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Sad internet story!

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I had given up tonight on having anything to blog about.  I’m in a really stressed out mood lately and decided to pass an hour before bed web surfing.  One of my favorite places to waste five minutes is cuteoverload.com home of cutie kitties and puppies and other adorable animals.  There was a video linked there: YouTube – pretty please.  It’s a tiny kitten begging to get inside the house, and a woman talking to her.  Now, admittedly, there’s something heartbreaking about this video.   The little kitty wants in so bad, and there’s a sadness in this woman’s voice, they grey video, it all adds up to something a little depressing.  By the end of the video you’re like, screaming at the screen “LET HER IN LADY!!”  Out of curiousity, I wanted to see if other people had this irrational reaction to the video, and went to the actual YouTube page.  In the description of the video, a looooong essay was written, starting with:

  PLEASE READ FIRST!

hi..
i would love to explain about my kitties to someone.. as i have received so much hate in the last 24 hours since someone posted my youtube up at cuteoverload.. i can’t keep up with it.. and it honestly is very hard, very hurtful.. so thanks to those who asked about tabitha & sabrina.. i’ve tried posting in the comments but no one reads them and there’s a space limit..in 2000 i was very ill with anorexia and my husband said for mother’s day we’d get what i wanted most.. 2 kitten….

It goes on from there.  Basically this woman writes a tome defending herself from the horrible things that people have written about her with regards to the kitten.  From what I gather, this woman has gone through a lot, and clearly all the hate mail has affected her badly.   I felt horrible for her, because in part, I reacted the same way those haters did emotionally, I just didn’t give a personal voice to it.

Starting with that girl who killed herself from being harassed on MySpace, up to the small things I receive about my own web show in YouTube comments and other places, I’ve been very philosophical about the internet lately.  It’s strange how small it makes the world, how 20 comments can seem like an avalanche if they are strangers saying them.   I mean, if Citizen Kane were on the internet today, what would the comments say?

That dude is fat and ugly!  WTF, GET OFF THE SCREEN!

or

HAHHAAHA Rosebud is her vajayz!  ROFLZ!

I guess it’s just realizing that making the web your community,  because our own communities are too big to really feel a part of anymore, is great if you remember that just because people are vocal, doesn’t make them right.  Good or bad comments 🙂

  • Dustin

    I absolutely Love Orson Welles but I have yet to see “Citizen Kane” all the way through. I was hoping that those movies in the Paramount graveyard would be Citizen Kane one of these days but I haven’t seen it. Perhaps another time.

  • Courtney

    Probably human nature. It’s human to have doubts about yourself and your work. Even if you hear 5,000 pieces of praise, 5 bad comments can just reinforce your negative thoughts and send you spiraling. At its worst is what happened to that Myspace girl.

    Internet and anonymity have really created a safe harbor for all the things people want to say without any consequence with no regard to the person on the other end (and sometimes solely to hurt another person). It sucks, but sad to say, that’s life now.

  • cirby

    Remember, it’s not that they hate you, it’s that they hate the IDEA of you.

  • Carl

    Hi Felicia,

    I share your angst. I’ve become very pessimistic about the human race lately. We seem to be plunging headlong into another dark age fueled (ironically enough) by peak oil. It has been said that civilization is only 24 hours and 3 meals away from barbaric anarchy.

    While misery loves company, what it loves even more is a convenient scapegoat. The Christian and Muslim fundamentalists have really been thriving on the misery of their constituencies. The Christian fundies are reaping a harvest from the lower wages and higher costs of an economy structured to transfer increasing amounts of wealth from those who work to those who invest. The Muslim fundies are reaping bitter harvests that have been sown by themselves and a short sighted US foreign policy that coddles friendly dictators in the Middle East.

    When all is said and done, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The internet is a revolutionary new medium that gives humans new ways to interact with each other. But it won’t change human nature anymore than the printing press did.

    The internet provides society with a much more tightly coupled feedback mechanism: whatever the trends will be, the internet will serve to amplify and accelerate them to an extent not previously seen.

    You are quite the renaissance woman: have you ever read any of the Stoic philosophers, such as Epictetus? I bring it up, not because I believe that stoicism is the answer (however, it does have its merits), but because it reveals how long humanity has been dealing the with the issues that you have raised.

