Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Watch Your Step

I recently read a book about the decreasing practice of politeness in our culture. Somehow I managed to not remember to record it in my reading log, so I don't remember the title or author! However she made numerous points that stick in my head and make it shake in dismay. Recently I wandered through some blogs looking for something that I eventually found, but was saddened on the way by the language and in-your-face hostility that a number of sites sported. The attitude was basically, "I can say what I want, make any claim I feel like regardless if I can back it up with hard facts, and if you don't like it, stuff it you know where." The internet provides an open forum where people can shoot off their mouth in relative anonymity and comfort, making targets of whomever they feel like, and feel no remorse for whatever damage they do to real information, people's reputations, and vulnerable areas in one's self perception. The language and attitudes are below basic decency and respect, and the authors often have no concept of what reasoned thought is. One may argue that if you can't take it, don't participate. It might sound like a cowardly course to take, but I say not so. We are not obligated to wrestle with every wild animal we cross. Most sensible, wary people give them a wide berth and are not thought any the less for a hasty "good day" and even hastier retreat from a puma we meet while walking unarmed in the mountains. Large portions of humanity seem to be dropping down below bestiality, and are more dangerous than a hungry cougar who is only doing is very best to survive. The cougar is only a dumb beast; the human "beast" is a rational savage whose intelligence has been made subservient to a self-serving ego. I can and do choose not to engage in discussions with people who choose the low road, which tends to lead through swampy, smelly areas. Others may want to try their skill at arguing with these kind of people, but the general response is not a reasoned rebuttal but a vitriolic mud-slinging intended to wither the recipient into silence. Your best weapon, the light of reason, has been thwarted by a darkened mind. So if you decide to try that route, watch your step. Manure happens.


J-chan said...

Could the book perhaps have been "Talk to the Hand," by Lynne Truss? She's the author of "Eats, Shoots and Leaves," and has a biting sense of humor.

Lisa said...

Yes! Thank you so much. In fact, I just got done reading "Eats, Shoots and Leaves."