You know where I'm going with this.
Okay. The other day, I had an online exchange with someone who violently disagreed with something that I wrote. Fine. Everyone has their own experiences and thoughts. It's perfectly reasonable to expect them to have opinions that may differ from our own. Isn't this how it should be? It's how we learn and grow. No?
Anyway, during my exchange with this person, they resorted to name calling. The name doesn't matter, but suffice to say, it was meant as an insult. Indeed it was.
Upon dealing with this downright rudeness, numerous things came to mind:
1. Was I back in high school? Not even high school. Middle school?
2. You called me what? Oh no you didn't!
3. Am I dreaming and perhaps I'm on an episode of "The Real Husbands of Hell?" Is this my horrible reality television show moment … but in real life?
4. Honestly, what's going on in this individual's life? This person clearly has a deeper issue than merely something I wrote. Is this their inner frustration about some unfulfilled dream coming to a head?
5. Has our society come to this? Are we really in the place where we feel it's perfectly fine to insult polite strangers on the internet? Needless to say, many are saying, "Hell Yeah! Let's ALL do it!"
I have a theory about some people and society ... especially in our wretched, reality television world. Here it is. Many people will sink to the level they feel they can get away with. What this means is that if you know you can get away with insulting a stranger online, you'll do it because ... what recourse do they have? They cannot really "come after you," so why not take a verbal jab at them?
It's one thing to write something in an article or essay where you're actually offering social commentary. It's quite another to call an individual a name. If we claim to be intelligent, sophisticated, culturally and art-minded people, then let's live up to it.
In short, in our contemporary society, name calling doesn't make the cut. When you resort to name calling, you're actually lowering yourself. You're making yourself look like an amateur who can't hang in the big leagues.
It’s so easy to be rude to strangers on the internet. You can do whatever you wish, but when I’m online, I make an extra attempt to be polite. In addition to being an ambassador for contemporary art and culture, I’m an ambassador for myself.
When you resort to name calling, you're making yourself look like a seven-year-old who sticks out their tongue, stamps their feet and gives you the finger. Really?
When you resort to name calling, you make the clear decision to swim with pigs in the mud. Have you ever seen a pig in the mud? I'm talking actual pigs. They love slop.
I'm not a pig and neither are you, dear reader. Let's raise the level of our game. When you resort to name calling, you’ve just lost the whole thing for yourself. You just told the other person that name calling is all you've got left. You are less than formidable and you’re certainly not kind-hearted.
Let's NOT name call. Contemporary art needs us and doesn't it deserve better?