Internet habits

There’s no question that the Internet has changed us. We’re much braver from behind our keyboards, challenging one another in sometimes contentious ways, relishing in the anonymity the Internet provides. While we would never barge into someone’s living room – even if the front door is open – put our feet on the furniture, light up a cigarette, and proceed to berate the homeowner about their social/political/religious views, we are certainly brave keyboard warriors when it comes to barging into someone’s website, criticizing their views, and even threatening and showering them with invective. No problem. No one will find us, right?

While in our real lives and jobs we would be circumspect about how we analyze information, ensuring that our product is of the highest quality – whatever our job may be. On the Internet, we don’t care. We share clickbait. We fail to analyze. We believe every report – even the most questionable ones – as long as they confirm our biases. We don’t mind losing our shit over said reports. Going unhinged on social media has become the norm – without so much as a fact check.

While in our real jobs we would never use political memes as part of any presentation (unless the presentation is about political memes, of course), these days, we seem to get the majority of our information from these irritating, many times badly-written, shittily-researched graphics.

The other day, some random shit weasel sent me a message request on Facebook, which I immediately deleted. In said message, he derped something about me upsetting his friends (we had no friends in common – I checked), and how I’m a “terrible person,” who should tickle his taint or something. He appeared to be a sub-millennial douche flake with a badly-groomed, patchy wannabe beard and a snively, pussy hat wearing demeanor.  Would we ever say something like this to a living, breathing stranger, who was standing in front of us? Probably not.

The message didn’t upset me, mind you. I chuckled and deleted it, as any intelligent person would. But it does point out some interesting trends I see, as I travel the World Wide Web of Stupid. In addition to the increased boldness and visceral reactions above, I’ve noted a few other things that I either observe with dispassionate interest, or am disgusted by on a regular basis.

One is failure to read. Whether it’s sharing dated news stories and failing to identify them as old, or sharing a new story based on what often is a misleading title, this particular habit makes me crazy! Knowing how quickly things can propagate via social media, one shared old news story can quickly turn into 500 or more. That’s how celebrity death stories from 2012 continue to dominate our social media feeds. And if you’re going to share 5-year-old news stories, at least let us know it’s old news and why you see it fit to share it now, so you don’t look like a fucking moron for derping over old news.

And speaking of fucking… Has anyone noticed this weird tendency to criticize people’s language? I can’t tell you how many pedantic assholes have come over here gently chiding me for my language, or outright discounting facts, because they were offended by a bad word! I have provided plenty of warning about my use of invective on this site, and the bottom line is I don’t give a rollerblading fuck about your delicate sensibilities. If you can’t get over a couple of appropriately placed F-bombs in order to read an otherwise factual blog post, I cordially invite you to fuck a rabid hedgehog and to not allow the virtual door hit you in your virtual hedgehog-sodomizing arse.

Knee-jerking seems to happen a lot more often on the Internet than it does in real life. Am I crazy? I’ve been guilty of this myself. I read something without actually READING it, and I go into DERP! mode, immediately wanting to blast it out to an email distro or my social media contacts. There have been several instances where I’ve had to physically pull away from my computer to prevent myself from hitting the “send” button. Stopping and thinking seems to be out of style these days, because it is so easy to press that “send” button! It’s easy to hit the “share” button; I mean they’re provided in nearly every news site, blog, or information site, convenient for sharing. What isn’t convenient is stepping back and examining with a critical eye what you’re about to send. Would we do that in real life? Would we stick a letter that contains false information in an envelope, and drop it in the mail? Probably not. Convenience and our desire for quick gratification is breeding a whole lot of rude, false, misleading, and outrageous information being pushed out into society without thought.

