All it takes is to delve slightly into the comments section of news websites to soon realise the sheer amount of bile out there – and I’m not even including the Twitter-verse. Facebook pages and the horror-show of on-line gaming networks. People, including myself, like to blame the anonymity of the internet providing these cowards with a shield for their personal reputation. But given that the right-wing op-eds of this country and others are full of proudly public haters, I’m beginning to think that something else is happening.
Our culture has fallen into the habit of hating and as a result, it is becoming more and more acceptable to simply just hate the guts out of anyone or anything. It’s not that much of a surprise seeing as the process of recognising a trigger, building into anger and then venting can be quite satisfying* (aka escalation, explosion, post-explosion). The problem is that it is also addictive and the more often an anger response is initiated when a trigger is recognised, the more automatic the response becomes. With frequent anger events, the time between trigger and venting gets shorter and shorter until before you know it, you’re a rageaholic.
So far, much of the movement in anger management has focussed on off-line rage and for good reason. But given the prevalence of hate on the internet, the ill effects hate has on the hater (and on others) and the likelihood of on-line hate facilitating off-line rage, I imagine it is just a matter of time before the anger management people recognise how much a problem our habit of hating has become.
* I’m prone to seeing red on the sight of Tony Abbot’s features and caught myself uncontrollably swearing the other day just at the thought of him, so I’m speaking from experience here.