Dueling Echo Chambers

I would like to start this piece with a one man play entitled:

“Using Facebook.”

Me: “Hmm, lets see what’s going on in Facebook.”

Me, literally ten seconds later and three swipes into my feed: “I immediately regret this decision! What the fuck is wrong with you fucking people? How could I know this many stupid people? Is it because I’m stupid? Gaaaaaa!”

Me: *loses will to live *

The End

I hope you enjoyed the play. I certainly did not, but that is kinda its point.

Now, you might think, “why follow these people if being exposed to them and their ideas is that upsetting to you?”

This is a good question. I’m glad you asked.

I do this because I think it is important to remind myself that people like this, and their ideas, exist. It is far to easy to forget about them. And then when things like QAnon rear up and actually affect the world political stage, we get completely blindsided by it.

So to the anti-vaxxers; the conspiracy theorists; the Trumpists; and the Canadians going on about gun rights with Second Amendment arguments:

Thank you! Your stupidity has inoculated me (quite ironically, in some cases) against the full-blown infection of toxic stupidity the last four years has become. Thanks to your earnest showcase of the nightmare that is your thought process (or lack thereof). You have helped me survive. Thank you.

Even when you don’t agree with them, it’s good to make oneself aware of other modes of thinking, from time to time. This can help mitigate the dangers of getting trapped in an echo chamber. If you don’t know what that is, then you’re somehow new to the internet (welcome!), or are not very bright. (Check it out, if need be: Echo Chamber)

The internet is full of echo chambers. It is a perfectly crafted engine for them. If you enjoy this kind of thing, then far be it from me to tell you it isn’t good. How you enjoy wasting your time is entirely your business. But I am here to tell you that if you are engaging in these kinds of communities, then what you’re up to is about as productive as a circle jerk. Don’t kid yourself that you’re fighting the good fight, or educating the people. You’re simply entertaining yourself and a bunch of other people who think just like you do.

Now, for those who are busy actively generating content for their chamber’s community, it is common to venture out into the “world” (comment threads) to take the fight to the enemy. This also can be a great way to generate new content.

In this endeavor, there is a tendency to find the worst morons from the opposing camp, and then to use their shittiness to paint their whole group with. I’m sure this is fun. Just do not forget when doing this that you are essentially picking a fight with the village idiot of your enemy town. You may as well be eating cheezies and making your genitals orange for all the good you are doing your cause. As well, it is very likely that you are the village idiot of your town and simply have not realized it. Bird of a feather, and all that.

Like I said, if you enjoy wasting your time this way, that’s your business. But if you engage in a lot of this kind of behavior, I’m going to make certain assumptions about you. (Not that you should care.)

I will assume that you are someone who feels the need to craft an identity out of a cause. This may be one step up in maturity from doing so about the kind of movie, book series, or music you like, but you certainly have not cleared adolescent thinking either. You have the desire to communicate and be perceived, but not the ability to articulate your own thoughts. You don’t yet understand the deeper thinking and philosophy inherent to your own cause, and neither can you think critically to properly dissect the position of an opposing one. So you hunt about for examples of the worst kinds of offenders to make fun of. Little shared tidbits of wit and cleverness are compiled over endless circuits around your favorite echo chamber.

This is the, “I don’t really understand what I like/am yet, but I know fucking well what I hate,” stage of thinking. That’s fine; it’s a normal stage of intellectual development. Just don’t expect to be taken too seriously.

When I’m the target of abuse from folks at this kind of level, it’s like I’m enjoying a walk on a fine day and some some genetic mistake of a teenager with rotten teeth calls out to inform me that my fashion is lame. It is really not a big deal.

You should never assume that anyone you meet, online or otherwise, knows how to think. Least of all if they rely on political talking points or echo chamber reblogs for the bulk of their “personal” narrative. If you operate with the assumption that everyone can’t think, until they prove to you otherwise, you’re going to be a lot happier.

“Oh, what’s this blog? Why, it is someone saying that all blacks/whites/hispanics/gays/breeders/men/feminists/cis gender should be deported/killed/cancelled. Do I need to take this person seriously? Let me think. Hmmmmmm… Oh! Wait a minute! No. They’re an idiot! Problem solved.”

See? Easy. No muss, no fuss.

A bunch of tattoos and an alternative lifestyle (be it Christian fundamentalist, gun-loving militia, or whatever else) do not magically imbue intelligence or infallibility. Nor do they make someone more interesting (but that’s another essay).

Of course, perhaps getting angry at idiots is a favorite hobby of yours. If that’s the case, if you want to try to level up your thinking, I suggest sitting yourself down and asking yourself the following question, in all gravity:

“Am I an idiot?”

If you can answer no, you’re probably lying to yourself. But, maybe it’s simply that you like slumming with idiots on occasion, which means you’re probably just a troll.

When you wander into someone else’s club house to stir up shit you are either trolling or saying implicitly that their thoughts and ideas have merit; essentially, that you are at their level.

Let me go on the record here that I basically agree with about 70% of the feminist and other “social justice” material that I see on my feed. (Do keep in mind: that number is probably as high as it is because I don’t follow idiots; this doesn’t mean I agree with 70% of that kind of material on the internet as a whole.) Then there’s that last 30% where I’m, “uhhh… you lost me there.”

And guess what? It doesn’t fucking matter. Beyond it simply not mattering to me, why would I assume that my thoughts about it would matter to those who are circulating the idea? Is it my job to fix these people? To set some nonexistent record straight? Or, in getting into it, would I simply be imposing my entitled ass into where it doesn’t belong?

If I had to grow up being dominated by dipshit white men, I’d be ornery too. (Hang on… I was. And I am. Aha.) Especially when so many white folks have pissed away every advantage they’ve been given by their psychopathic ancestors, and do nothing but bitch and moan about other people’s malfunctions without ever examining their own.

When people make themselves a community to hate on white people or men or white men, or whoever the fuck, just leave them be. Whether you are a target of their ire or not. They have made it abundantly clear that your voice and perspective is unwelcome. So why impose? Do you honestly think that the one thing missing in every human interaction is hearing your opinion?

Of course if they come into your house with their shit, then do what you will.

I may get pretty opinionated here, but this is my place to give vent to my internal world. Essentially, I’m yelling and throwing whisky bottles at a brick wall in my own house. When folks decide to come to the window and listen, that’s their business. Enter at your own risk.

I have no doubt whatsoever that there are plenty of, say, lesbian people of color who (if they were somehow made aware of me) would like nothing more than to chop me up into little pieces, starting with my genitals, to send me back to Germany and England. That’s okay. If I ever meet one and they try it, I’ll defend myself to the best of my ability. Until then, have fun ranting about it.

Glad to be of service.

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