I also think we’re getting quite inured to horror and bloodshed. This conditioning is breeding callous indifference to others’ suffering. I’ve noticed this trend is on the rise in the past several years. I remember in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, a friend on the left making a comment about hoping that it was a white Christian, rather than a Muslim, so Muslims don’t get painted with that broad terrorist brush. I also see gleeful references to Muslim terrorism in the wake of any incident, as if my friends on the right are rubbing their hands in malicious glee, awaiting the inevitable “Islamic terrorist attacks” narrative. You know what’s ultimately missing? Kind thoughts about the victims. Horrified reactions about the deaths of innocent people. There was an attack in London today. I shared the latest story I could find on this topic – a story that changes as more information becomes available – and most reactions were political. They weren’t kind. They didn’t hold victims in their thoughts or prayers, even. They were just cold.

“Oh, they’re making it sound like the assailant had a gun! Guns are banned in Britain!”

“Oh, they banned guns in Britain, so now terrorists use cars and knives.”

“Oh, must be another attack by the disgruntled Amish.”

“Oh, they’re trying to hide the fact that he was Muslim.”

I consider myself quite a bitch, and there are few out there who are more dedicated to our gun rights and our national security than I am, but my first thought when an incident occurs is never, “Oh, I bet it was a Muslim, because POLITICS!” or “Look at the attack in a gun-free zone!”

My first thought is always, “I really hope everyone is OK.” And I’m not saying this to paint myself as some kind of concern troll. I’m saying this because I’m genuinely baffled at the fact that we’re so conditioned to immediately glom onto anything that provides confirmation bias to our political beliefs

For the record, if anyone gives a shit, one person is reported dead, and at least 10 people were injured. British authorities are treating this as a terrorist attack, which, by the way, occurred on the first anniversary of the terrorist bombings in Brussels that killed 32 people.

This callousness bothers me more than most other annoying Internet habits. It’s a complete disregard for the human experience. It’s indifference to the suffering of innocents. It’s cruel. No matter how much bloodshed we see, our first reaction is to wonder whether or not this incident comports with our political views. It’s on our screens, and even though those screens show unspeakable horrors, we are no longer bothered by them, because we’re so far removed and the information is so readily available, that we merely observe detached as bloodied victims and terrified families start to process their grief.

I don’t say this to shame my friends or to elicit some type of reaction I would feel appropriate in situations such as these. I say this as a not-so-detached observer, because having grown up without an Internet, I’m seeing stark differences in how people react to what goes around them.

The Internet, as anything else, brings with it both good and bad. It’s quick. It’s convenient. It can keep us informed. It can bring us vital news in the blink of an eye. We can do research, watch movies, watch cat videos, or write a blog.

But in this deluge of information and entertainment, I wonder if we’re forgetting basic customs, courtesies, and human decency.

Just some food for thought.


38 responses

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard | Reply

    I saw a cartoon recently that had this smaller kid standing in front of a larger kid.

    The caption went (roughly) “Steve forgot he wasn’t on the internet”.

    IE The smaller kid said something to seriously annoy the larger kid. 😦

    On the other hand, I hear and agree with you thinking that caring for the victims of tragedies is better than “making political points”.

    On the gripping hand, it can be hard to take the high road when the “other side” has taken the low road for so long. IE the “Other Side” always uses tragedies to attack “us”.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. “While we would never barge into someone’s living room – even if the front door is open – put our feet on the furniture, light up a cigarette, and proceed to berate the homeowner about their social/political/religious views, we are certainly brave keyboard warriors when it comes to barging into someone’s website, criticizing their views, and even threatening and showering them with invective.”

    The internet has really done something to us. I was roommates with someone for a decent period of time (over a year). I thought we were good friends, in general, based on her actions towards me; she would smile and make a joke with me when I walked into the room, invite me to do TV show marathons with her, agree with me when I said something, etc. When I had the misfortune of stumbling upon her Tumblr page, what I saw shocked me—severe invective (i.e. “you goddamn cunt”), threats of violence, all kinds of stuff. To say I was flummoxed would be an understatement. I usually read people really well but I literally did not see that coming; the internet and its ability to shield people literally can lead to a Jekyll and Hyde syndrome with some people (although I’ve heard the same thing about traffic, that people are much ruder behind the wheel of a car). Then again, I guess a lot of people don’t let loose like this in person because they tend to shy away from jail time.

