Insulting people on the internet

July 28, 2010 in Culture Links, Internet, Latest Updates by Data Migration

Some people go on the internet to insult people. The evidence is overwhelming. But why? The standard explanation is that insults are shot into cyberspace, to appear on Facebook, Twitter, the comments sections of online newspapers, forums etc., by pustular 13 yr old boys from Cut and Shoot, Texas.

Cut and Shoot, Texas

The fall back explanation is to admit they're grown men and to insult them back, claiming they're inadequate in the trouser department, hence the impotent rage projected online.

But that explanation risks boomeranging on the victim. Doesn't he, also, become a cyber-abuser by flinging insults back and must, consequently, be as trouser-challenged as the original abuser?

Hmmm. These social media conundrums, paradoxes and bear-traps are challenging.

There's a third analysis. Some people deserve to be insulted on the internet. The abuser is behaving rationally. He's doing what we'd all like to do in real life but can't for various reasons: the wife would divorce us, we'd be arrested for breach of the peace, we'd be shot.

Of course that doesn't excuse illegal or libellous online conduct. Or attacking juveniles or the mentally infirm. But when, say, you 'meet' a white supremacist, a Muslim-hater, or a Karl Rove supporter on the internet, surely it's unreasonable to be all lovey-dovey?

Computer Nerd