I Have An Opinion, and That Makes it True

I have a confession to make.  Sometimes I read comments on the internet.  I know it’s not healthy, and I always come away feeling worse than I did when I started, but somehow I can’t seem to stop myself.  When I am finished reading an article, there are the comments right below it.  It only seems natural to continue reading.

Now, I know that they have done studies on this sort of thing, and that people feel safe and anonymous on the internet, and therefore they act like big old pottymouthed jerks.  I understand that if you are angry about something, you may not always feel comfortable expressing that anger in a social setting, and so the internet is the perfect place for you to unleash your inner demons out into the (virtual) world.  But what I’m confused about is why people get like that about everything.

It is my basic assumption that, egged on by the media, people posting comments at the end of a politically or religiously themed article are going to fire off angry, one-sided remarks to anyone that dares post an opposing viewpoint.  It is the norm these days, and if our reporters and journalists can do it, why can’t we?  Where I did not expect to find such vitriol was at the end of an article asking if HD technology made people look too “real” on TV.

My word, you would have thought we were debating whether or not the holocaust had actually happened.  A quick scan of the comments did not reveal posts such as “In my opinion, you can never get high enough definition,” or “Yes, I agree.  In my experience, I have noticed a distracting amount of facial detail on the characters in my soap operas.”  Oh, no.  Every comment was something along the lines of “HD is 4 LOOSERS and if U like it, U R N idiot!” or “Anyone who doesn’t like HD is an uneducated troglodyte who clearly doesn’t know how to operate a television.”

Why?  Why do we feel the need to assert our personal opinions as if they were sacred truths?  For Pete’s sake, we are talking about a picture quality setting on our televisions!  What does it matter to you if the guy down the street doesn’t watch movies in HD?  Are you concerned that television manufacturers will stop making the kind of TV you like unless everybody else likes it too?  Do you just have a pathological need to be right about everything?  Are we all just whiny losers on the inside, and only now do we have the socially acceptable tools to express our true selves in every forum?

I wish it were just HD TVs and politics and religion.  Sadly, I see the same ridiculous online posturing everywhere, be it in a discussion about the debt ceiling, or under an article announcing a new Justin Bieber album.  Look, it’s perfectly fine to be angry about the debt ceiling negotiations, and you can be even angrier about the new Justin Bieber album, but just be polite about it, okay?  And anyone who doesn’t want to be polite SUX HARDCORE!

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