When I heard about the latest controversy involving a public figure saying something despicable, I was reminded of an old adage I may have read on the back of a tea-bag tab, or on the box, or maybe it was a fortune cookie, anyway, the line is advice for how to not get yourself in trouble by saying something stupid. It offers a quick little mental test, the passage of which is an intended vaccine against foot in mouth syndrome. The test is this: before you give your opinion about something, ask yourself two questions……. is it kind? Is it necessary? Pretty good advice, and I have no doubt that Roseanne, if given the opportunity would implement this strategy and reconsider her tweet storm knowing what she now knows. But as the great Lauren Hill once said “Consequence is no coincidence.”
What I find unbelievable though, is how someone who has lived in this world for as long as she has would think this to be a good idea? What was the end game here? What was the goal? I wonder what she thought was the best case scenario. Did she just not not think about anything beyond her own immediate passion? Probably that one.
I imagine genuine surprise when she realized the result of her actions.
I have to believe that she feels with these rants as if she is expressing some universal truth, that the majority of people, or the majority of HER people, will understand where she is coming from or agree or whatever. The abject wrongheadedness of this thinking is astonishing; this kind of “my opinion is so important, more important then decency” is a rampant perspective on social media, especially twitter. I‘m convinced that humans are not mature enough for it; the Arab Spring seems like a really long time ago.
Twitter/social media, has so much potential and power and could be a force for such good and progress yet it has been reduced to a vehicle to spew venom and bile; just another delivery system for hate. Twitter Wars, this is a thing an honest to goodness cultural actuality where “adults” write mean things back and forth at each other, if this seems ridiculous in the abstract, its because it is actually, literally ridiculous.
The main problem with twitter as I see it, is the idea that because you are behind a computer screen in the darkness of your home, there are no repercussions for your actions; the amazing thing is even after all these lives have been destroyed and disrupted there doesn't seem to be any learning curve; like Sideshow Bob and the Rake.
Getting back to the content of what was said, its easy to get discouraged and feel as if we are making no progress as a country, but I think this might be what progress looks like in 2018. The light is being shined in all the cracks and corners of our society for the first time, given all the avenues for expression its not surprising that the truth of peoples hearts get laid bare; like the Bill Burr joke “what do you think they thought?”. Its only a matter of time before who you really are is exposed. It’s a slow arduous slog, but hopefully its leading somewhere.
Maybe all these events are the teachable moments that are necessary; the examples of a people we don’t want to be, the people who find it safe on the wrong side of history.