Over the past few days I have been really depressed by some of the things I have heard and read. Let's take Earth Hour for a start. A truly harmless initiative that at best gives global warming and our wasteful lifestyles a higher profile and at worst gets people to switch off a few gadgets for an hour and save a little energy. Yet, I have been shocked, nay flabbergasted, at the level of bile spewed out on the subject on Digg/Twitter/etc. Some comments were undoubtedly written with tongue firmly in cheek, but others were poisonous, hateful and thoroughly depressing. What in our society can possibly breed that kind of individual?
Similarly, the subject of Twitter and blogging (micro or otherwise), has been much in the news of late. The reaction has been generally one of extremes, either a mass media jumping onto the bandwagon (See Sunday Observer where they have published their challenge to a number of celeb chefs to tweet a favourite recipe in 140 character or less), or, at the other extreme an editorial in the self same newspaper of such patronising twaddle it quite put me off one of my favourite Sunday morning journos. I quote from Barbara Ellen's sunday opinion (to which obviously she is entitled) on bloggers/tweeters "Every generation throws them up - painful, self-promoting bores, uber-narcissists to the nth degree, so fascinated by their every dreary, pointless move they can't believe we're not". Now to be fair, she was mostly complaining about Celebrity bloggers, in particular Ashten Kutcher and Demi Moore, but nevertheless, by association, she means us.
I pause here to wonder whether she has for a moment considered herself as a pot, going into print to call the kettle black, as before she got her more prestigious main section of the Sunday Observer Opinion Column, she made her living doing the intro section of the free colour supplement. Her column, in the main, consisted of either celebrity gossip/condemnation/envy, or more generally, writing about what kind of a day, week, holiday she was having.
If this kind of columnist thinks it is OK to be paid to write and believe that we are interested enough to read - how is that different?
And while I'm in rant mode, some of the stuff I have seen on line about Jade Goody has been unbelievable. Now for those who don't know, Jade was a young woman, ill educated and from the wrong side of the tracks, who was famous for... well...just being famous. She appeared on reality shows and was constantly in the media for no reason whatsoever. I will honestly say, I considered her to be a vile, loud-mouthed, attention seeker. However, last year she was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer and last week she died. No matter what my opinion of a person, I would not wish that on anyone. Some of the hate mail, conspiracy theories and general nastiness I have encountered over the past few weeks regarding Ms Goody has been beyond comprehension. Rest in peace Jade and well done for making enough money to ensure your children's future.
So people if you only do one thing today - BE NICE!