WILDLY FRUSTRATED: The flame war battlegrounds of social media
With social media, we have been granted access to the various lives of millions of people around the globe. It has even had a huge part in many protests and upheavals in countries halfway around the world. This interconnectedness can be an amazingly strong tool. Yet here, in our country, we use it for such venal matters. I do not mean to say this doesn’t occur outside of the U.S. of A., as I cannot make statements or imply anything without pre-knowledge or research to support such claims, but what I do know is there is an ever-increasing negative culture brewing in social media – I’m looking at you, Facebook – for no reason other than to begin arguments and fuel the fires of discord.
These arguments I am talking about aren’t of any particular importance either. They are nothing more than flame wars between people or groups arguing an opinion of which neither party will ever be swayed. Ergo, everyone leaves said argument believing themselves to be the winner, the prize of which is just coming across like an utter ass in front of those who witnessed this train wreck and wisely chose not to get involved. These types of verbal riots occur most often when political, social, scientific, or religious matters/beliefs are posted and discussed.
The reason this pisses me off so much is because of one word; actually, it is a question. Why? Why do so many people feel the need to do any of this? In those arguments over hot-button topics (politics, religion, etc.), why put forth such an effort to hammer an opinion down someone’s throat? Because a person likes or shares a quote, picture, or article that they connect with on some level? What does it matter? Did that quote, post, or whatever offend so much that the only recourse is to defend one’s personal stance to said poster that was technically never attacked to begin with? What jollies are there to actually be gleaned from this virtual strife, because I sure as hell cannot discern any. And to those who feel they have to defend what they posted, why allow oneself to be goaded into an argument? Let it be and walk away. It’s OK if you do not agree with everything someone else likes or believes! It used to be considered cultured and empathetic if you understood differing opinions and approached the discussion intelligently, rather than just dismiss them as absurd.
(As a matter of fact, I have a visual aid for just such an occasion! I found this webcomic years ago that I saved because I thought it was funny. I still find it hilarious to this day! It never dawned on me that it would actually come in handy or be relevant in terms of an unforeseen future article that I would be writing years down the line.)
In my circle of friends, you will find Catholics, Christians, agnostics, atheists, and even a couple of pagans just for good measure. We are Democrats, Republicans, independents, and everything in between, and we don’t always share the same feelings or views on numerous topics. Would you like to know how we all get along? We respect each other, our beliefs, and everyone’s opinions. Holy shit! It’s almost as if we have somehow evolved into persons of understanding and higher-order thinking! But please, don’t go repeating that too loudly. The government or a university might want to study us.
Another Facebook trend seems to be an overabundance of complaining about celebrities or something that has happened in pop culture or fashion. Weeks ago, it appeared like the entire world stopped rotating over a stupid fucking dress. (I don’t know if it is still a thing anymore, but the dress’ color is black and blue. Go to the manufacturer’s website and see for yourself. (The Chive even posted a gallery with the scientific explanation of why gold and white could possibly be seen.) Kanye West did something egotistical and said something self-centered again? You don’t say! Someone has terrible fashion sense somewhere in the world? Well, we better flood everyone’s goddamn feeds for a few fucking days, because otherwise no one would ever know!
Also, has anyone ever thought about how much energy it takes to criticize or scoff at celebrities or pop culture on a seemingly continuous basis? Yes, I realize I do that here to a certain extent, but I do so in moderation. Anyhow, having spent my late teens and early ‘20s on message boards, I do know this answer. It is A LOT OF ENERGY! Too much, in fact. Kanye will always do something stupid. Hell, it’s probably the only thing keeping him in the news these days besides his marriage. Reality TV whores (I’m talking males and females here, folks) will do shit all the time in an attempt to clutch onto whatever “fame” they may have garnered for no discernable reason. They can’t do anything else with their lives, so they have to make a buck somehow. Honestly… just ignore them. Ignore every fucking one of them! Don’t feed the beast. If you acknowledge it, it won’t ever die.
Fashion is always in the eye of the beholder and always comes down to personal taste. And I have no idea why this is happening, but I’ve started seeing men complaining about women fashion on social media recently. That boggles my mind. People wear what they do because they feel comfortable. Why bitch and moan about what someone else is wearing? Why hate on something like the leggings/yoga pants and UGG boot fad? If a woman feels comfortable in them, then let it go! It’s her choice. Why are you even complaining? Are you jealous? I’m man enough to admit that I am. They look super comfy, and those giant boots look like they feel like slippers. I wish I could wear slippers out in public! By the way, those wildly colored or patterned leggings make me feel like everyone’s a professional wrestler, and I don’t believe there is anything wrong with that.
I see things on Facebook and Twitter that I think are stupid or disagree with all the time. There are “celebrities” out there that I wish would drive off a cliff. Do you know what I do? I do nothing – absolutely nothing! Why? Because I couldn’t care less about what a senseless celebrity does! I don’t give two shits that someone posted a meme making fun of something that I believe in! I think lots of things are dumb, and I may even disagree with something someone says on A CELLULAR LEVEL, but I don’t waste my time and energy engaging them!
Why? Well, for one, I was raised that if you don’t have something nice to say, then you should shut the fuck up. Two, I would rather put my energy into supporting things that I do like. And three, I don’t care how some celebrity acted on a show where millions of dollars are spent just so they can pat each other on the backs and feel important. I do love a good heated discussion over a high-top table with beverages in the middle from time to time. Then again, if someone’s argument is a bumper sticker slogan, a cat meme, or some ad hominem statement, I have no time for that; there are movies to be watched, laughs to be had, games to be played, books to be read, and a life to be enjoyed.
by Rich Cicci
Rich is a player of board and video games; lover of beer, movies, music, and comics; connoisseur of the arts and the inappropriate; and a pop culture columnist.