Had an interesting conversation with a couple friends yesterday about an internet phonomanananana. (never knew how to spell that word). The Internet Persona. dunt dunt daaah!!
(that was for dramatic effect. or affect. shut up. I don’t give a fuck)
Now, I’m not talking about those sleazy guys that cruise chat rooms on AOL pretending to be kids so they can meet kids.
And I’m not even talking about those people that are hairy and greasy and much too overweight cause they sit at the computer all day and they smell of cheese and mountain dew but then they tell the “hot” chic in the chat room that they have been told they look like a cross between Robert DeNiro and George Clooney – and send a picture of a total stranger that they pulled off of some guy’s Flickr site who happens to be named Grateful Clem. (hey, it may have happened). No. Not talking about those guys either.
I’m talking about the people who have an internet “presence” – and they use that internet presence as an “out”. They say something on the internet that is hateful or hurtful or damaging to someone in some way – then they say “well – ‘Mike Hunt’ isn’t the real me – that’s the “Internet” me, my real name is Ben Dover. ‘Mike Hunt’ is just an act – intended to get people all riled up. Like Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh. Or Squidward”
Full Disclosure: There’s a fine line here. I have an internet “persona” too, I guess. It was first really discussed HERE, (read the tags on the right side of the page) but since then has been discussed several times with friends and wives. (trust me – she seems like more than one person sometimes). So yeah – the online me is maybe a bit more of a flirt – and maybe uses harsher language – and maybe takes compromising pictures of himself for the attention and humor of it all. But I try to be careful – mostly with the flirting – to make sure everyone knows it’s all just a joke. A few people have been upset – but I’m fairly certain they were assholes anyway – and I know that no one was physically hurt or felt hated. A couple may have fallen in love. Ok, not really – that was Clem.
So I’ve been thinking about this for a loooooong time. (long time in internet terms, which is like a couple hours or so). And NO – I will not be giving specific examples here because I do not want to perpetuate the hate (I should start that Rap career, really). But I think that it’s important to point out that it doesn’t fly with me. I have a big problem with this.
I know – duh.
But my problem isn’t entirely with the persona-hider-behinder (I made that up. You can use it). Everyone has a problem with them. My problem is with the nature of the internet groupie. The people that follow this person on whatever outlet they are spewing (facebook, flickr, twitter, twatter, etc) who just blindly agree. What is it about them that makes them feel like they have to say “oh god – I couldn’t agree more?” about things that are so obviously wrong. For instance (and I AM TOTALLY making this up): persona-hiding-behinder© makes a post somewhere about how all those people in the Oklahoma City Bombing had it coming – cause well, hell – only idiots live in Oklahoma (and I have to pause here and say that I can’t even TYPE Oklahoma without breaking into a chorus of “Surrey With A Fringe On Top” – and yes I’m straight. I think.).
I’m not exaggerating too much really. The opinions expressed are sometimes that flat out stoopid. So yeah – no one in their right mind really would think that – much less actually say it in public next to pictures of their grandma or kids. Right?
They would and they do. But possibly worse are the 50-300 people who agree, publicly. Do they really? Or are they just agreeing to agree – or are they just not really giving it thought – or are they just so needy for the feeling of fitting in with this person they think is so cool, that they just follow like so many cows?
I don’t know the answer – just the question. You tell me. Why do people do this? Both the persona-hiding-behinder® and the follower.
Because really – the followers cause it to continue. The persona-hiding-behinder® really does feed off of the attention. Then come the intelligent but naive people (of which I am one on occasion – naive, not intelligent – no wait…) who feel they need to say something for all humanity, and either throw out a one or two line argument, a one or two line “you’re a stupid moron” kinda response, or a well thought out, long point-counter-point short essay stating all the reasons the persona-hiding-behinder™ is wrong – with the hope of persuading him/her to see it their way, and thereby save the world.
Boy was he waiting for you to come along! “Gasoline, meet fire.” “Hi, Fire, nice to meet you – you’re kinda hot baby, mind if I move in a little closer, do you come here oft..SWOOSH!”
Yeah. Don’t do that. I learned the not-so-very-hard-but-not-so-very-fun way to take the high road in these cases whenever you can. And by that I mean either 1) ignore it and eventually the persona-hiding-behinder© will piss off the followers, one by one until he is relegated to talking to himself and posting pictures of flowers – or, B) go find him and punch him in the throat.
OK – that was kind of a downer. So go watch this video – it’s the funniest thing I have found on the internet today.