Somebody Said The Wrong Thing On The Internet


Somebody recently misspoke on the internet: using an incorrect term, making a problematic joke, expressing an opinion that did not fit in closely enough with official societal norms.

Perhaps it was an off-hand comment impulsively tweeted without close scrutiny of the political implications, or perhaps the person in question meant well, but did not have a full enough understanding of the issue at hand.

Maybe they meant every word they said and are unrepentant.

It’s also possible that this person had created something—an article, a book, a TV show—that incorporated some of the potential faux pas enumerated above. This is just as bad an offense as actually misspeaking on the Internet—especially if the person does not possess the good sense and humility to denounce themselves and their own work immediately, but instead tries to say anything in their defense.

Somebody said the wrong thing on the internet, and he or she had to be condemned by the totality of the internet-using public. This had to happen as soon as possible—usually spearheaded by at least one eagle-eyed person skilled at taking words out of context from an interview, or using their influence to condemn a particular tweet or Facebook posting and direct others into an organized online mob.

The prevailing point of view is that the person who misspeaks—or, “mis-creates”—must no longer have a forum of communication with the public. This is, of course, for the public good, to protect the world from intolerant people with wrongheaded opinions. Any one infraction can be “read into” as speaking to the totality of the person’s character in general; and that person, of course, should not be allowed to be around other people and infect them with their viewpoints.

That is why the suggested course of action, when dealing with the person who said the wrong thing on the internet, is to not only publicly condemn them en masse with hundreds and perhaps even thousands of angry public messages—but then the problematic person must not be allowed to continue to have employment. And they should be forced from their homes, if at all possible. They must be continually condemned and chased out of society, until which point the collective attention span switches to something else like perhaps the new Adele single.

To actually destroy the existing problematic creative works of particular persons who misspoke may actually be a little harder. Pressuring distributors to recall publications or pull movies—perhaps as part of a coordinated boycott or national outrage—is one method. To destroy works published online is a bit more difficult, for even if the original article is taken down, the words themselves have infected the cybersphere. Here is where “gaming” search engines to simply omit the offending material might be helpful.

At any rate, the prevailing goal is that the offending voice must be shut down. This is how we protect others and maintain a progressive society. No infraction, no matter how seemingly slight, must be overlooked—but instead swiftly and publicly condemned without mercy. This is done for the greater good. Serious debates regarding the problematic content are out of the question, as that only legitimizes and humanizes the offender.

That is: this is what my observation is regarding the prevailing zeitgeist. Please do not interpret anything I, your humble wordsmith, have written as any evidence of possibly problematic mindcrimes. I am blank, a blank slate. I merely parrot. Don’t worry: my thoughts are pure.

More to read about on Butterfly Language:
Revenge Of The “Nerds” And The Shaming Of Shia LaBeouf
The Year Of The Mask: Geek Will Eat Itself
Ian Malcolm Explains How Banning Sub-Reddits Will Lead To The Eventual Regulation of the Entire Internet And Global Chaos