Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Cult of Rudeness

I've been thinking about this for most of the day -- how it's become acceptable to be rude to people, especially on the Internet where you will not have to look them in the face. We all see it in 'real life' as well -- the snobbish woman ranting to the person serving her food, the man berating a service rep for something that person has absolutely no control over. I blame a lot of it on the fact that rudeness has become a part of entertainment -- Seinfeld, American Idol, Rush Limbaugh, etc. They've helped to make it acceptable to be rude. It's funny! We can all be impolite to someone else and laugh about it now! Isn't this fun?We are all rude at some time in our lives. Things push up over our walls and we snap. It happens. People have seen me go over the edge more than once.But why do some people choose to be rude as a first choice, rather than a last?I've been reading Miss Snark's blog off and on since the first time someone posted a link at Forward Motion. She has occasional good advice, some that I shake my head at in wonder... but the entire attitude that she creates -- that it's fun to ridicule and be rude to people who come asking for her help -- absolutely amazes me -- and more so that others seem to find this a wonderful way to treat people.I suppose I'm one of those people who just doesn't get it. I've always considered rudeness to be a legal form of cruelty. You can't go up and slap someone in the face, but you can do it verbally and make them feel like shit without even getting a slap on the wrists. At Forward Motion one of the most important site rules is that you have to be polite to people. It's kept FM in generally good shape for nine years now, so I think we're doing all right. I'm glad the site has always been that way -- since long before I took over -- because it would be harder these days to keep it under control. It's becoming acceptable Internet Behavior.

And now a professional is making it even more acceptable.
I cannot imagine having someone ask me for help or information and ridiculing them for it, and encouraging others to be equally rude. Okay, maybe people who contact Miss Snark should, seriously, take time to find out more about her, and maybe most of them even expect this behavior. However.... how about the people she hunts out on the Internet so that she has more to ridicule and be rude about?I don't get it. I don't find it funny. I don't even find it particularly enlightening because I feel the rudeness overwhelms anything helpful she might be saying.

The Internet is a perfect place for rudeness. You don't have to deal face-to-face with the person on the other side of the blog, email or post. You don't have to be polite because there's no payment for being rude, and rude is more fun. Rude makes a person feel superior to all the people proclaimed nitwits or clueless. That's one of the reasons the big rule on Forward Motion is that you can discuss the writing, but not the person. It's easier to be rude than to be helpful.

I don't think rude is funny. I obviously don't think it's particularly helpful, either.

Entertaining? Yes, for some people. But all-in-all, if I had a question, I'd go to someone offering helpful pointers than to someone making fun of others. Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

Gothamgal (Nicole K) said...

I hear you on this. I just read the Power of Nice (for BzzAgent) a few months ago, and it was a nice inspiring way to remember to conquer the world with kindness.

I saw your blog through the FM group, and I really liked this entry--you're not alone. It seems like people are a little less kind lately. Try to find the book and see if you can pass the power of nice onto someone. :-)