  • stm

    You’re right in that it cuts both ways. There are plenty of stories of the grief that people can cause on the Internet.

    But here is a story of how the Internet can provide support in a bleak environment:
    Long story short, there is a current outbreak in Uganda that appears to be a new strain of Ebola. I found out about this because I know one of the non-medical missionaries that works there. Friends of the volunteers found out within the day; prayers and well-wishes made it back within the day.

    Word, while not making the mainstream media, has been filtering through the blogs and Internet. A pair of doctors who are volunteering (and living there with their family) have been keeping a blog of their experiences. The recent entries have been heartbreaking, but it is uplifting to see the support they are getting from people they don’t even know.

    Would this be possible in the non-Internet era? I don’t think so. Postal-mail takes weeks to get to the States from there. Calls are expensive. So in a difficult time, they are getting immediate support from strangers and friends.
    (If interested, my name links to the doctors’ blog)

  • Mia

    Am I a bad person? I was amused that she didn’t let her kitten in. But come on, you can tell she’s not torturing it. It’s not cold or raining out there.

    I wouldn’t trust anybody’s comments on the internet unless you have a sense of the kind of person they are, whether you can rely on their judgement.

    I lol’ed at your Citizen Kane comments, I think you’re right on par and those are the types of things you’d get today if the movie had been first put on YouTube.

  • cirby

    There’s a personality type to watch for…

    The “binary person.” Things are either Really Great or Completely Horrible. They either love something or hate it.

    No grayscales, no compromises. In the past, most folks ignored them, or (in rare cases) they caused all sorts of social ills (like bad religions or organized Communism or Amway).

    So when those people saw the kitten video, the woman (for many of them) became Evil Personified, and they reacted according to their inclinations.

    You see it more and more often these days, unfortunately. Society has become forgiving enough to let these folks run around and be, well, what they are without penalty or sanction. The anonymity of the Internet makes it completely possible for these folks to dump all over someone without, for example, getting their nose broken for being a jerk (a feedback loop that used to exist in even the most civilized countries).

    Any negative reply they get now is either ignored completely (“I don’t know this person so I won’t even open the message”) or read and reacted to with hate that most folks reserve for actual evil people (instead of just Some Poor Sap who disagreed with some tiny part of the jerk’s point).

    This sort of person has a certain kind of power, and it IS useful from time to time – they can do difficult things that become necessary for societies – but when you get too many of them, and you don’t keep some controls on society to keep them in check, things can get bad, FAST… and no, it’s not on one side of the religious divide or the other – they come down in EVERY field or schism you can find. Left-wing, right-wing, vegetarians, carnivores, TV watchers and “intellectuals” who hate the tube… any faction is fair game for them to decide they’re the ones who know Right from Completely Friggin’ Evil…

  • Steve

    I know what you mean, if its your vid they are posting about, perspective can easily go right out the window. Just gotta remember that there are all kinds of ppl out there with all kinds of fucked up attitudes. If there werent we wouldnt have Nazis or muggers or the show Crank Yankers. I just try to look at hate posters as modern day prank phone callers.

  • I suppose self-esteem is a problem for many people besides me. I agree with what you said at the end – just because people are vocal, doesn’t make the right – but I think that much of the time, the mere possibility that a hater is right is enough to strike a nerve. I guess there’s always a fear that people can see right through you, and laugh at your predictability – even over the internet. I say, the key is to wholeheartedly know yourself, so you can always be sure that you are right about what you do, and the hater posting negative comments is wrong. Or, you could hack into their computer with the hope that they weigh over 300 pounds and live in their parent’s basement. We all have choices:). Peace out.

  • You forgot to credit me again 🙁

    -Your loving brother

  • cirby

    Ryon-

    You must have missed the post where she completely disowned you for being a doody-head.

  • LOLZ! WTF?!?>!? THSI ENTRY SUXORZ!!!!!1!!!!eleven!!1!

    Just kidding 😉

    My view is that the internet is still in its relative infancy, and as such it still has that novelty. Whereas before, people with esteem issues had nowhere to turn, now there is a perceived global audience who can potentially bestow validation. Of course, this is the ideal; like any community, there are tensions and conflicts. This makes the internet a double-edged sword, capable of instantly transmitting the best and worst of human nature.

    I hates it. But I loves it too.

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