About fifteen years ago the internet really began to take off. Coincidentally or not, it's also about the time you can date the breakdown of society. Follow me.
Before Prodigy and AOL began sending every household in America approximately 15-20 free internet discs a day, most Americans either didn't pay too much attention to the news, or simply read their local paper, watched the nightly news, and maybe subscribed to Time or Newsweek. You might not have completely agreed with what you read or saw, but it didn't necessarily control your life and dictate your worldview.
As the internet bloomed, people started questioning the sources they received their news from. Once it became easier to pick and choose which news you could ignore, or believe, the definition of reality became distorted. It didn't help that, for whatever reason, a large percentage of Americans at the time the internet exploded in popularity didn't particularly like the then-sitting president, and his penchant for finding new uses for cigars.
What would have been, just two decades prior, something that might cause a fight in a bar occasionally, or cause a neighbor to decline an invitation to some social event, all of a sudden became cause to despise. And with the birth of a medium where you didn't have to actually back up your words with courage and could spout hate and bile in anonymity, society began to decay.
You see this today on just about any website that posts news information. For whatever, reason, almost every single website feels the need to provide reader comment sections. What used to be accomplished by sitting down, typing up some sort of letter, and actually dropping it in the mail for possible publication to the local community can now be done in roughly 2.3 seconds, behind a screen name.
So instead of somewhat rationally laying out why you are opposed to a new tax increase for local schools, people are free to spout garbage, such as "be honest about Islam and call it what it is, a gutter satanic cult of hateful murderous morons...we do not need mooslims (or homos either) in the military or ANYWHERE in this country" (you can find this comment at the end of this story). Or something slightly more enlightened, like "OBAMA will get what he wants SENIORS DEAD" (found somewhat deep in the comment section, posted by someone with the handle Yankee, found here).
Besides the egregious grammar and cavalier disregard for the rules of spelling, these comment sections allow people the chance to do nothing more than vent their frustration. I didn't even look at the comments on YouTube, which are notoriously racist and generally have nothing to do with the video in question.
There's just no point to this stuff. How much time is wasted reading and posting comments to these stories? Most importantly, nobody cares what someone calling themselves BroEli thinks about something. How could you, you don't even know who that person is.
I enjoy reading letters to the editor in the weekend edition of the paper. Even if I disagree with the letter, at least it's been somewhat vetted. These comment sections on news stories on the internet are free-for-alls, and they terrify me.
I mean, did people really not pay that much attention to grammar in the seventh grade?
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