Sunday, no Monday Rant. What happened to being polite?

My weekly rant is a day late; last night my family took my son out for his 18th birthday. By the time we returned it was late and I was too tired to properly rant. Andy Rooney can do it every Sunday, but not me, some Sundays I do not feel curmudgeonly.

So this week I have been paying a lot of attention to public comments made by everyday people in reaction to news articles and Facebook posts. When did we stop being a polite society and turn into a society where people feel the need to point out other’s failings or write snarky posts just because they can?

I used to like reading the comment section in the Huffington Post. I like to know how others feel about issues and the state of our country. As someone who always likes a good discussion, these kinds of sites gave me a good platform in which to engage with other people. But lately it seems that the comments section is turning into a high school classroom where it is more important to be heard than listen. We cannot learn from each other if we refuse to listen to each other. And what’s up with people who have nothing to add to the conversation but love to point out other’s spelling errors? Each time I read one of these snarky posts I want to reach out and hit the poster with either a large Oxford dictionary or Miss Manner’s book. Who are these grammar and spelling police and why do they do this? Is there a large section of society that finds it thrilling to point out a misspelled word? I’d like to see them do something constructive with their time. Can’t they take up a different hobby, like sky diving sans parachute?

I understand a lot of people who respond to news articles are simply stating their opinion and venting frustration but when they cross the line and start knocking other posters it becomes clear these are simply close minded people who only want to be heard whether they have a valid point or not. We all have an uncle like this, and while we put up with family, it hard to put up with a room filled with angry old men who spout hate like kids spouting baseball stats. (Do kids still talk baseball?)

What really confounds me is when people post snarky comments for absolutely no reason at all. Two days ago Barns & Nobel posted a thank you to all those who bought the Nook. Here is a Facebook site devoted to all things B&N and one would assume only have followers who liked B&N. Not so it seems. Along with members thanking B&N for the Nook and writing about how much it is enjoyed were posts from Kindle users who made remarks like “try all you want, it is not a Kindle” or “You wish it was as good as a kindle”. WTF? This was not an open debate between the two e-readers yet some people went out of their way to post as if it was. Why? Does this make them feel better about themselves? Are these the same people who in school had to pick on someone weaker? Is this yet another way to feel cool and hip? What happened to being polite? What happened to keeping quite when there is nothing good to say?

I expect this type of behavior when I am reading about politics and religion. These two subjects can generate snarky, mean spirited and ugly remarks like nothing else. Unfortunately it seems this type of “debating” style is bleeding over into other areas in society. The internet is showing us people like to “get into” with others over even the smallest subjects. Many in our society are losing the ability to hold their tongues or articulate a point without putting someone else down. It is sad and I am getting sick of it. I long for the day when we could agree to disagree.
There I feel better, I ranted without generalizing (I hope, if not I apologize) or calling anyone a horrid name. If I spelled something wrong (which I do from time to time) I don’t want to know. What I do want to know is what, Dear Readers you think of public comments. Does any of this faze you and if so how do you deal with them? What do you do when one of your comments is followed up by a snarky unnecessary reply? Have you ever gotten into it with someone else? Come on, let’s rant about this together!

Yes, I am feeling old; my son turned 18 and it hit me last night, I am not officially a parent of an adult! I am too young to have an adult child, I swear I am!

Author: sarij

I'm a writer, lifelong bibliophile ,and researcher. I hold a Bachelors in Humanities & History and a Master's in Humanities. When I'm not reading or talking about Shakespeare or history, you can usually find me in the garden discussing science or politics with my cat.

2 thoughts on “Sunday, no Monday Rant. What happened to being polite?”

  1. Ah, I couldn't agree with you more about how irritating and disheartening it is that all sense of decorum and manners seems to be lost. Why do people seem to need to go out of their ways to be jerks online? Obviously, the anonymity of the intrawebs allows for people to be jerks with no repercussions, but when did this become okay? Is that second-grade idea notion of people feeling better about themselves by tearing someone else down? Or are people's attention spans so decayed by our 30-seconds-to-Mars culture, that they aren't able to spend a few extra moments putting coherent thoughts into a smart argument? Is there no impulse control anymore? At any rate, nice rant – you hit on something that has been bothering me a lot lately, too. I find the best way to deal with someone's snakry reply is sarcasm, humor or silence. Silence usually works best. 🙂

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  2. Glad to know it is not just me. I thought I was becoming overly sensitive. I agree silence works best. Last year I made the mistake of thinking I could talk sense into these people. Wrong, I just made them foam at the mouth more. Now I ignore them best I can. I find myself closing down the computer and picking up a book. This may be the smartest thing we can do!

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