Thursday, July 10, 2008

Opinion and Cyber Bullying

Every single one of us has an opinion. Depending on the subject matter, our opinions are passionate, lukewarm, angry or lackadaisical. To different degrees, they are simply personal beliefs or judgments based on our own experience and feelings, reasoned, rational conclusions drawn from empirical evidence or apparently, in the world of the internet, confusing rants based on paranoid delusions.

Insofar as we work within the parameters of societal imperatives, the legal system and the rules of the forum in which we are participating, anyone is damned well entitled to believe and voice that belief however they desire.


It would be vastly refreshing if opinions voiced could just once in a while be backed up with a rational argument or a reasoned debate of points made by an opposing opinion.

I have concluded recently that cyber bullying really is no different than the real life kind.

Cyber bullying carries with it all the characteristics of real bullying; seeking a victim (perceived as weaker), repeated, “attacks”, pejorative labels based on nothing more than an attempt to intimidate and/or hurt, and ultimatley, no rational, honest engagement of debate or argument.

I find myself pining for days of my youth, when arguing was an art; passionate, involved, sometimes loud but always with some form of intellectual groundwork – where points were dealt with and the ultimate aim of a debate was to convince with emprical evidence and rational thought that YOUR opinion was in fact the correct one.

One did so by dealing with the issue in question; removing the individual from the argument and rationally discussing why and on what that argument was based. One could fiercely disagree with someone and remain on good terms with them, because rational argment demands that the THOUGHT process is primary; asserting “because I said so” or that is “what I believe” are not rational arguments, they are emotional reactions.

Another characteristic of cyber bullying is repeated reiteration of perceived slights, accusations of “attacks” that were never made nor intended, and repeated and strident demands for apologizing and backing down from the “opinion” which the bully finds offensive.

Ultimately, I find it sadly common on the internet to find cowards who hide behind created personas and impersonal keyboards to inflict repeated and nasty attacks on individuals simply because something has triggered an emotional response in the bully. Salient points are ignored, rational discourse rejected; rather, these individuals find it far more productive to use a big stick to try to intimidate someone into apologizing and backing down from a point never made – an opinion never voiced.

I, for one, never backed down from a bully in real life – I am most certainly not going to start now.

Each of us is entitled to our perceptions, our beliefs and our opinions – and while I am open to someone attempting to convince me to change said value system with rational and reasoned debate, trying to force me to do so simply won’t work.

All that’s left now is to call me an ugly fat bitch – have at me – I’m good for it!


Buffalo said...

I suspect cyber-bullies are very insecure, frightened, insignificant people that try to compensate for the bleakness of their existence by tearing at others. They can do it safely between the anonymous facade of a created identity they may well come to believe is real - at least as long as it is in their safe hideout of cyberspace.

When I repossessed cars for a living I had countless men "break bad" with me on the phone. They were going to tear me from limb to limb. I'd give them the office address, they'de storm down and then turn into a meek, mild, polite lamb when they saw me.

Pity them. Laugh at them. Be glad you're much better than all of that.

selkie said...

believe me, Buff, they do NOT intimidate me; annoy me, yes; perplex me, yes: but utlimately, they provide a source of amusement!