I hate the decline of civility on the internet, especially the increase in cyberspace bullying. It enrages me when people think lack of personal contact gives them free reign to insult others at will. That’s why I took a stand yesterday, after my Facebook “friend” posted a picture of himself standing next to another guy, callously labeled as “The Biggest Loser.”
Upon spotting the vicious libel, I fired off a testy comment:
I don’t appreciate your malicious disparagement of another. As I see it, taking potshots at a guy who seems perfectly normal just so you can get your jollies points out the real loser. Before you post snide comments in the future, I suggest you keep in mind the old saying: ‘people in glasses houses shouldn’t throw stones.’
I ask anyone else offended by what they’ve seen here to post unkind words of their own. After all, a message needs to be sent, and we should be the ones sending it, to the true “biggest loser!”
The first unkind words appeared minutes later, courtesy of the original poster:
Asshole! Haven’t you ever seen The Biggest Loser TV show? I got my picture taken with one of the winners. He lost 180 pounds. He’s a real nice guy too, and I was honored to meet him. So the only one doing any insulting is you! Nice job.
Come to think of it, I had heard of the TV show, though I’ve never seen it. It’s a bit late to apologize though. Since my “friend” posted his response, others have published their own unkind words directed to the “true biggest loser” … me. I won’t repeat those remarks, except to note that they typify another component of declining internet civility: the tendency for people of all ages to curse like sailors when posting online.