The internet. On the face of it, it’s this wonderful technological achievement that will endlessly astound you, much the same way one might try to fathom the boundlessness of an ever expanding, eternal universe. My phone can tell me the barometric pressure in Eastern Mongolia in 0.016 of a second, which is a million times more impressive than anything anybody’s kid said at school today.
The problem with the internet is that most people are idiots. Most people who are reading this article are stupid. Most people who are reading this article have been in an argument with a stranger online.
I have. I once got in an argument on YouTube with a bloke who went from disagreeing with my opinion to going on an expletive-laden rant with homophobic overtones. The video involved? A FIFA ’09 tutorial.
Since then, I stay away from engaging or replying to angry trolls over the internet. In fact, I don’t even like it in real life. I don’t like confrontation. Some people seem to revel in it, but I just want everyone to get along and will appease more often than argue.
Some things are worth fighting for. Freedom from oppression, women’s and children’s rights, equality. Some things are not worth fighting over. Which next-gen platform is better for gaming, what colour Ricky Martin’s shirt was on The Voice last night or what you’d do to Justin Bieber – and that’s 96% of the internet.
But this isn’t anything groundbreaking. There are probably a million articles about this that can make a more poignant point, but I want to focus on the constant anger that we read every single day.
Luis Suarez’s bite sparked this column – and specifically, what people posted online in response to it. One bloke this morning wrote “I hope his children get Hep. C” (a bizarrely specific wish), while another said “I hope he goes to jail and gets raped every single day for the rest of his life.”
My inconsequential opinion on the incident is that biting is a really weird thing to do but it’s not nearly as intolerable as performing a leg-breaking tackle, head-butting, eye-gouging, match-fixing or drug-cheating. I think his ban is over the top, but it’s understandable. The incident itself, however, is irrelevant. The constant anger isn’t.
“He belongs in a zoo with that faggot, Ricky Martin” – one YouTube comment reads.
“This is not typical HUMAN behavior, he should be banned for LIFE” – another comment on the same YouTube video.
“He needs to have the shit kicked out of him, in the mouth. Break his teeth off. The most disgraceful human ever!” – some bloke on Twitter.
“Suarez is an unethical asshole, a fucking retard and a psychopath. If he bit me I’d put holes in his fucking face with my boot and make him eat his teeth” – more gold from an unnamed keyboard warrior.
Blokes with smartphones. What’s the point of writing that? What is the actual point? This is all in relation to a Uruguayan bloke who put his teeth on an Italian bloke’s shoulder in a city in Brazil. This is the reaction.
This isn’t the reaction to 219 Nigerian schoolgirls being kidnapped; this isn’t the reaction to another senseless mass-shooting in the US, or the oppression of a minority. This is about a football match.
I love sport. I love everything about it and I love talking about it. I would watch competitive snail racing if the odds were decent and it was screened in stunning HD. But surely some things are worth getting so angry about. Some of this specific reaction seems particularly ridiculous given that I’ve seen (on my own Facebook newsfeed) people who I know have never watched a game of soccer in their lives wage their own completely overblown opinion on this.
I don’t post about foreign-economic policy because I don’t know anything about foreign economic policy. If I did, I would come across as stupid and uninformed. Evidently a lot of other people don’t share the same filter.
Anger. It’s everywhere. Especially on Twitter and Facebook. Hard to express on Instagram, I suppose. Anger is an emotion that can reallyonly ever make you look bad.
If a potential employer looks you up in a year’s time, trust me, it’s better to be pleading for sexual equality than saying Luis Suarez should be raped in jail. Keep that in mind during your next tweet.
By Ian Higgins