Monday, December 6, 2010

People Behaving Badly

Watch out, rant ahoy!

The holiday season is upon us. Which means a lot of people are out and about in the streets in pursuit of presents. Which also means that most wonderful phenomenon, road rage, will rear its ugly head in greater number.

Road rage, we’ve all be there. Either as the one raging, or the one feeling the love.

Last year, while shopping at Target, I was driving down the exit ramp when, what had to be an eighty-year-old woman, barrels out of nowhere and almost smashes into to me. I stop, honk to alert her of my presence and for my effort get an obscene finger gesture –from the eighty-year-old grandma with spun sugar hair and half-moon glasses. Frankly, it was just a shock to know that her knobby middle finger could lift that straight. But enough was enough. I rolled down my window and asked, “Sorry, could you repeat that?”

Can you guess what happened?

She recoiled as if I’d brandished a gun and shot down the ramp like a bat out of hell.

Why? Because as we all know, people like to think they are insulated in their cars. That they can do, say whatever they want to their fellow drivers because they don’t really have to face them. Hence, road rage.

And it’s sad.

But what’s getting sadder is that road rage has oozed onto the internet.

I troll many blogs in my morning procrastination routine. I love reading them, reading the comments, making comments. But really, enough already, people!

More and more, I see little clicks forming on large blogs. If a person dares make a dissenting comment the pack will take them down like a lamb to the wolves. The thing is, some of these marauded commenters ARE acting like asses. They DO say silly things. But is it any better when people retaliate with vitriol? Act the snide jerk?

Really, I try to imagine these conversations going on at a cocktail party and just can’t. People just don’t do that face to face. Politeness is pretty much ingrained into us that even if we don’t agree with a person we make an effort to state our case with civility. Why are we forgetting that behavior online?

Then there is the situation in which a person actually does behave reprehensively. And yes, they SHOULD be called out on it. But again, the “internet,” which here means that snarling beast of the masses, descends on the person with such viciousness the response becomes akin to a public stoning.

I’m all for debate. I think we should be free with our opinion and free to disagree with people. And I’m certainly not one to moralize -well, not much (g). But I do wish that we’d all try to remember one thing: whatever you say on the internet, or in your car, should be something you are willing to say to a person’s face.

And be honest here. Really think about it when your fingers fly to comment. Would you truly say this to a person’s face? Are you willing to say, “fuck you, you blind fucking idiot!” to the person who accidentally bumps their cart into yours at the grocery store? When you are at that holiday party and Guy A tells you he thinks your favorite cozy mystery is tripe, will you tell him that he is an utter moron and he needs to get a life? Better yet, IF Dan Brown happened to stop by said party, would you have the chutzpah to tell him you think he's a crap writer who just got lucky? (assuming you actually think that. (g))

Somehow I don’t think you will. And somehow, I think that if you DID, people would be looking on in horror, not jumping on the bandwagon.

Okay, rant over. :)


  1. Amen, Sister!!!

    There are times when I want to say, (in various forums & groups) "Let's play nice in the sandbox!" or "Put on your big kid pants & try again."

    But some of the posters can't read, much less write coherently.

  2. Great post! Did you write this after reading the Michael Grant snark debacle? That whole thing made me feel ill. And I'm terrified to go to the shops and do my xmas shopping, I haven't started yet (eeek) and the longer I leave it the more mental it's going to be. I wish I'd been more prepared this year :-(

  3. Thanks, Sarah. :)

    Sadly this is true, Skittles.

    Mumma... I missed the Michael Grant debacle. What was that all about. As for this post, I was thinking about a certain food editor who lifted a blog post for her online mag. And a certain agent that wanted others to write hateful haikus as an ode to a moronic query reject. Obviously this stuff goes on way too much out there.

  4. Yeah I saw that online food mag thing, and found her defence hilarious - 'you should be happy we took your second rate article and edited it into the excellent article it is now' - what a nutcase! I didn't see the hateful haikus thing but that sounds awful. The Michael Grant thing was on a book review blog, the blogger had said that she could see why the book in question would be popular, but that she was uncomfortable with the content so it wasn't the book for her, and explained why. Then some other people had a bit to say about that, and Michael Grant and another commenter got very snarky with each other and it descended into MG coming across like an arrogant jerk and the other commenter being a snarky mcsnark-snark. It's actually quite funny but awful at the same time :-)

  5. Argh, what about trying to walk down a sidewalk furrow between snowbanks and the slowpoke in front of you won't &^*&^ move!
    Me? Grumble?
    Ah, I'll just get some more coffee :-)