Posts Tagged ‘Politics and the Internet’

Politics and The Internet: Hyperboles are Dishonest and Deceptive Metaphors

11. September 2016

There is a tendency to make the most extreme comparisons and to take the most extreme positions on all issues for the sake of appearing different, for attention, for profit, for effect and for a sense of community. This is dishonest but for the most inconsequential, fun and amusing to watch even when you are not part of it. It is a catharthic exercise  to relieve stress but like catarthic activity at some point it becomes hard to say which feelings are contrived and which views are real. I think there is a need to be more straightforward in times likes these.

Sometimes I felt no conviction in my writing and no honesty in my hatred when I was part of the internet atheist and skeptic community. It all felt so rehersed and exagerrated.  It felt like our enemies were scare crows propped up to instill hatred to create a sense of community, to forge tribalism. I believe the same has happened to those on the other side of the argument. It’s the same everwhere- the fans and the haters – I was going to say “going at each others throats” but that would have been an hyperbole or perhaps  just an overused metaphor. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. It is a form of speicialized virtue signaling that caters to online communities. But ultimately only provides a temporary fix for a sense of belonging by binding it to a trend on the internet.

I do not intent to overstate the significance of the interenet on pollitics in a post about hyperboles on the internet. The way that humans act on the internet and in real life is different, at least in the non-autistic part of humanity. However the anonymity of the interenet allows individuals to forge a new identity for themselves and the affiliations that go with it. So long as somebody remains anonymous the internet will judge on their opinions and this can be both an inhibiting and facilitating factor to honesty in discourse. For instance I consider myself part of the anime community, I have certain opinions about Japanese animations but how many of them are my own and how many of them have I gradually shifted inorder to fit into the anime community or better put to feel part of the anime community. Everything from the kind of words I use (whether it is broken Japanese or standard English) to the opinions I have is significantly affected (I was going to say “dependent on” but that would have been an hyperbole) on my affiliation to the community. This isn’t to say that we must keep away from all communities and therefore all external opinions but only that we should always strive to maintain an indipendent mind. The best we can do is be conscious about the words we use and whether we actually mean them and to forgo if other people in the “community” will think of them.

I think the exeption to my criticisms is satire, like Spitting Image and Yes, Minister.  Satire can never go too far though it should strive to. I just used two British examples because they are very good but also because it makes me feel  British. Is there something wrong with that? No, as long as I acually think that they are two of the best examples I have got then it  isn’t wrong.

But then what about people understating things, using very bad metaphors also known as euphemisms, for apologia- well that isn’t as prevalent in the internet as hyperboles though it certainly not absent, is a topic for another post and for another night. I need to go to sleep. Good night. Now let’s look for an image for this post. Ah that looks just right.