According to my children, “shut up” ranks up there with the worst of the “bad” words a primary school child is forbidden to say. Not too long ago, I used that phrase and here again today, “shut up” is the only rebuttal appropriate for a comment I was reading on a major media site.
This post has nothing to do with the actual article, though. In fact, my viewpoint on the situation is irrelevant. The reason I am saying “shut up” is that in a lot of comment and “letters to the editor” pages, the compulsion for someone to take away any doubt that they were an idiot outweighs any prudence or embarrassment that they are, in fact, an idiot.
What gate opened up to motivate these morons to chime in with their obvious, ill-timed, or just plain stupid observation? And to make things even more traumatic, in a lot of the news, the victim’s privacy and anger over the event, the hurt and embarrassment visited on the perpetrator’s family, the shame felt by coworkers, colleagues, etc. far outweighs the absolute insanity of “anonnumus” posting that “maybe it was the victim’s fault”, or “Obama’s birth certificate” was involved, or our mystery writer expounds on their experience being similar to when their front porch fell and killed all their dogs.
Apparently, none of this outweighs the need to be a public dunce. Perhaps part of the problem in anonymity is that people feel compelled to say what they think, which in this and more than a few other cases, isn’t much.
Back to us, though. I did see a similar reaction to several April Fool’s posts on FireRescue1.com. In pulling the page back up tonight to link at it, I’m amazed that seven days later there are still people who don’t stop, read the whole article, then read to see what others have said, before posting their own completely moronic response. “Shut up”, remember?
While the headline drew me in that day and my initial reaction was “WTF?” I was happy that I take a lot of what anyone says at face value anyway. Of course, I then took the time to read the entire article and got all the details prior to opening my mouth, or in this case, tapping out a comment that would expose my ignorance. You would think that the Mayor’s name in the one article might tip you off. Instead, a few of our own read what, two sentences, and type.
I can appreciate the pent up rage and frustration felt by those of us trying to maintain a positive image of our business. And I too see red at some of the statements made by politicians, the media, and others. But before posting your manifesto, do us all a favor and save us the embarrassment of having to explain the joke to you.
I guess the same could be said about my blog, but if you will take careful notice, I rarely write a rant. Want to know why? Because first, unless I am there, I don’t have all the facts. So I prefer to read things and believe there is probably more to the story. Secondly, even if what is said or done is really inflammatory, I give credit to the writer for putting their own personal spin on it, regardless of whether the bias is intentional or unintentional. So sometimes the headline is being written to draw us in and sometimes, it’s to pick a fight. And certainly not least, I believe that there are plenty of places on the internet you can go to if you want controversy, or negativity, or anger. I’m trying to provide a forum. I ask for people to embrace ideas they don’t necessarily agree with. You don’t have to own it; I just want you to look at it.
Before going off on someone, perhaps these people should write what they think, then save it. Walk away and if you still feel compelled to share it, then do so. But think about what you say, especially when all you plan to say is stupid anyway. Your fifteen minutes of fame may be your only fifteen minutes. Make it count.