    “My first thought is always, “I really hope everyone is OK.” And I’m not saying this to paint myself as some kind of concern troll.”

    So much of these events have escalated in number since 9-11 that as a collective society we’ve almost grown numb to it. I often think, “Those poor victims” followed by “I wonder if me/my family will have the misfortune of being involved in one of these random crazy incidents.” The world has become scary, it almost makes you wonder what kind of world we’re bringing our children into.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that Skywalker has a point – about being numb to the same kind of incidents (large and small) repeated over and over again since 9-11. I almost don’t want to say anything on line about them, because I’ve seen the same reactions over and over and over again. The same prayers for victims, the same fears about (nonexistent) backlash, the same candles and flowers and silent vigils, the same hand-wringing from authorities, the same threats and boasts from the usual suspects. It’s all by the numbers, as if there is some kind of check-list followed. I’m numb, I know.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. At first (9-11, Kobar Towers, etc) it was shocking. Now, it’s almost like, “Sigh. Again?” It’s really too bad. Thoughts float through my head about “Well, maybe it’s safer to put the kids in homeschool so as not to risk being present for the next school shooting…” But then again, we can’t live our lives in a bubble or put it on hold. I try to just place faith in God and hope for the best.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. BillyBob Texas | Reply

    Well, here’s some more food for your thoughts. Yes, we’re all sorry for the victims. OK, what is your NEXT thought? To me – this would appear to be an attack by the Baptists. Why? because the Baptists have done this SAME THING over and over again. And if you read the Baptist’s Bible, it tells them to “stay in your own country and do exactly this act against the non-believers”.

    But I feel badly about my tendency to blame the Baptists…I really do. I sure there are some good ones out there. But there are many Baptist Preachers telling their people to go kill everyone who doesn’t worship John, the original Baptist.

    So…kiss my ass if you think I shouldn’t dislike the Baptists. Until all the other Baptist Preachers STOP preaching this shit – and the other Baptists STOP their own people from dong this stuff…..well, it’ll only get worse….for ALL the Baptists…..and it is THEIR fault. Yes, theirs. Don’t be blaming ME for YOUR Baptist peoples’ actions.

    Makes it REAL easy to dislike the Baptists…….PC be damned…..


    1. I don’t feel badly for my tendency to blame those who are usually responsible. I just wonder about our first reaction not being horror, but rather a gleeful hope that our biases are confirmed. Not a single person – not a one – expressed any kind of sorrow or any feelings at all for the victims. I wonder if it’s not a consequence of the Internet.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BillyBob Texas | Reply

        OK, you are right about that. We should ALL be horrified at this kind of thing. But WHY aren’t we….?


        We are jaded….and LOTS of us are P.O.’d And will NOT be PC about how many peaceful Muslims there are in the world. Hey Muslims: Fix YOUR – YOUR – YOUR problems!!

        I can assure you if Baptist Preachers were doing what YOUR Preachers are doing….the rest of us ‘normal’ Baptists would be hammering their doors down, and throwing their asses out of OUR Churches……..

        WHERE – WHERE is the Muslim outrage about those who – they say – have hijacked their religion? Get OFF YOUR ASS and FIX YOUR problems…..

        Until then……don’t expect ME to fix YOUR problems…WAKE THE F..,.UP!!


        1. I think partially it’s because we’re jaded. But I do think the Internet has changed our very nature. We see horrors happening miles away in real time. We’re isolated from them and we become passionless observers. Nothing left to do at that point but be callous about it, I guess.


        2. Well, Nicki, I sit here reading what I’ve written on this thread – and I AM pissed at the Muslim bullshit in this world. But I also have never face-to-face confronted one by demanding they FIX their own stuff, like I typed. To your point – it’s easy to type – and a little harder to stick my face in the next one I see and DEMAND they fix their problems.

