I could mourn the loss of a lot of things at the hands of the internet.
My free time
The ability to remember mundane facts instead of googling them
But, perhaps, the thing I miss most is the lost art of disliking something quietly.
Nobody needs my opinion on goat cheese or ‘The Princess Bride’, but what we’ve built in this internet saturated age is an endless platform for just that – opinions on flippin’ goat cheese.
I, like many of you, remember hearing “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” ad nauseam when I was a child.
There was a general principle that the need to comment on things we disagree with was not as important as the need to respect other people’s opinions.
If my brothers wanted to watch a movie I didn’t want to watch, I was redirected toward an activity that I would enjoy or I watched that movie and earned the right to make the movie decision the next time around.
If someone offered me a food I didn’t like, I politely turned it down or sucked it up and ate a small portion.
If, as is the way in the internet world of 2017, I’d shouted in the offeree’s face (CAPS LOCK, MUCH?) about how disgusting that food is, I would’ve spent some quality time with a chair in the corner or some other reasonable punishment.
We used to be blissfully unaware of how everyone we’d ever met felt about every trending topic of the day.
The internet took that away.
Faster than any of us could’ve expected, we’ve become powerless in the face of a blank space waiting to be filled with our own righteous opinions on every little thing.
The president is stupid! The president is a genius and everyone else is stupid!
Women shouldn’t wear leggings as pants!
I swear, I didn’t see this coming.
Maybe I should have, but I didn’t. Is this really where we wanted to land – in a place where our first assumption is the worst assumption – a place where we’d rather blast the things we don’t like than celebrate the things we do?
I can’t help but think we might all be better off if we took a few minutes to sit in the corner and share our opinions on goat cheese with a wall.