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Friday, May 6, 2016

Running Traps AKA The Name and Shame Game

10:32 AM 0 Comments

Yesterday I was out running my traps, listening to an outstanding  interview with Rita Dove on NPR, thinking about a very to the point post a friend had made on face book, and feeling pretty darned inspired. I was anxious to get home and start writing.

Oh Holy Crap, what did I just say?

I’d better change up that “running my traps” language immediately.

The phrase “running my traps” is semi local, colloquial, phrase that means out roaming – checking on friends, stopping at fishing holes, scouting birds, just wandering around – I wasn’t out actually checking a trap line.

Why you ask do I feel the need to be so adamant about that? Because this my friends, is how things so rapidly go to hell in handbasket these days.

I can just about guarantee you some person would read this, and immediately jump to the conclusion that I am illegally running a trap line in IL in May.

Then the internet naming and shaming begins, the memes, the creative cut and paste, the posts telling me that I am highly illegal and should be removed from the planet. Screams of “Call the authorities!” would echo through the cyber world.

The anti trapping folks would steal a photo or two and make an example of this shameful and lawless behavior. Surely, I gleefully murder kittens and other warm, fuzzy, cute, creatures as well.

And no one would bother to ask IF I was really running a trap line or WHY I was a running a trap line in May.

Because  the online judge,jury and executioners are running their own trap line so speak as they scroll their feeds each day. 

We have become a society that can’t think beyond 140 characters and a meme. We take every character typed, every photo posted, every sentence uttered as an opportunity to find fault and be offended. We have become a name and shame society via social media.  Quite frankly many days I feel like I am living in the era of the Inquisitions or the witch burnings.

To quote my witty friends inspiring facebook post "passive-aggressive, slightly vicious yammering and self-righteous pride” would run rampant.

I’ve come to the conclusion that people no longer care about civil discourse, differing opinions or fact checking. Let’s just fall into the click bait headline trap – blindly share, and pass on the horror or offense of the day.

Because, well it makes folks feel so damn good about themselves. It proves what high moral standards they hold themselves to, it proves that they are -  SO. MUCH. BETTER.

It also proves critical thinking skills are clearly at an all time low, and the  self involved it’s ALL about me and how wonderful and perfect I am set  has this name and shame thing down to fine art.

And they feel so damn good about it.

The name and shamers feel great pride in being the one who exposed the theoretical bad behavior; they don’t want to know the facts, they don’t want to know “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say.

They just want the world to see how absolutely great, moral, ethical and offended that they are.

Because clearly, taking one sentence from an interview, one paragraph from a blog, or one photo shared and turning it to a "passive-aggressive, slightly vicious yammering and self-righteous pride” comment fest on their social media accounts makes them the star for the day. 

I see social media posters gleefully delight in the fact that they have gone viral with their take down of often innocent people, or how they shut down a business, a religious group or political candidate they didn’t care for.

Oh yes – and here is where all the free speechers will jump in –  you watch. It’s their God given right, we live in country of free speech, I can say whatever the hell I want .  That’s true – to a point. That’s also why slander and libel laws exist. Please don’t make me drag out the whole shouting fire in crowded theater example.

But then again isn’t that exactly what the social media judges, juries, and executioners are actually doing? Isn’t the whole internet shamefest mentality just an online version of yelling fire in crowded theater?

Let’s stir up the crowd, get out the torches and pitchforks and see just how much mayhem we can actually achieve.

Consequently, I see more and more thinking people just walking away from social media. It is just is too tiring to wade through feeds full of utter crap. Thinking people who really have never been into that whole herd mentality  thing to begin with.

And that’s sad – because social media can be a great tool, a great way to exchange ideas and information.

And now here we are – the whole post I had planned has flown out the window and I have to start that whole project over again because I got side tracked thinking about a world that’s full of social media “stars” who’s greatest talent seems to be making posts full of "passive-aggressive, slightly vicious yammering and self-righteous pride”.

Guess I need to go “run my traps” again this morning and find that inspiration all over again.