          They should of course…..but do I want to walk up to one and tell them how I feel? No. But I still FEEL that way….just don’t show it. They are just another human being shopping in the same store as I am. But I would also have NO compunction about popping a cap in their ass if they were trying to do what I saw today in London, or elsewhere……


    2. “And if you read the Baptist’s Bible, it tells them to “stay in your own country and do exactly this act against the non-believers”. ”

      Not too familiar with that. When you talk about Baptist, do you mean deep South Penecostal type of outfits? I suppose extremists on all religious fronts are a concern; no one should be exacting “revenge” against another, so to speak, but praying for them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard | Reply

        Replace “Baptist” with “Muslim” in that comment. 😉


      2. BillyBob Texas | Reply

        Hey Sky…….if you think for A MINUTE that there are ‘extremists’ in ANY, ANY religion on this planet that even come within 1% of the EVIL of these SOB’s…..then you just aren’t thinking.

        Don’t EVER compare those people to any other religion fanatics. You might find one or two from other religions – but try to find me a thousand, 10,000, or even a million, like them… won’t.

        For the good of the human race on this planet, they need to be exterminated like the sub-humans they are.


        1. BillyBob,

          What are you talking about? When you say “these SOB’s”, are you talking about Southern Baptists or Muslims now?

          I tried googling “Baptist Bible” (the way you referenced it made it sound like it was different than the regular Bible) and came up with nothing. So I’m not sure to what you’re referring with the Baptist vitriol.


        2. BillyBob Texas

          Sorry, Sky. It was a play on words. And in this example, it is certainly permissible to lambaste the Baptists….but to say anything about that other “peaceful Religion” could get my head cut off……….

          So, I was being EXTREMELY sarcastic – hoping you could figure it out, without me losing my head over it……..


        3. It’s no problem. Sorry, I didn’t realize we were doing sarcasm.


  4. I believe it’s the ‘net.
    In this case-and many others-it seems most people just go on and on about Muslims,and have nothing to say about the victims.
    A lot of people are totally different online-I’m the same asshole online or off. I just have a low tolerance for stupidity.
    But… I even found myself going off on a guy over a blog comment a few days ago-because he didn’t read my entire comment before calling me a liar.
    I don’t know the guy-he doesn’t know me,what he says doesn’t mean a damn thing to me-the calling me a liar part is what pissed me off I guess.
    That’s when I decided to take a break from the ‘net for a few days.
    It helps.
    So did expending copious amounts of ammo.
    So did the 8 half pound Tannerite targets.

    “I cordially invite you to fuck a rabid hedgehog”
    I’m stealing that one for future use.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. > callousness

    “We got the bubble-headed bleach-blonde, comes on at five.
    She can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye.
    It’s interesting when people die,
    give us dirty laundry…”

    “The news” hammers out murder, fear-mongering, despair, and fright 24/7. In the old days you could just avoid watching TV at that time and skip through the majority of the newspaper. Now “news” pops up, scrolls, and does dancing autoplay movies over half the net, promising any desired level of filth and atrocity if you’ll just click here…

    I don’t even *have* a TV, and I don’t go to “news” sites, but if it’s not their raving spamming my bandwidth, then people are talking about it half the places I go.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. When I was a kid we’d watch GOOD NEWS on WTBS Sunday mornings after church and before their featured old movie. I rather miss those old shows.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. One of the reasons I latched onto this site is because of your colorful language. If you stopped, I might have to send someone to do a welfare check on you to make sure you hadn’t been kidnapped and replaced.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My carcass will be rotting in my house before I stop cursing! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve borrowed a few catchy phrases from the Compendium of Colorful Cursing being created by the denizens of This Ain’t Hell, to wit: inflamed rabid badger’s ass, “Towel boy” in a gay bath house, gaping whoreson corrupt carcass, Cambodian cunt sauce, ball working asshole, Poster-child for vasectomies, shit tonguing, munching wanktoaster, cock gobbling, sperm burping, sniveling, codpiece licking toilet seat sniffer, lying, Bowl of ass soup, Sparklepony, worthless, Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas, would wear Richard Simmons’ used jockstrap as a facemask, useless bag of monkey fuck, Mayor Grundle of Scrotumburg and Anusville, waste of oxygen, numbnuts, snow4balls, giggling beerflecked canker blossom….

