Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wasted Wednesday: The Hypocrisy of Tumblr

The world is full of hypocrisy and so is the internet and blogs, but Tumblr is one blogging website that seems to top them all.  The same way reading the book White Noise on a kindle would be an oxymoron, preaching love on Tumblr would be an oxymoron since those who do it go on to show hate directly afterward and act like their opinion is the end all, be all.  I believe in opinions.  Heck, my entire blog is an opinion.  However, it is not the opinions that anger me.  It is the way opinions are expressed here on Tumblr that are directly hateful unlike the love the blogs preach.  This can be seen through anonymous messages, the presidential debate of 2012, and how bloggers reply to their anonymous messengers. 
Let's address the biggest issue first, and when I say biggest issue I mean the most discussed issue on the Tumblr community - anonymous messages or "anons".  Tumblr has a feature, for those of you who may not be aware, called the ask box where users can write to bloggers in response to their posts.  Some Tumblr blogs have the feature of allowing anonymous users to write to the blogger.  In other words, their identity is hidden and like so many other features of the internet, this gives a person power hiding behind a computer screen.  So anons come and may have an opinion but do not want to get hate because of it.  They may come to leave kind words but prefer to remain unknown.  Or they come to leave insults and not get hate because of this.  They would rather keep up the act that they are good people as if this message they are sending that isn't labeled with their name erases it from their moral clock.  Let me make one thing clear for all of those users who are too insecure for their own good - you are not only hurting the person you are writing to but you are also hurting yourself.  Now let's move on to the issue of abusing the privilege of the ask box by becoming anonymous to insult.  To all of you who have done this or plan to do this, stop when you go to the ask box and think about the damage and weight your words hold.  Words matter!  Christianity itself is based on the bible - a bunch of powerful words!  Words have the power to influence.  Next, do not think yourself big enough to insult someone because it is you who is small.  Atticus Finch says in To Kill A Mockingbird, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."  Do not stoop down because you think you understand this person.  You do not.  You may understand the outer layers of the situation and you may even understand the roots as to why the person is blogging about certain things.  I once saw a girl delete her Tumblr because of the hate messages from anons she was receiving.  I wanted to help her but she would not hear it from me or anyone.  Her mind was set and she deleted her Tumblr and I only pray she is okay now.  No one has a right to insult because they disagree.  If the internet taught us anything, it is to be careful with our words and learn to disagree in a friendly way. 
On to the next issue - the presidential debate of 2012 between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.  Months before the election, I knew where Tumblr stood on the political scale.  Tumblr, for the most part, is a democratic/liberal "society".  Now, I am not a believer of labels especially when it comes to politics.  However, Tumblr users took this debate to an extreme in which ignorance ruled all and I became sick just looking at the posts.  I saw posts such as "reblog if you think Mitt Romney should have jumped off a cliff" and "Mitt Romney is shit".  This once again ties into Atticus's quote.  First of all, insults like these are just plain uncalled for.  How can these Tumblr blogs post about hate toward a person if they preach love?  It is an oxymoron and it is hypocrisy.  Second of all, let's turn the tables and say there were posts that said these things about Obama.  Tumblr would freak out!  They would cry, "how dare we have so much hate on Tumblr?" or "you are all heartless" or something alone those lines.  So let me get this straight - it is okay to insult Mitt Romney but not President Obama?  Yes, tell me again Tumblr about the love you preach.  If it is wrong to throw out death threats to one person, it is wrong to throw them out at ANY person! 
