Friday, June 12, 2015

The American Rage Machine

Atlanta, GA - It used to be when someone got mad about something they heard in the news, they would blurt out their throughly uninformed opinions at the screen, or maybe anyone else who was around and would listen.

We don’t know what is going on. Even in depth reading of the news normally takes a long time to give us a comprehensive understanding the facts of a situation,  and even longer for us to have an informed opinion on it. But of course, waiting till you actually know what on earth is going on before you spout out about it has fallen out of practice with the advent of the greatest misinformer in history since the disappearance of the oracle of Delphi-the internet. And more specifically, the American Rage Machine…Twitter.
Who knew that a venue which only allows 140 characters could lead to misinformation? Twitter is so full of hate, that even the president of the United States has been publicly advised to “get cancer” on there.
That guy that used to be in front of the screen screaming his head off is now on Twitter, with all of that uninformed rage, screaming all sorts of things. Of course, it’s not just Twitter, the entire internet, while an amazing tool, is full of this stuff. But Twitter above all, with its small amount of space, which in itself basically precludes sound, reason arguments, seems to be the place where all of the angry, enraged people whose favorite character died on a show last week or their favorite congressman just did something they didn’t like go to scream at the top of their lungs.
People are told to die on Twitter, and so many curse words are used in arguments I can’t even show screen grabs here. Comedian Bill Maher was told to “die in a fire,” Miss America has been called a member of ISIS, and an Arab, (she's from India) Jonah Hill was told to kill himself, “you unfunny fat piece of trash…die, die, die” Seriously people? What pills must people take to get so angry?

Maybe they think it makes them big and strong to scream out obscenities out powerful people behind an often fake name. Like someone who wears a mask and runs around town lighting fires. I doubt most of these people would ever say the things they say on the internet to someone in person. I guess that's a good thing.

Nobody is going to be connived by these arguments. You probably already knew that. People don't change their opinion because someone uses a racial slur against them or scream, (it happens all the time) "you disgusting idiot, Liberal, go kill yourself!"
Of course, not everyone on Twitter is bad, and there are certainly some who do their level best to be reasoned and informed, but when you don’t even have to use your own name, and when your screaming rant carries just as much weight as anybody else’s screaming rant, well, it becomes all too easy to lose your mind.
People often say that American’s should get a government that is as good as them. If that were true, the government of the average American Twitter user would not look like our often boring but highly dignified senate, it would look like this:

Political argument is important, and so is free speech. But you shouldn’t use it to scream stupid on a crowded internet. And Twitter isn’t, by definition, a place where serious political argument should be done at all, unless you’re willing to send about a thousand tweets in a row.
The Rage Machine is huge, and it crucifies people constantly with a steady stream of misinformation and confusion. Last year, comedian Steven Colbert almost lost his show when the hash tag #cancelColbert began trending because of a false rumor about him that started on Twitter.  Baseball used to be our National Pastime. I think now our National Pastime is rage. We should just stop. After all, tweeting is for the birds.

Andrew C. Abbott

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