Putting A Little Flesh to Thought
By Ambra Nykol
It always amazes me what things people can get away with writing on the internet. Not too long ago, I became a semi-frequent visitor and poster at an interesting, relevant although sometimes questionably Christian messageboard. I can't tell you how many times I thought to myself, "I'm entirely way too cool for this".
But I kept posting nonetheless and when I'd had my last share of circular discussions on whether or not Christians should drink, smoke, swear, vote Democrat, vote Republican or have pre-marital sex, all conversations which I find utterly ridiculous, I left.
I definitely met some cool people, but my patience ran thin and liberty of thought and profundity became the exception and not the rule (in my opinion). Then I got hip to the blogging trend and I started reading and posting comments on other peoples' blogs.
Whoever is responsible for allowing the masses to so easily become pundits should be shot. If you are like me, and take most all you read on the internet with a grain of salt, then you can remain unaffected by the peons who spout bogus untruths via their weblogs.
However, for the poor souls whose life is swayed by most all the internet has to offer, I feel obligated to tell them that there are idiots on the internet too. Myself included at times.
The internet is a powerful medium whereby anyone, with just a lick of common sense can publish just about anything they so desire, barring any direct threats towards the political leaders or a trickling indication that you might want to blow up stuff. I have come to the decision that internet, while being a great place for peeps like me to express their thoughts to the masses, is also a place where the cowardly trolls come to dwell.
You know, the people who, behind the cloak of anonymity leave rude and annoying comments on people's blogs; write spiteful emails or hateful and ill-informed op-ed's on the New York Times, or tout bad theology on messageboards and poorly-designed websites.
Reveal yourself oh silent rogues, oh wretched miscreants!
It reminds me of that scene in the Wizard of Oz where "The Wizard" is finally revealed to be a tiny man talking into a microphone. That is the reality of so many that dwell on the internet. Even revealing one's true name is not real indentification. I challenge that a good percentage of bloggers/internet writers wouldn't say a lot of what they've written in a public setting, or even to another person's face for that matter.
Now me? Call me crazy, but I feel quite certain that I would feel comfortable reading my blog verbatim to a group of ultra-radical, liberal, PhD, homosexual, Jesse Jackson-loving, Britney Spears-listening atheists from San Francisco with loaded guns and fresh tomatoes in hand. That could also just be my personality.
Don't get me wrong, I think it is valuable that much of what is on the web, may not have been otherwise spoken by timid individuals who've found a voice behind some html codes. But the other part of me wonders if there's not something wrong with the fact that many people will never be able to put some flesh to their words.
This post-modern generation is a lot more hesitant to connect their bodies with their values and beliefs. People think these little wimpy protests, marches and hunger strikes these days are really powerful. In my opinion, they don't compare to the major sacrifice many in the world have endured for the sake of what they believe (no matter how silly they were).
However, I challenge that when the rubber meets to road, few people would be willing to die for what they believe or the controversy of what they write.
Main picture: Koby Israelite's Dance of the idiots (Tzadik Records)
Ambra Nykol is a columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Soundpolitics.com, Seaspot magazine and Modestly Yours. She blogs at nykola.com
Please e-mail comments to email@example.com