Thursday, July 26, 2012
THE HATER GENERATION
Shortly after someone on YouTube uploaded the episode of The Biography Channel's My Ghost Story which James and I appeared in, a slew of negative comments flooded in. Orbs are always an easy target because oftentimes they are dust, dirt, insects, etc, but these trollers went after our EVPs and a lot of the ectoplasmic mists we captured on our investigation. We got off pretty light, but the others in the episode didn't fare so well. It happens everywhere, these not only negative but extremely hateful comments, and it seems to have reached a zenith of some sort. Once I began to see the same kind of comments on my Facebook page, I felt the need to attack such hate by stepping back and looking at the larger picture. My journal about this phenomena became a quick post on my page, then snowballed into a full-fledged blog ( wow, two in one week )! I'm sure many of my readers will relate, and I hope that hundreds of gnarled little troll fingers will find their way to this article, where perhaps they will refrain from their OCD-like need to spread their own specific brand of "H8". So, here is that original post:
Folks, just a quick word here, my own trending topic, about something I've been witnessing of late. Anyone who reads the comments left under YouTube videos will know what I'm talking about. Some refer to it as trolling. That is an offense to trolls everywhere. I call them the Hater Generation, and noticed many of them have migrated to Facebook, where they continue to spread pandemics of hate, general negativity and bad grammar. I mean, if you're going to slander an individual, movie or cause, at least make an attempt to use Spell Check. That way it'll appear that through the use of proper spelling and sentence structure your opinions may actually have some value, instead of appearing you're simply eight and hacking away at a Speak & Spell.
When I was eight I didn't have an iPad, smartphone or GPS capability. The only social media was called a playground and if you offended someone you were smacked in the face in real-time. There was none of this instant information from across the globe business in which you could disempower someone with glee from the safety of the virtual world inbetween shots of Pixy Stix. There was no Wikipedia. There was RESPECT. I have read so many horrendous things from these haters who apparently have absolutely nothing going for them ( certainly no spelling bee prizes ) that they feel the need to fill this void with the harrassment of total strangers. Whether it's their remarks concerning Christian Bale coming to visit the victims of a shooting, the president speaking at a memorial, a wildfire ravaging our forests, or even an innocent SpiritChasers video clip of a purported ghost - there they are, in full attendance, from one-word insults:
"FAKE!" "FAIL" "( Insert Racial Slur )!" "MEH..."
To almost comprehensible sentences:
"U R F#@£ING GAY!!!"
And so on... You've seen them. You know them. Will nothing brighten up their day? I don't know where they come from, but it surprises and unsettles me that now on Facebook they are no longer able to post comments from the comfort of anonimity. What's worse, they seem to feel a sort of pride in their behavior, and if you click on their profile, you, too, will see with horror their dull eyes and smiling faces in their aquisition of cheap photoshopping apps which they believe will ordain them with some cosmetic level of celebrity. But, one cannot photoshop ignorance, kids. The same goes for bigotry, homophobia, etc. ( Sorry )! No matter which lighting filter you've programmed your app to give yourself a flawlessly soft complexion while you're turning your head just so, a troll is a still troll. And trolls are UG-LEEEEE!
Yet how did this begin? Who or what created these illiterate little Gloomy Guses and Sour Sallys? Was it when South Park went into syndication? Are they staying up late enough to watch Robot Chicken on Adult Swim, taking notes by the glow of their Droid? Is it all the Family Guy, or any of the other offensively popular comedies conditioning them to laugh at the disabled, desperate or just plain different? ( And how did these television programs become such phenomenons in the first place, blending genuine hilarity with the utterly distasteful? It's still at the height of it's fad in an age when we were supposed to be piloting flying cars by now, living as more enlightened beings in utopian societies )!
So would it be Desensitization? ( There's another D word, for anyone keeping score ). And yet I grew up in daily fear of a nuclear holocaust, watched The Challenger explode on the news, witnessed some pretty horrific plane crashes, assassinations, avoided supposed poison and razor-filled Halloween candy, escaped the satanic cults preying on role-playing gamers, lived through a planetary alignment that was supposed to kickstart the end of the world, saw the handiwork of serial killers and the abductions of children. Frightening times, yes, but not desensitizing to such a degree that I would be propelled to fold messages of evil into those origami fortune-telling games and leave them on the desks of my classmates.
As you may have read, the website Rotten Tomatoes recently suspended their comment system altogether after a mountain of threats and hate speeches with a lengthly explanation entitled: "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things". Just a month prior, the Erasure Information Service website was forced to permanently close their message boards because, once again, some people couldn't play nice. I myself simply can't wait for those virtual reality suits which transmit sensation so the next time a trolling trollup declares that the images captured by The SpiritChasers are no more than car exhaust I can power up my VR and slap the shit out of them.
It all really comes down to a bit of terrorism, albeit on a different scale. Like the old conspiracy regarding a certain filmmaker who was said to be releasing movies in order to drive people in other countries mad. No viewers of his popular films could ever possibly live up to such unrealisticly high standards of happiness and perpetual joy compared to their own vacant, vapid lives. Same here. Flood the comment systems of all social media far and wide with the crude, the crass, the inhuman, the illegible. Squeeze every last bit of hope and pride from your fellow men and women by bludgeoning any compliment or positive remark as viscerally as possible with an ungrammatical black hammer shaped in the tongues of demons. Is it entirely possible that many of these young trolls are expected to post such hatred by their "churches" ( the Westboro Baptists? ), by anti-American groups overseas ( or within our country ), by the "People Of Walmart" ( who would spell just as well as they dress? ), or by some other shadowy organization crushing, clutching at the heart of our way of life and all we hold dear? What, without any provocation, would cause an "internut" to inform someone they've never met that they suck?
Yesterday, in response to a video game I favored, an unidentified man wrote, "No. Just, no." Really? Are people still writing that? That comment went out with spray-tanning your children. And just like making your child look like an Oompa Loompa in a family portrait, trolling only serves to embarrass its facilitators, as embarrassments to humanity. Yes, haters, please show us how far down the evolutionary scale you'll continue to slither. Such creatures end up extinct, you know. You're only giving away your hand, revealing a spread of ignorance, one that no one of any intelligence and dignity would care to deal. And, just as one of my bumper stickers proclaims: "KARMA: It's everywhere you're going to be," in moments of their own intense troll despair, when a simple word can be the straw that broke the camels back, they should not expect the vocalization of kindness, human decency and grace when all they left for others was negativity. I don't know how this began, or how it will end, but the last time I dropped an f-bomb in my youth I was forced to suck on a bar of soap for half an hour by a mother who understood the power of words and the transformative agents of dignity and respect. When you're not working to heal a situation, you become the scar, host to a festering wound, a toxic language akin to a virus, communicable through the mouths of trolls, their generation of hate dissing, deevolving, moving toward extinction.
Just food for thought, kids.
My name is Christopher Allen Brewer, and my motto is RESPECT ( you gotta give it to get it back ).
( And my favorite app is the "Photo FX" multi-filter photoshopper - available on iTunes ).
- Christopher Allen Brewer, July 2012