3 Internet Pet Peeves I Learned Today

Yesterday I wrote an article in which I questioned the kid-friendliness of a specific portion of the halftime show. I wasn’t trying to be controversial–rather, it was a matter of me experiencing something I rarely think about (I don’t have kids), expressing an opinion, and asking for other perspectives.

The article generated quite a bit of conversation in the comments and on Twitter. A lot of it was productive and insightful, but there were 3 types of comments that were incredibly offputting (whether or not the person thought the halftime show wasn’t kid friendly).

It was a lesson for me to read these comments, both in terms of who I want to be as a person when discussing topics and the types of people I want to engage with online. Here are the 3 internet pet peeves I learned today:

  1. Country-specific racism. I’m sure there’s a better term for this, but I don’t know what it is. Basically, there were several comments from people that said things like “You Americans think about X the wrong way” or “Americans care about X but not Y.” Woah there. Lumping 300 million people into a single mindset is incredibly offensive, just as it would be offensive if you said all people of a certain race/age/ethnicity think and do things the same way.
  2. WhatAbout-ism. Quite a few comments were along the lines of, “You care about kids watching sexy dancing, but not about gun control, beer commercials, or concussions in the NFL?!” Woah there. My article was about the halftime show. That’s the topic on the table. It doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions about other topics–they just don’t happen to be the topics I’m currently discussing. This is classic WhatAbout-ism, which John Oliver explains in this short clip.
  3. Accusations of Shaming. This was probably the most common statement, whether it was directed at me or at the internet as a whole (it seemed like a lot of people were replying to the headline and didn’t actually read my post). The basic idea expressed in these comments was that I/we shouldn’t shame X (X ranged from the halftime show, Jennifer Lopez, sexy dancing, sex itself, etc). I found it really hard to engage with anyone who posted this type of comment, because my post actually celebrated most of the performance (I even wrote “I don’t think there was anything inherently wrong about Lopez’ performance”). Using “shame” as a weapon in conversation tends to end any constructive discourse.

Anyway, it was an interesting day to be on the internet! Hopefully I haven’t been a perpetrator of these pet peeves myself, but it’s likely that I have, so now I can be more aware of them and be a better person tomorrow.


6 Responses to “3 Internet Pet Peeves I Learned Today”

  1. Adrian Brown says:

    Well, you wrote a something that asked for an opinion and posted it on the internet. Literally amazed there were only THREE types of responses that advertised the individual’s ignorance. How was there not at least one person that worked in how watching the halftime show was a metaphor for why they don’t vaccinate their kids?

    You stepped outside the boardgame community and talked about a sexually charged topic that involved women. And you AREN’T one. We could go on all day about how having honest discussion is the only way to learn, improve and move forward, but the climate is…dicey right now. The sensible people that agree with you, don’t feel a need to write or be vocal. The people who voice their agreement have their own agenda, and the loudest voices will the the minority that need someone to shame or someone to point their finger at in order to keep the clamoring shame troupe pointed away from themselves.

    Ignore the ignorance or become an activist. Straddle the line, and both sides will try to take you down.

  2. Dusty Craine says:

    And this is exactly why I started to type a reply to your post, Jamey and then backed off. I have kids. I’m the target audience of the question, but ultimately someone is going to think I’m either over parenting or under parenting. I’ll get irked and they’ll get a chuckle. There is no win there.

  3. Steve T says:

    Some people seem to like to get outraged & others enjoy stirring the pot. Can make for a very negative place online & it does get me down sometimes.

    I enjoy your articles, the questions you raise & the discussions that follow… no matter what the topic. I don’t usually reply as I find it hard to express myself in this format.

    I felt that I wanted to reply on this as Adrian (above) mentioned that some people don’t feel the need to write or be vocal. I’m one of them & wanted you to know that among the varied responses your discussions illicit, they still create a lot of enjoyment for souls like me. 🙂

  4. Tim Landers says:

    Our society is so incredibly screwed up! We should be able to discuss ALL issues, but too many people have such fragile egos, discussions become next to impossible. Is that a healthy way to live in a society where we supposedly have free speech. We can’t talk to anyone because everyone is hypersensitive to everyones opinion that doesn’t agree with their own. It is ignorance at the highest possible level.
    It all begins inside each person. People need to find the value within themselves and believe in that. Don’t demean others as a way to boost our egos. Contribute to the world and look for the good in others and turn off all this hypersensitivity.

Leave a Reply