My bloggy friend Lynette posted a wonderful response this morning to that ridiculous Slate article about how YA fiction is worthless trash. I had many of the same thoughts in response, and hers are already well articulated, so I’ll skip the specifics of why that article is one of the most absurd articles I’ve ever read, and head straight into a rant about how it’s an embodiment of what’s wrong with the Internet today.
Pretty much anyone with access to a library can publish on the internet today. That means there’s a lot of stuff on the internet to sift through. That means that in order to get attention, so many people write things that are deliberately inflammatory. They may or may not believe what they’re writing, but if it gets their site enough hits, they’ll post it. Logical fallacies? Not a problem! Hitler-like tendencies? No one will care! Half-truths and unsupported statements? No one will even notice! It’s written and published, so everyone has to believe it.
Some people are not deliberately inflammatory, they’re just incredibly close-minded. Their way is the only way to make anything of your life. If you don’t ready stuffy old books all the time, you’re an idiot. If you don’t breastfeed, you’re a terrible mother. If you don’t tweet a billion times a day, you’ll fall into oblivion. If you don’t discipline your children using my methods, you’re a terrible mother. If you don’t self-publish, you’re a snooty traditionalist pig. If you let your children cry in the store, you’re a terrible mother. If you don’t let your children cry in the store, you’re a terrible mother. (Can you tell I have an issue with mommy blogs?)
In both cases, common courtesy is sadly lacking. Can you imagine how many people Ms. Graham tried to publicly shame? How is that okay?! It doesn’t matter that no one I know who has read the article believes her. What matters is that every bit of that article qualifies as cyberbullying. Why are we surprised that our children are using the internet to tear down and torment their peers when adults do the same thing every day, not just on social media, but on national and worldwide magazine and news sites?
Thankfully, not all people are like that. Some do take the time to back their opinions up with facts. Some don’t condemn the Other for simply being different. I see dozens of blog posts every week that are thoughtful, uplifting, and well crafted. So thank you, my dear WordPress friends, for being a light of sanity in a very hazy internet. You give me hope that not everyone in the world is lost in the isolation of their own need to be right all the time. Stay wonderful.