I spent just over 13 years on Usenet, and it was a good time. Learned a lot. Laughed a lot.
Most germanely to what I want to talk about in this post, my skin got really, really thick.
It’s almost impossible to genuinely offend me online. When you’re a veteran of multiple month-long flame wars, the threshold gets way up there, you know?
My favorite high school teacher, with whom I am Facebook friends, posted a fairly conservative and unambiguously nostalgic status last night. It concerned stuff like morning devotions and the Pledge of Allegiance in school, dig?
So one of her friends immediately responded, and rather sourly. Well and good. Sounded like a stereotypically bitter liberal to me, of the sort who isn’t happy unless she’s running down everyone else (or trying to do so). They’re out there.
What I don’t get, though, is these folks who come out spitting this venom, and are then shocked when someone gives it back to them. I think it’s mainstream delusion. They spend enough time isolated from any contrary thought, and eventually become unable to process the idea of a thinking, reasonable person disagreeing with them.
The crash, when someone actually hits their nastiness back over the net, can be substantial. She started babbling about diversity (?), and how rude Americans are (she’s Canadian), and sheesh, I don’t know what else. Eventually I got a conciliatory offline message from her. Well, okay. All the best to you, sweetheart.
I don’t ever say anything on the Internet that I’m not ready to defend—instantly and vigorously. Make that axiomatic, dudes and dolls.