It’s strange, isn’t it, that once people post an opinion in a public forum, other people believe that they have the right to be abusive to them.
Having recently written about how much is lost in translation in the written word, I wasn’t surprised when I read the readers’ comments on a Guardian article last week.
The article in question was about the American police officer who shot Terence Crutcher, a black man, in Tulsa.
Hundreds of readers were commenting and many British readers were pointing out the difference in gun law between the US and the UK.
What started as a passionate argument with poignant views and thought-provoking counter-arguments quickly slid into an abusive tirade between the UK and the US.
Some of the most offensive expletives that we all know were being slung about and the issue at the heart of the article was forgotten amidst those who were climbing aboard the abuse bandwagon, waggling their little pitchforks and seeing who could pipe up with the most vehement combo of swear words and body parts.
Healthy debate is something I welcome, especially as a teacher of philosophy.
Rude and, frankly, dense commentary is not.
If you have to resort to abuse, then you’ve nothing intelligent to say and you do little aside from show yourself up as not being the sparkliest pixie on the toadstool.
Somebody commented on my Facebook page recently about a column I wrote concerning the influence of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, who give the impression to very young kids that it’s fine to just strip off and send semi-naked selfies to not only anybody online (is that really a 12-year-old boy following you on Instagram?) but the world at large in the 21st century.
The commenter suggested that I was therefore not a feminist.
We differed in opinion – I still believe it’s an issue when Year 5 children are posting selfies posing in bikinis in changing rooms – but I welcomed the debate.
But I wouldn’t have dreamt of being abusive to that person, no matter what I thought of their opinion.
BRUSH AND DON’T HAVE PEPSI AND YOU’RE HOME AND SMILING
According to reports, nearly 40 per cent of British children did not see a dentist last year.
Given that many children these days also end up having to have teeth removed because of the sugars in cereals and drinks, you’d think it imperative, if only to set up and model good habits for adult life.
It’s absolutely free for kids to see a dentist, it’s only twice a year, and it’s not remotely scary when it’s just a peek in the mouth and a sticker at the end of it.
Admittedly it’s less pleasant if you’re having a tooth or two removed.
But that’s the whole point here.
If you brush them to start with and don’t have Pepsi as a diet staple, then surely you’re home and smiling.
HOW LONG BEFORE GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES A NEW INITIATIVE?
I’ve been reading through various new exam specifications this week.
It’s all in preparation for this being the first academic year in which our children will, in many subjects, be awarded a 9-1 grade.
By the following academic year, the humanities and sciences will have finally caught up with maths and English and there will no longer be any letter-graded systems left.
The new specifications are not only harder, but the government has offered practically zero in terms of guidelines as to what a grade 6, for example, will even consist of.
I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before it announces a new initiative to introduce a radical system by which GCSEs are awarded an A*-G grade.