By Rachel Birdsell
TFW Contributing Writer
This is the first in a two-part series of my love-hate relationship with the Internet.
I have been a user of the Internet since 1996. Saying that I love it would be an understatement. Take away my Internet and I would most certainly panic, cry and possibly need a hypodermic filled with something that will make everything all warm and fuzzy. I’ve made good (and sometimes bad) use of the web since that magical day in ‘96 when I first heard the lovely scratchy siren call of dial up.
Now I spend a lot of my time online reading various news sites and blogs. Invariably, no matter how interesting the article or post is, the comments are more entertaining. I find myself reading page after page of comments, enthralled by what my fellow humans have to say on a given subject. If what we as individuals say, is a direct reflection of what we are as a whole, then we’re in trouble, America, because as individuals we can be a bunch of brainless a-holes.
Recently, this 2009 photograph of President Obama giving a fist bump to a member of the White House’s cleaning crew flashed across my Facebook feed. The comments made on the photo were pretty reflective of the craziness of our fellow Internetians. As I read through the comments, I realized the comments from normal people were outnumbered by the comments left by the aforementioned a-holes.
Here’s an imaginary comment panel about this photo that parodies the usual suspects found in the comment section, complete with grammatical atrocities. I’m sure you’ll recognize a commenter or two.
The Not News Guy: Why is this even being posted? It’s not news. Why aren’t you writing about the plight of the white-winged, pileated, scowling barn heron?
The Photo Expert: It’s obvious that they ‘shopped the janitor in. I can tell by the pixels. I should know; my uncle’s a photographer.
The Drama Student: It’s not Photoshopped, but it is staged. They’re all staged.
The Only Sane Person: I think it’s a great pic of our Commander in Chief. It’s a spontaneous image of a cool moment.
Rabid Republican: Why is this a big deal? President Bush fist-bumped a lot of people when he was in office and it didn’t make the news. You dems are idiots.
The Only Sane Person: I think you mean that Bush fisted a lot of people when he was in office.
Conspiracy Theorist: This wasn’t “just” a fist bump. It was a “secret fist bump” that symbolizes the impending “alliance” between the “Muslim Brotherhood” and the “Mexican” cartel.
The Only Sane Person: Why are so many of your words in quotation marks?
Conspiracy Theorist: It’s so “they” won’t be able to “track” my “Internet” activity.
Pessimist #1: The President shouldn’t be fist bumping the help. How undignified.
Pessimist #2: If Obama really cared, he would have hugged the guy. Is he afraid to get his fancy suit dirty?
The Only Sane Person: So, no matter what Obama does, he can’t win, can he?
Racist: this is what happens when you put a black guy in the white house theres a reason its called the WHITE house THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN!!!!
The Sane Guy: The Civil War was over a long time ago, dude. Get over it.
Religious Freak: This is what happens when you take prayer out of school and teach EVILution.
The Sane Guy: WTF? What does any of that have to do with this photo?
PC Militant: You are all cretins. The man is a custodial engineer, not a janitor.
The Guy Stuck in 1999: Any of you ladies wanna private chat? A/S/L me.
Armchair Immigration Agent: He’s an illegal immigrant … and the janitor probably is, too. Kick ‘em both out of OUR AMERICA.
Rabid Republican: LMAO! Good one.
The Only Sane Person: You do realize that the President is a US citizen and we’re here because our ancestors stole land from the Native Americans, right?
Rabid Republican: We didn’t steal no land. We bought it from them. Besides I’m a quarter Cherokee and your still a idiot.
Ron Paul Supporter: Ron Paul will never fist bump a janitor, because when he becomes President, there won’t be any janitors at the White House. He’ll do it all himself. RON PAUL 2012!!!!!
Homophobe: This is the President who said it was okay for gays to be in the military. What’s next? People marrying their ceiling fan?
The Only Sane Person: I give up.
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer, artist and semiprofessional cat wrangler. Feel free to drop her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.