‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.’

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Thumper’s Law. Social media is full of people sniping at people, often at strangers, sometimes (and I can’t decide if this is more or less disturbing) at friends. This sniping ranges from the IMHO spattered disagreements about a stance on politics/feminism/social behaviour to the directed and malicious attacks on people based on their race or gender or something else that is a ludicrous reason to target someone for an attack.
I started to think about it the other day when Laurie Penny received a spurt of one star reviews on Amazon. I was thinking that even if the writers of those reviews refuted the fact that they were trolling and argued that they had read and disliked her book I just don’t see the point of a nasty review. Just put the book/that writer into the category in your head where things you don’t like go. And leave it there.
Then I was looking at the endless abuse that Stan Collymore gets. Hateful, racist abuse, death threats, threats to his family. And why? Because he’s black? Because he played for a club you hated? Because he wasn’t very nice to Ulrika Jonsson? I had some twitter users retort that he says bad things too. Hypocrisy! Again why can’t we block, or unfollow? Or tut and shake our heads in that incredibly British way? Why must we resort to hurling despicable abuse?
And then there is the arguments that take place on every Facebook & Twitter thread every minute of every day. Between ‘friends’ or at least our friend’s friends. These people that we think are SO WRONG that we have to throw insults and abuse and write really quite hurtful things until that person is sat looking at their computer screen in tears. And why? To what means. By shouting someone down on the internet are we making ourselves feel good? Are we blazing a path for truthtellers everywhere regardless of the casualties? Or are we just being mean. For no reason. Because the protection of sitting behind a keyboard makes us feel anaesthetised to the effects of our words.
Come on people, we are all human, please let’s think twice before we attack one another. Let’s all be Thumper and if we don’t have something nice to say then let’s not say nothin’ at all.

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