Over time, I’ve come to feel that the Internet has morphed into some kind of substitute ‘fairy-land’.
On here, we often become who we wish to be. We paint ourselves as someone that we are not, and we substitute our real identity with this creation; An avatar of ourselves, which doesn’t always reflect who we look like from the outside, but often reflects what we look like from the inside.
I remember from years ago hearing a term called ‘Yahoo inches’. This term talked about how men often referred to their penis online as being much, much bigger than it was in real life. It point out that the size of the penis was more important to them than it often was to the women they were talking to, but none the less they still continued with a lie that was only about lying to themselves.
Below the waves that we surf every day, there is a writhing and slimy pool of primordial development; the seeds of the future of the evolution of how we live in this new virtual environment. Talking about this has become my key focus of this blog. And some of the things I see are truly disturbing.
The internet has allowed us to communicate with each other like never before. As such, it has fulfilled the almost insatiable appetite that we have as humans to be heard and understood, even though often we have absolutely nothing to say.
So we often fill the void with our deepest, darkest fantasies. These fantasies are often derived from our most primal urges; sex, violence and need for control of our lives and environment.
It’s when I come across stuff like the following that I find myself wincing at the screen.
This is from a group simply called ‘Patriots’.
The group itself is pretty much a nothing group. It doesn’t seem to have any particular focus other than calling for the beer goggled Australian view of culture to be reinstated, while making some kind of token support of ‘our troops’. As you can see by the photo it isn’t particularly popular.
But just recently a dramatic blood filled photo (well two photos actually) made an appearance. The first picture shows a boy inadvertently kicking a girl in the face. It appears to be a genuine mistake that’s happened during a bit of horsing around, but the consequences are clear for all to see in the next photograph.
Clearly upset and not receiving treatment for the incident, the girl is photographed with blood streaming down her face, appearing upset at being forced to do so. Standing next to her is the boy that kicked her, smiling absurdly either because of pride at beating this girl or from sheer dumbfounded embarrassment.
But it’s the attached ‘captions’ to this photograph, albeit really just two, which really makes me wretch. Is the picture poster laughing at the accident? Or are they laughing at the violence to a woman. There’s nothing to suggest that they are the latter specifically, but the proceeding comment (a suggested caption) certainly suggests otherwise.
This comment is supposed to be funny, but in reality turns this whole photo into a statement trivialising violence against women. Is this the first thing that this guy thought about when he saw this photo? As the comment doesn’t seem to be particularly considered, it would suggest that it was indeed the first thing that came to mind. After all, he was so quick on the keyboard that he needed to return to add in the passive aggressive tail ending to the comment.
This is far from the worst example of this kind of thing. But we’re talking about a facebook page here that claims to be promoting the supposed iconic things that define Australian culture, and I assume by the title being patriotic about it. Freedoms that our military have apparently fought (and died) to uphold.
Let’s head on over to ‘The Anti-Bogan‘ blog.
Here, there’s plenty of examples of calls for violence against people of other religions and genders, as well as homosexuals and other alternative lifestylers.
The first two in this photo are Queensland Health employees, one of which may have patient contact, or work in patient areas.
Again, this is only a small example of the kind of violence that is lived out online. But it is an active example of what is actually happening inside the heads of people using these online forums.
The more passive signs of what kind of fantasies are being acted out in the online fairy-land is to look at the kind of pornography that is being consumed, large scale, online. Most of it consists of aggressive, often violent acts of intercourse where women appear to be more used as tools than lovers. Little respect is shown, and more and more frequently extreme disrespect is something that is becoming the norm. These act out the same sexual, violent and controling fantasies for the consumers, possibly allowing them to indulge in their fantasies without having to actually say a word, or leave the comfort of their mouse.
But really it’s a long stretch to claim that everyone looking at a porn site is indulging in violent fantasies. But in reality we don’t understand how many actually do, and why.
Often people that speak out against this violence are accused of treading on someone else’s ‘freedom of speech’. Sometimes these accusations become threats of violence in themselves. And on rare occasions, these threats become real world problems as men and sometimes women take their online fantasies and try to live it in the real world.
What can be done?
This is the hardest question to answer. In our community the threat against ‘freedom of speech’ often resonates as an attack against our freedoms. Yet many in our community aren’t mature or considered enough to distinguish the difference between these freedoms and the incitement of violence or hate-speech.
These are people acting against our community. These are people who are turning neighbour against neighbour. They are raising their children with disrespect to anyone that isn’t their gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. While the world is evolving technologically at an amazing rate, these are people that are de-evolving our ability to work in a diverse and complicated world while they live out an increasingly perverse series of fantasies that the ever advancing tools in our society are giving them to do so.
What we need most is to start to understand why it is happening, and stop pretending that it doesn’t happen and doesn’t have an impact on our community. Advances in our communication ability has allowed this to happen in our society, it’s time our society advansed as well.