“It is impossible to see a fault in someone else if you don’t have it in yourself.” -Anonymous
I’ve been thinking about the amazing amount of kvetching going on in social media and especially twitter. I’ve participated in a certain amount of it as well, as chronicled in blog posts such as This is the World of Science Fiction and WorldCon?, Part 2: This is the World of Science Fiction and WorldCon?, and Here We Go Again: Comicsgate. In the last comment I made in the last blog post listed, I decided to take the moral high road and not participate in such spitting contests and the measuring of each other’s male genitalia. However, I came across something interesting.
Okay, I get it. People are mean to each other all over twitter, and someone like Wheaton, who arguably played the most unpopular character in STTNG, and who was once compared with Jar Jar Binks on a closed Science Fiction group in Facebook makes a really big target. Actually, I kind of feel sorry for him as on his blog, he said:
But I still have feelings, and I really do care about the world and the people in it. What I see is a lot of anger and cruelty directed at the IDEA of me, from people who I just hope don’t realize that it really does hurt me, in my heart, to be accused of being someone I am not, and to be the target of a hateful mob.
True, he may be a celebrity, but he’s also a human being and he can be hurt just like the next person.
Of course, there’s his side of the story, but then again there are always two sides to every story (click the link to see the other side).
I said I kind of feel sorry for Wheaton, however, I suspect he created his own problem (and I’ve certainly created a few of my own as well). He also says of himself:
I know that I’m well-off, well-known, and as a CIS white hetro dude in America, I live life on the lowest difficulty setting. I know that I have very little to complain about.
But I don’t deserve to be treated so terribly by so many random people, so I’m not going to put myself in a place where I am subjected to it all day long. As the saying goes, I’m too old for this shit. What we used to call microblogging isn’t worth the headache for me. I’m gonna focus my time and my energy on the things that I love, that make me happy, that support my family.
In the end, twitter and other microblogging platforms aren’t reality, and they don’t have to be a significant part of what influences your life unless you let it (and from what I’ve been reading, a lot of people are letting it)
The quote I began this blog post with and the one at the end are examples of what happens when people choose to let other people hurt them by remote control. That’s right. Twitter and Facebook can’t hurt you unless you let them, and chances are, if you see something bad in someone else, it’s because you see the same badness in yourself. I know that applies to me much of the time, but I have to admit to myself (and to you) that I’m making a choice to be hurt. I can stop it any time I want. That’s free will and being an adult.
I can’t promise I won’t let myself be sucked up in all these “reindeer games” at some point in the near future, but if or when I do, it’s because I asked for it. In a strange sort of way, it’s attention, kind of like when my three-year-old granddaughter slugs her nine-year-old brother, or when my grandson tries to take down his much larger and stronger Dad. We all crave attention. It’s one way to prove to ourselves (and perhaps to others) that we’re significant. After all, we can’t be ignored when we throw shit at someone and prompt them to throw shit back. It’s a crummy kind of significance, but I once heard cartoonist Dan O’Neill (I took a cartooning class from him many decades ago) say, “A cheap shot is better than no shot at all.”
Maybe he’s right, but it’s still a cheap shot and you get what you pay for.
Consider though, the next time you get angry and spout off on your own blog, twitter, or some other online venue, the quote I’m ending my wee missive with:
“Anger is never about the infractions of another, but rather the perceived injustice to oneself.” -Anonymous
Oh, and shut up, Wesley.