video from College Humor is still funny. http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1907543 Glad you’re blogging!

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