    Some of those are mine, others belong to others. If you stop cussing, you won’t be you, you know. It’s OK to cuss.

    In regard to the in-vogue use of invective in just about everything, it’s not just because the internet affords us anonymity. It appears to be a sizzling, bubbling cauldron of deeply-buried anger about you-name-it-it-sucks and the internet is the one place where there are no social checks. I see fewer and fewer kids who have any kind of decent manners at all, whether it’s table manners or simple politeness. I don’t know exactly what’s missing from their lives, but the anger they’ve been squelching since kindgergarten (Now, Davie, we don’t say things like that, we don’t hit/pinch/bite/kick people, that isn’t nice, you have to be nice) is coming to the surface.

    I think there is also a disconnection between the reality of people being attacked (for the umptheen thousandth live broadcast) or hurt, and the people who see these things or the aftermath. Reality TV is no longer shocking. Without those occasional jolts, most of these people watching feel absolutely nothing.

    It is very sad.


    1. ““Towel boy” in a gay bath house…….giggling beerflecked canker blossom”

      Haha. And I get the impression that SparklePony is somehow the worst of these 😛

      “Reality TV is no longer shocking.”

      Reality TV’s boring. The only exceptions to this for me are shows like Hoarders, Intervention, or Survivorman, which actually seem to serve more of a productive purpose and not just be a glorified Jerry Springer. I honestly don’t see the appeal in Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta, Real Housewives, and all that other crap.


  8. BillyBob Texas | Reply

    Just heard The British Prime Minister’s comments about this horrific action by this guy, today.

    And then she said something along the lines of: “Britain was the target for those who reject our values, and let me be clear that those who use violence to try to defeat those values is doomed to failure.”

    Now THAT statement is sure to cause all jihadi’s to stop their nefarious deeds. WOW! She said we will fail….so why blow ourselves up?? Let’s stop doing this.

    What a crock of crap from our (and their) leaders. All talk – and no, or not enuff, action. Blah, blah, blah. We need some fresh ideas……..


  9. I can only speak for myself of course. While I feel the deepest sympathy for the victims of these attacks, a much stronger and visceral reaction is the horror and disgust that it is probably another Muslim terror attack. Now that the IRA has disbanded and the Basques have chilled, I can not think of another organized terror cartel besides Islam. The briefest skim of the Koran will find Suras with hateful verses and commands of violence against nonbelievers, and Muslims believe that these are the verbatim commands of Allah. Islam divides the world into the Dar al Islam (house of Islam) and the Dar al Harb (house of war), meaning that Islam is at war with everyone else. While apologists claim that the terrorists have perverted the peaceful religion of Islam, in fact the terrorists are simply following what the Koran commands in clear, precise verbiage. Those Muslims who live in peace are the ones not following the tenants of their religion.
    Perhaps the WWW has numbed us, but for me it is the instantaneous and comprehensive availability of the news. In the days of print journalism, an attack across the atlantic which “only” killed 5 people might not nave even made the papers or evening news. Islam has been at war with America since colonial days, and in fact was the reason for the creation of the USMC to fight the Islamic Barbary pirates who were seizing American ships and enslaving the sailors. “From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli”. The other reason for the jaded response to this horror is that to anyone familiar with the history of Islam, these attacks are not unexpected. The true horror is that the frequency and brutality of these attacks has been increasing, and has spread from the Middle East to Western Europe, and now to the US, and it is just a matter of time till the next attack. As Pakistan and Iran are now nuclear capable, it seems likely that a mushroom cloud will appear one day over Tel Aviv or Manhattan or DC.
    As for the rudeness of the internet, it is simply the cowardice of anonymity


  10. Nicki, Funny, isn’t it, when people point out just how hateful and evil Muslims are, while at the same time they spew hate and desire violence against an entire religious group based upon the actions of a tiny segment of that group. As a Christian, I often turn to the Bible, because I have found it to contain much wisdom. In Matthew 7:5, I think I have advice for those who would criticize others. “You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.”


