Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On entitlement

So what is it, exactly, that makes people on the Internet (mostly dudes, but I have definitely seen it from women) think that a comment submission button means that have the RIGHT to comment as though it was guaranteed by the founding fathers and enshrined in the Bill of Rights as an inalienable thing? Like, hey, this is my space, my blog and my writing and there's nothing anywhere that says I have to be forced to hear or listen to your opinion. You can have it, you can say it, but I don't have to read it, I don't have to listen to it and I don't have to allow other people to read it. I don't expect if I comment on the Washington Post that Gene Weingarten is reading it and taking my critique or opinion about him to heart and, I would venture to guess, neither do most people.

And yet, when it comes to people who complain at Jezebel, or Feministe, or Tiger Beatdown or Shapely Prose (to think of sites where I've seen this entitlement spring up recently), it's like people feel that their rights are being violated when one of us refuses to allow them to rhetorically spew on our laps. Like, it's my lap, dude. I prefer it remain vomit-free. I wouldn't let you in my home, I wouldn't likely talk to you at a bar, I wouldn't get in a cab with you, why would I let your words touch me if I don't want? Hell, if you said that shit in my house, I would, in fact, escort you out, delete your number, not return your calls and generally act as though you don't exist, so I'm not sure why I'm supposed to have different standards on the Internet.


Nefarious Newt said...

Apparently, the Internet has some magic power to cloud judgment (though many people's judgment is already pretty murky), make lies absolute truths, and allows anyone the power to make others stand there and "listen" to their drivel unconditionally.

Most of us know better.

Liri said...

But, but, they NEED to express the great injustice that has been done to them - which you are incapable of understanding, so they're gonna 'splain it to you. Then you're expected to validate their proffered Ticket of Injustice.

Back when I lurked there regularly, I used to see this over at Twisty's place on occasion, usually in comments to a post about woman/women done wrong via the iron heel of the sexist/misogynistic social structure. Sooner or later, one of my fellow doods would show up to explain "the other side", and relate some story about how a female paramour once did him wrong, so there, take that, all you complaining wimmenfolk! Bad things happen to guys too!

Sheesh, you'd think a blog called I Blame the Patriarchy would cause one to pause and reflect for a moment, before crossing the threshold and proceeding to uncork one's bottle of whine. Guess not.

Elena said...

The anonymous aspect of commenting certainly causes this behavior, at least in part. I agree with others who think we need a half-way point between complete anonymity and full identity disclosure. It would be sort of like this: You can have your assumed internet identity separate from yourself IRL but that internet identity must follow you around from blog to site to chat room.

I realize this does not explain or prevent the Tiger Beatdown case, as you have pointed out elsewhere.