The recent www incident involving Roger Ebert, his comments on a drunken daredevil’s race to die (and kill), and the daredevil’s friend’s understandable lashing out whilst grieving has me rethinking some long-held, but abstract, political views.
My libertarian streak runs deep. In addition to really believing it, I derive great personal pleasure from knowing that I’m simultaneously further left than all of my self-righteous pinko friends, and further right than my neo-Nazi tax-hating friends. I get to be a contrarian to everyone.
My abstract principles run up against difficult choices all the time: regulation of meat-packing plants, inspection of vaccines, shit like that has Big Brother everywhere, and bro’ don’t seem so bad. But I largely like a real wild-west, free-to-ride kinda society, and a minimal government interfering with it.
But the unregulated internet, which I adore (and take advantage of) also demonstrates that the mob mentality, and mob action, predominate, and are dangerous. In part because really stupid people seem to like joining mobs.
Hundreds of thousands of complaints “flag[ging] for impropriety” getting Ebert Facebook page shut down, and thousands of comments hurling vicious invective (and more-than-occasional threats) on Ebert’s blog don’t -- probably -- mean too much in the real world. But they do show just how ignorant and angry people can act.
There are at least fifty contributors to this blog – and more than half of them are dead. It is undeniably an “anonymous” blog where I can hurl absurdist thoughts, half-baked (but hopefully stimulating) rants, and immature political views. And occasionally photos of naked broads. I have additional reasons for anonymity (hmm – chief of staff to semi-important legislator typing here. . .?) beyond not wanting to paste my mug next to my ideas. As anyone of the few people here who really knows me can tell you, I always want my mug plastered on everything that’ll hold it. But I think twice now knowing that ideas that are broadcast that anger or offend can so easily incite.
PS I think that learning that this Dunn fellow had a BAC twice the legal limit, had rolled cars in this very spot before, and was going 140 when he killed his passenger (sorry, when he lost control of the car. Killing himself and his passenger) legitimizes mister ebert's original comment. For those who wonder what ebert meant, he discussed the tweet, and the reaction from fans, in this blogpost. And for Bam Margera to say that someone has "gall" for publicly commenting on a performer who made his living by performing outlandish stunts to shock the public and publicize those escapades (see Jackass) seems misguided to me. But again, he was a grieving friend, so I think I understand.