Even though I am very nearly illiterate when it comes to technology, I spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet—an hour or more every day. Yes: checking email and facebook, but I also regularly check out featured news items on Bing and msn.
Invariably, I find myself drawn to reading the “comments” sections following these stories. Don’t ask me why. I know these are offered up largely by people who spend more time at their computers sharing their opinions than they have ever thought to spend in researching data on which to form those opinions! They appear to be mostly people whose sources of information are TV sound bites and Twitter messages.
The comments—even from those labeled as “Top Commentators”—are superficial, offering up little in the way of substantive, verifiable information. And they often consist of little more than labeling other commentators as “conservative” or “liberal”—both pejorative terms in cyber commentary! (Often couched in such original and clever terms as “repuke” or “libtard.”) Everyone is entitled to have opinions—and apparently equally entitled to broadcast them ad nauseam no matter how inane.
Many comments are downright mean: mean-spirited and resorting to crude name-calling (as above). One must acknowledge a degree of cleverness as writers seek to convey such brilliant epithets as f-ing this or f-ing that and the unique ways they devise to refer to each other in terms of the anal orifice. Far less amusing is the “cleverness” of thinly disguised racist comments.
Anyone with a small degree of education must be appalled at the multitude of errors in simple sentence construction, especially spelling! Don’t these folks proofread at all before hitting the “send” key?
A classic example that illustrates all these objections appears quite frequently: “Your stupid.” Never mind the confusion of your and you’re. Such writers, hiding in the anonymity of the internet, label other writers as “stupid” when one assumes the commentator means to object to the content of an idea or an opinion expressed in an earlier entry. Name-calling. Nonny-nonny-na-na.
So why do we (I) bother reading these comments? I don’t know. Maybe it’s like slowing down to gawk at an accident. . . .