Anonymity brings out the worst in people. The keyboard cowards, who abuse their targets online, make that abundantly clear.
For those of us in the public sphere, insults are a part of daily life. The thing is that you get used to the snarky tweets and aggressive letters, to the point where they disappear into the background noise, but when I read that someone thought I have a “head like a busted sandshoe and a brain to match” I just couldn’t take it anymore… I had to burst out laughing.
It’s no secret that the tone of online ‘discussion’ has become ridiculous. The vitriol is so shrill and so desperate, that it has gone beyond farce and become hilarious. Just the other day I received some helpful tips and constructive criticisms:
“Every time I see you, you’ve gone up two dress sizes! What size are you now?” one person asked before another helpfully chimed in with “Fix your eyebrows, COW HEAD!”
It also turns out that I’m “as mad as a meat-axe” and “as trustworthy as a rattlesnake” according to some of my more enthusiastic fans.
It’s tempting to blame Twitter for an apparent drop in the current quality of public discussion but to do so would overly simplify the matter, because it’s not just online. Some of what comes to my office in the form of quaint, handwritten letters is so foul that it would make the most offensive Twitter troll blush.
A lot of what is written in these anonymous, scrawled notes cannot be reprinted here. Rest assured, ‘COW HEAD’ is a compliment compared to what some people send in.