Friday, February 6, 2009

Are we getting meaner?

First it started with Stephen King, when he publicly said that Stephenie Meyer wasn't a very good writer.

Then I heard about Faye Dunaway attacking Hilary Duff, saying that she wished that they'd found a real actress to do the re-make of her classic film, Bonnie and Clyde.

And she's not the only one to have choice words for a younger entertainer taking on one of her classics:  Etta James had many, many nasty things to say about Beyonce and her performance of "At Last" at the Inauguration.

So, my question is:  are we all just getting meaner?  With the internet and the blogosphere, is it that we just feel able to say whatever is on our minds, no matter how potentially hurtful to the object of our scorn?  

Or is it that the ones being attacked are so high profile that they've opened themselves up to it?  Perhaps that's a little of what's going on here:  have the ones being bashed surpassed the bashers in each of their respective fields?

Still, if you don't have to face the person who you're bashing, is it easier to bash?  Would Stephen, Faye, or Etta been as free to rant if the subject of their hatred was standing right there in front of them?  As anyone who's ever been in a writer's workshop knows, it is incredibly hard to critique the work of a person sitting across the table from you.

So, Stephen, Faye and Etta:  can't we all just get along?!


drey said...

Personally, I think interacting with technology makes people forget that there's someone on the receiving end. When you're face-to-face, you tend to temper what you say, because while most of us aren't always good we at least try to be polite.

Behind a screen though, it's easy to forget. Sure, it's nice to say what we think, but too many people stop thinking about what we say, and more especially, how it's said. I'm sure Stephen King could've said what he said, in a much less antagonistic way.

Wrighty - said...

I agree that people are braver, meaner, less thoughtful when they are sending a message rather than saying it face to face. My grandmother always said, "never say or write anything you wouldn't want to see on the front page of the paper." And that was before the internet and cell phones. Wise words. People can respectfully disagree with someone without being mean. We all have different opinions. I heard about those examples too and I thought they were ridiculous things to say and publicize. Don't we have more important things to worry about now days? Of course, that's just my opinion.

Mallory said...

I totally agree that the Internet is making us meaner. I've been attacked over the Internet somewhat anonymously in the comments of a very public blog and, another time, in a very nasty post on a (former) friend's blog. Both times, the words really stung, the latter resulting in tears and a loss of friendship.

Sometimes I think we do forget someone else is reading our words on the web and there will be a reaction, even if you can't see it happening.

Amrutha said...

did you see the news abt Rihanna and Chris Brown?

Michele Cozzens said...

Are we getting meaner? Perhaps. But I think we're actually getting BOLDER. Like SUV drivers behind tinted windows with one hand on the steering wheel and the other flipping the bird to passing drivers, the anonymity of the Internet has provided another venue for the anonymous HATERS to post negative and mean-spirited comments. Now with the celebrity authors and actors and cited in your blog putting their names on unnecessarily negative criticisms we've seen a new line crossed.

What is the point of stating these types of opinions other than to bring on self-aggrandizing publicity?

What is the point of stating these types of opinions other than to bring on self-aggrandizing publicity?

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind, I came across your blog and felt that I had to comment on this.

I don't think its people are getting meaner, I think a lot of it has to do with the attention that comes from acting out. Having some sort of "fued" or being outspoken to the point of I-want-to-slap-you-in-the-face-shut-the-hell-up. The "meaner" you are the more you'll draw the publics attention and all publicity is "good" publicity.

Do, I agree with how people are acting, no, but am I sitting at the edge of my seat wondering "What next?!?!?!",I'm not afraid to admit, yes I am.