2 Oct

computer photo: computer mypc.jpgMy gosh, the Internet has given the quiet and muted amongst us a voice we never had before!

Think of it. Back in the days before silicon chips ruled our world we had precious few avenues that me might explore if we had an opinion that needed spreading.

We could write to the papers, and occasionally the editors would choose to publish our words – after the hacks had checked them for grammar and spelling and edited them down in the interests of filling a particular space until they no longer looked or sounded very much like our own words. Not always very good and always unreliable.

Or we could go down to the pub and sound off and maybe get listened to by half a dozen half-sloshed fellow drinkers. That’s okay if you want to get through to inebriates with little interest in sensible ideas but useless if you want to expand on something dear to you. And the landlord would scowl if you introduced religion or politics into your debate. He knew which subjects were likely to generate too much heat when mixed with alcohol!

And that would be about your lot. Your ideas mostly stayed firmly in your head and passed unheard and unremarked by your nearest and dearest until the day your died when someone might whisper something like “well, she was a veggie, you know”…

Until, that is, the Internet breezed into our lives.

Blogs were started. An apparently bottomless repository for our ideas was found on clouds somewhere, and we could do what we liked with so much space it still makes the mind boggle.

And that’s when things started to go wrong.

We all have beliefs. Of a sort. Like how we should rule our lives, if it’s wrong to use other species as food (as if they didn’t and we were the only guilty creatures under the sun), which god, if any, we should affiliate our names to, whether Margaret Thatcher was a force for good or for ill and whether it was a wicked waste of public funds to provide her dead flesh with a state funeral when there are men, women and children going hungry. And other things that clog our brains up.

And we saturate our new tool with the stuff. We want to recruit like-minded souls to our cause and if they won’t be converted we become angry in much the same way as followers of this or that god or prophet become angry when their preaching is ignored.

Then it crosses our minds that repetition’s a good thing. Say the same things so often that we become blue in the face, rather like shouting in slurred tones in the tap-room of the Mail and Clinker on the corner of the next street. And if someone else says something that’s along the same general lines pinch it and repeat it (share or repost, what’s in a name?) until the Internet’s rotten with it. Then when your words dry up, slip back and re-post something that you wrote a decade ago. Force it down the bastards’ throats!

Make this fascinating tool into a weapon and attack those who disagree with you until they can’t take any more. Wage war like it was never waged before only instead of being a war with blood and death make it a war of ever more vicious words.

After all, your ideas are what’s important, aren’t they? You’re right and everyone who can’t see your point is wrong, and if they’re wrong you don’t want to know them, do you? You have no intention of letting scum like that into your select band of friends, have you?

And it’s fun. Here we are, loosing rounds of verbal bile at … at who?

Not those who need enlightening because you’ve driven them away to seek new friends with less bitterness and more open-mindedness. Not those who might one day see the light because, until then, they’ve become bored and shut you out of their worlds like thickies do.

No, you’re bellowing with full blogging voice at those who bellow the same things at you. You’re a band of like-minded warriors and your enemies have drifted off to spread their messages on literary pastures new. But your clones are there still, cackling at each others’ wisdom.

And on the way you’ve lost any true and independently-minded friends you ever had.

Think on that before you preach again, and brandish your tool of evil!

© Peter Rogerson 02.10.15


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