The internet has always been rife with intolerance, be it through overt hate groups that only exist to shoot certain double G’d words around and outside their communities, or through bitter, seeping-through-their-teeth disgust – pushed deep under the veil of liberalism only to emerge in a joke. But more recently, hatred seems to have pulled more of its gruesome body out from some electronic sewer grate; taking a place on a pedestal and helicoptering its malformed penis for all to see. Has this always been the case, and I’ve only just noticed it at this level? And how did I miss that giant malformed penis of hatred that my analogy suggested?
Most of Europe’s population will have been informed that 2014’s instalment of Eurovision was conquered by Austria (much to the disdain of my £5 on The Netherlands) in the form of lungs-of-steel Conchita Wurst; a drag queen sporting a pretty great beard. ‘Tolerance, Love, and Acceptance’ was the primary focus of Miss Wurst’s campaign – other than, of course, winning the competition. And I couldn’t be prouder of o Europe for their acceptance.
‘But Ben’, I hear you say. ‘It’s been over two weeks since the finale of Eurovision now. This description of events is hardly topical’. Of course not. It’s been ages now since it finished, but looking into the immediate comments of a Wurst-related social media post will net you with a goldmine of seething hostility. In the comments for the announcement of Wurst’s possible collaboration with multicostumed sensation Lady Gaga, I was instantly greeted with “Burn this planet!”, “’Him’ not ‘her’ !!”, “shame on europe” and many other countless pieces of nonsense that seem to expand into the loft expansion of infinity. Might I repeat this is nearly two weeks after the event itself ended – have these people spent this time loitering on the page to express their disapproval in every post? Do they still have the tiny shred of hope in their withered hearts that the Eurovision committee, on seeing the collection of anti-Wurst anger, will suddenly turn around and say ‘You’re right, transvestitism is an abomination!’ before going back in their hypothetical time machine, powered by my own exaggerated point-making, to amend this disastrous mistake before it tears Europe apart by parents not wanting to bother explaining Conchita Wurst to their children. It’s not like Eurovision is already the campest thing on television anyway.
Facebook is rife with misinformed intolerance to particular groups, and it’s much easier to spot in the dawn of social media because different groups are coming together to share the same website, and their proximity to others and ease of appearing on unaffiliated newsfeeds gives them away, whereas before they would have gathered on a niche Invasionfree website or something while being too shy of internetfolk to voice these poisonous opinions outside of it. For instance, the Facebook page ‘Britain First’ has been arriving on my newsfeed more and more with every time a distant friend Likes, or comments on, any of their pictures – and I am exposed to opinions as badly researched as mine. ‘SUPPORT OUR PENSIONERS NOT IMMIGRANTS !’, Britain First cries out to the heavens in the caption of its infographic, which tells us these bluddy immagrents are ‘living in Britain off a total yearly benefit [of] £29,900’. Of course, the very same Illegal immigrants are not entitled to benefits, much less the random number they specified (they cited The Daily Mail as their primary source, so draw your own opinions there).
So has the hatred of the masses been increased so rapidly in recent times, or have I only just begun to notice them? Are these opinions rising to the top, like a hateful cream? Social issues will probably always be a problem, but it’s up to people themselves to learn to accept that society won’t be the fantasy image of the white nuclear family bringing their pipe-smoking father his slippers and newspaper in the morning. Is the ability to adapt not what got humans this far in the first place?