Finally, I want to talk again about the anon asks but this time I am turning the tables.  I want to discuss how bloggers respond to the hate they receive.  This, to me, is the biggest issue on Tumblr that does not get enough criticism.  It is not just anons that can hate.  I don't know if it was Robin Hood who taught us that just as he stole from the rich like the rich stole from others, we can show hate to those who show hate to others.  There is one specific Tumblr in which I see hateful replies to messages constantly.  This user acts as if she has the right to insult everyone who says something remotely disagreeable to her.  She says that she is telling it how it is which is such a huge lie to herself.  Sometimes she receives messages from anons who are not even insulting her but merely pointing things out to her and trying to peacefully speak with her and she will not have it.  My lesson number one will be this - learn to listen to some of the constructive criticism you receive!  These people may just be right!  In order for us to grow as people, we have to let go of pride and learn to listen to each other and sometimes this means changing our ways in which we may not understand right away.  Second - this user I have centered, and many others, seem to think that swearing and flipping out will make them look like the tough guy and that they are confident in themselves.  Let me take you to a video called F*** You Stephen King in which an angry Twilight fan insults Stephen King because of his criticism for the Twilight saga and uses many swear words to convey her loose point as to why Stephen King is wrong about Twilight.  There were many response videos made to this video and two stood out (1) (2) to me in particular.  Each user says basically the same thing to this girl  - that swearing and yelling will not get your point across and that her ignorance was clearly apparent - very similar to the responses Tumblr users make toward the criticism they receive and also the hate.  The first user states, "You, you are attacking, um Mr. King in fact because you are, you are simply saying f*** you and your reasons for this bold statement are, they're not valid to be honest.  They are pretty pitiful reasons.  So, if anyone is the attacker out of everyone involved here it is yourself, not Stephen King...if you're going to post, you know, a video about your, um, feelings towards the matter stop swearing! cause you're not going to be taken seriously...just calm down."  The second user says, "what authority do you [original video poster] carry when you say that Stephen King should eff off?  Are you an English major?  Have you studied countless works, have you analyzed works for stylistic devices?  Um, I mean if you are, if you're a real authority on the English language and literature then let me know, really.  Although I do doubt an expert on something like this would tell a famous author to eff off.  I find that hard to believe...I do believe you're letting your emotions get ahead of's great that you have a book you like...but I think your love for that book is blinding you into saying these harsh things about someone you haven't really come to understand...and anger is a fascinating emotion but only when directed through the right area when expressed in a calm, reasonable manner.  With all the swear one's going to take your argument seriously."  In addition to these statements, do not be ignorant.  No one on this earth can claim to know all knowledge and just because it is your Tumblr page does not make you higher up than a person commenting. 
Now that I have listed this hypocrisy, what does this mean?  It means that if Tumblr wants to talk about the suicide rates and how people should be ashamed of themselves for being bullies, they need to also look at their own actions and words.  Stop pointing fingers.  I will go as far to say that even I used to hide behind my computer screen and say nasty things to people who were nasty to me.  I never felt good about it but I only reacted instead of taking a step back to evaluate the situation. Our world, especially America, sits upon this idea of revenge and we seem to go along with it.  Let me tell you something, all of this revenge does not equal love just like school shootings do not equal love.
What Tumblr needs is what they have been preaching.  LOVE.  It is so simple yet human beings seem to do the exact opposite.  As J.K. Rowling says, "Humans have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them."  I am not so bold as to say I am not at fault sometimes.  I know that I need some fixing up in my life and I am learning how to take criticism, how to be honest, and how to love.  I am just sick of all of the hypocrites.  I am sick of reading about why gay marriage should be legal because there is too much hate yet those same people who want "equality" are not equal to their fellow human beings.  If we are to respect your beliefs, you have to respect ours.  It is not a one way street.  Stop being selfish and take a step back, breathe, and stop thinking about yourself but instead how you can serve others.  That is true love.  And learn to forgive.  In an interview between Colleen Ballinger's alter ego, Miranda Sings, and a young child named Bailey, Miranda asks how to deal with the "haters" and Bailey responds, "Forgive them."  It is time to take a step back to innocence I think.
As Charlie says in one of Tumblr's favorite books The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you are not a sad story!  So listen to Charlie and stop acting like a sad story.  Learn from Harry Potter.  I will end with a confession I saw on the Harry Potter confessions.  "I think most of us forget how horrible Harry's life was and judge him too soon.  I don't know for you, but he was perfect the way he was.  The way he was treated and how amazing friend and human being he turned out is fascinating."

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