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Why everything appears to be rude, nasty, and vulgar on the internet


Let's face it, there's a lot of rude, nasty, and vulgar stuff on the internet. There's a lot of rude, nasty and vulgar stuff everywhere, and there always has been. Believe me, I can recognize it. And I know it when I see it. But what surprised me when I started teaching, and especially when I'm on the internet, is how much other people see that I don't.

Whether something is rude, nasty, and vulgar is of course determined by observation, which forms opinion. I have a tendency to believe in what is often called "reasonable judgement" - you know, like if a group of people are looking at something, and identify it the same way, I tend to throw out the judgment of the person who is behaving in a strange way. Yeah, it's opinion. And that's why it all really depends on point of view.

The first time I heard about this was "subliminal advertising", when I was studying advertising in college. You know, the kind where secret things are hidden in the ice cubes, which are rude, nasty, and vulgar. That no such thing has ever existed for advertising won't change anyone's mind if they see it. There's really no point in arguing with these people, although I never give up on them. I'm often saddened to think that it's the way that they see the world. Give an example of just about anything and some people can extrapolate it out to something rude, nasty, and vulgar. We are, of course, just seeing into their minds a bit (which I'd rather not).

I'm certainly not denying the enormous amount of rude, nasty, and vulgar stuff on the internet. Anyone who has innocently typed something into a Google search has been shocked to find stuff that they probably never knew existed. But if someone is seeing rude, nasty and vulgar stuff in just about everything, from photos of sunsets to kittens playing, then it's just kind'a sad. I wish I could help, but I don't have that point of view. All I see are sunsets and kittens, and they're wonderful.

Image at the top of this post: A cute kitten. If you see anything other than a cute kitten, please look again.