“You Can’t Say Anything These Days”

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It’s a familiar scenario. The poster is being a total ass online. A total troll. I don’t know them personally, but it’s no wonder that so many people speak up to argue with them. They more than deserve the backlash.

Also quite predictably, the moment they’re contradicted, they adopt a victim stance. “Geez, can’t you people take a joke? Lighten up. Back in my day, people had a sense of humor. You can’t say anything these days.”

It’s funny how often I see this sort of exchange. As a person who spends a lot of time online (partly for work and also because I’m a nerd who has been mostly inside for the past year due to the pandemic), I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen variations on this same theme.

Mean comment. Backlash. “You can’t say anything these days.”

And it’s funny. Because as common as that sort of response is, it’s not exactly true, is it? Because the troll in fact did get to say whatever mean-spirited, misguided thing that escaped their brain. They said it. Other people just responded negatively to it.

So really what they’re saying is “I can’t be mean to other people without them either telling me to knock it off or them being mean back.”

Or, “If I attack someone or something, other people won’t necessarily agree with me and might attack me in return.”

This has always been true of course. It’s not a simple byproduct of the times. People have been able to disagree with other people probably since language was first invented.

It’s just that a new method of mean-spiritedness has emerged (and to be frank, online and social media are not that new, they’re just more popular and influential than ever) — and therefore new methods of reactions have emerged. And the technology tends to bear it out in different ways.

Featured Image: CC 0 – Pixabay