The question that I ask myself when folks fret over what they claim is their personal space in social media, as if it were their private fiefdom and abode, that they bought paying a few million. Worse still, social media have brought about a paradigm shift in the definition of friends and friendship. That sucks. It really sucks!
My understanding is there are no written rules in social media but civility and keeping away gauche is an established conduct that users must bear in mind. Civility doesn’t mean being tacit in face of conventional narratives or being mute when encountered with strong opposition to opinions, nor does it mean indulging in language and opinions which are not only gauche but utterly fit for the sewage tank.
A few years ago Karan Thappar interviewed two well-known political figures- the two who came to prominence, one by her association with a political icon but later carving a niche for herself and notoriously too; the other rode into fame through sheer shenanigans that were examples of infamy and full of guile. Karan Thappar’s prodding interview was too much for the man to handle that it must have been like strapped to the electric chair and bombarded with high volts of electric. He gave up unable to stand scrutiny that Karan Thappar attempted through his questions and he fumbled to pull out his lapel mike, drank a glass of water and escaped looking miserable and disheveled. The woman fought back with arrogance though her discomfiture was there to see. Many who sympathised with her accused Thappar of fielding uncomfortable questions.
What irked me was the allegation against Thappar and that he was uncivil to a lady and for incessantly prodding in the interview. The question is when you are a politician it is like being on social media and your past and present conduct & words are scrutinised. If you cannot stand up to that well quit -it is at your peril if you do not. Is it wise to blame the interviewer for asking inconvenient questions?
Likewise if one choose to be on social media and expresses one’s opinion he or she must be prepared to take accolades and brickbats with equanimity. To frown, fret, fume and cry foul when countered with disagreements and varied opinions is nonsensical and silly. One must either be able to handle it with reason and élan or must accept to be a sore loser; one can perhaps even consider changing one’s opinion in face of substantiation and reason and that is not vain in any way. But to hold on to one’s contention peevishly accusing the whole world of being unfair and uncivil is childish obstinacy.
Some folks cannot stand satire and sarcasm. Sarcasm is more or less the sine qua non of argumentation. That, particularly in the Kerala milieu! Being impish about that is infantile. Unfortunately lamenting about hurt sentiments is a national pastime and an unworthy pursuit zealously followed these days. This is when any opinion that is against the popular narrative is considered offensive and that is absolutely superfluous and primitive.
What I strongly feel is persuasions do matter. We form opinions based on our awareness and knowledge that we strive for and acquire. It is when blinkers are put and an inane bullheadedness & refusal to see fresh avenues and opinions blind us that we fret. We fret when the comparative cocoon of our long held beliefs and judgments, our bias and with it our comfort is threatened. We would rather be an infantile infliction than be a matured being who is willing to change his ideas and opinions when encountered by reason, and fresh idea, however foreign it may seem. Is there something belittling in accepting that we were wrong and yes, thankfully the new awareness helped us? Faith & creed, political leanings and cultural fancies are crutches that we latch on obstinately and often unwisely.
If I do not appreciate a strong opinions and a strong critical definition of my opinion, I feel I must not air the opinion in public. For if I air it in public, I must be prepared for critical evaluation, else I must stay shut.
Unfortunately in the times we live the social fabric has been so corroded that a narrative or opinion that is not acceptable to the popularly held belief is frowned upon and even rubbished in feral ways. We just do not want to let go our belief systems and come out of the comfort zone we are cocooned in. For that we wail, we cry offense and then if all that fails we fume, for our vain pride takes the better of our being!
“Vanity dies hard; in some obstinate cases it outlives the man.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)