    1. You would be wise to heed that verse yourself, and when you take the log out of your own eye, use it to read the Koran and the Hadith and see what the religion is actually about. And it it is not “a tiny segment” that supports Jihad; an international PEW poll found widespread support for ISIS. Pakistan 62%, and our NATO ally Turkey 20%! God probably gave you a fine brain; you should use it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is always a tough line to walk, especially as a Christian. There are those biblical verses that refer to not judging, but then also those that refer to cutting toxicity from your life. I guess the question is–when someone (or a general group) has repeatedly demonstrated malignant behaviors, at what point do you stop it/walk away, and how do you do so?


        1. Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11 Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12 We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13 So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day[a] comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.
          Ephesians 6:10-13


  11. Nicki, I hate to do this on your blog, but I just have to say, that I find Alex to be a perfect example of why so many people are leaving the church today. If someone pointed out that perhaps I should stop being judgmental, my first thought would be to examine myself, not to strike out at them in a misguided effort to show that they are wrong. As far as these polls and such, I don’t put much stock in them. Neither does Hillary Clinton, if I recall. I am sure that Nicki could design a poll to show that most Christians support infanticide, given the time and motivation.


    1. Do you not see that it is YOU who is being judgmental, by criticizing my post? Since you don’t believe the polls, or the news reports of terrorists acts, or what is written in the Koran, what exactly DO you believe? Hillary Clinton??!!
      How are we supposed to fight this evil, if we are afraid to call it by its name?


      1. I think both y’all are talking past each other and missing one another’s points. LOL read again. Both of you. :p


        1. Nicki, I am usually missing part of my marbles, and so if I miss someone’s points, I am not surprised. Alex, I apologize if I am offensive to you. I am probably just helping Nicki to make her point, about people who say things on the internet that they might not say face to face. I read the things I wrote over, and although I didn’t mean them as hostile, I can see that they certainly came over that way. I am humbled by my own poor choice of wording and attempt to push my ideas onto someone else. I read your posts again, as well, and I do understand your points, I just disagree with them. But not to the point where I excuse myself from sounding aggressive, which in real life I am certainly not. In a face to face conversation, I don’t know if I would have made different points, but I am sure that I would have tried to come across as much more reasonable that I did here, and so for that I ask for your forgiveness. I am often wrong, and always willing to learn, that is why I engage here. I don’t, however, want to let myself become a jerk, which I did on this occasion. And so Nicki, I apologize to you for that.


        2. No worries Pigpen. We don’t need to agree, just be civil. You sound like a good fellow.


  12. Yeah, we *are* forgetting basic customs/courtesies/human decency.…little by little, sometimes by leaps & bounds. The web took already-commercialized news and pumped it full of steroids. Nothing that wasn’t going on before, but now people who’d never have flipped on the evening news in 1990 (who now experience traumatic FOMO if offline for >5 minutes) can’t and don’t ignore it. Even the best of us have only so much time, so many f*cks we can give…being desensitized is I think inevitable.

    Millions of largely unread people gained the opportunity (if not the qualification) to engage in political discourse, which I’m sure mostly only amped up the desensitization process.

    And as Alex pointed out, there’s the bravery that comes with anonymity, encouraging all voices to jump into the fray (informed, respectful, concerned or not).

    IMO the Internet only magnifies what we already are, but I do think it’s doing so in an exponential fashion. When there’s ill in the world, more of us know and are concerned. But jeebus does it seem we are outnumbered.


    1. I think you’re correct. And he bet has also allowed us to forget how to interact with people face to face. When everyone is a hidden internet avatar, no one is human.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. By the way, off topic, but I just went to your site. It’s neat! You guys sound like our kind of folks!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks. Stumbled on you & thought the same. Trying to find/follow sane voices. Even using the “L” word as a search term doesn’t necessarily help 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL I wouldn’t go as far as to claim I’m sane! But I’m glad to interact with likeminded people who didn’t eat paint chips as children. :p

      Liked by 1 person

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