Really timely quote with some of the stuff I was talking about with others today.
You know there is nothing easier than writing an article against something, which is so simple. It writes itself. You just got to be angry about something and just got to puff and wheeze with indignation and fury and resentment and bile and malice and the thing writes itself and if you write anything that’s for something it looks sentimental and cutesy and you know so much… and so much harder to write, so much harder to write well. So all the successful columnists are… certainly in the British press are vicious and they’re good at being vicious and admirable and if you share their politics mostly their viciousness is something you can applaud. If you don’t then you just call them beasts and animals and revolting. It just gets so annoying. It’s such a pity and that’s one of the reasons I love the online world is that although that exists in abundance you can choose absolutely which part of the online world you want to live in. You can make your own kingdom in that sense, so things like Twitter or whatever I’m sure there are all kinds of Twitter you know clusters of people who have politics that I would find horrific and really just views that I would preposterous and impertinent, but I just don’t have to follow them and I can block them and I will never know they exist and that’s glorious.
And similarly as long as you don’t lower your eyes when reading a blog, as long as you don’t go down to the comment section where the trolls lurk, where the viciousness is because that’s… I mean there really is just suppurating, boiling seas of acid where if you just so much as dip a toe you’ve lost your limbs you know, just vileness abounding. Again, there is this resentment, “I will be heard and not only will I be heard I will offend.” “I will tear.” “I will lacerate.” “I will wound.” “I want the sensibilities of anyone who disagrees with me to be bruised beyond mending.” That kind of attitude is very strong on the net and for all that we can be advocates for the glory and the democracy that exists online we must be aware too that that dark side of humanity that just needs to be heard and can’t bear people like me for example who have access to greater numbers of followers on Twitter or whose website gets more hits and the more they see that, the more the web becomes a reflection of their view of the meanness and wrongness of society where somebody will get it all and others get none and then the more bitterness there is and I think it’s difficult because I don’t certainly want there to be aristocracy on the net. I don’t want there to be that. I think that whole beauty of it at its best is that there is genuine equality and genuine reciprocity between you know a Twitterer and his or her followers or between a blogger and their readers and that it’s not… You know it’s not an audience going to one site that is permanent and stable and is like the equivalent of the old models of the broadcaster, but that it’s much more fluid and the broadcaster becomes the broadcasted too, you know the TV station becomes the audience and as long as people believe that and behave as if that is true then there is real hope in the way information is going.
– Stephen Fry
Or better yet, watch and listen. Quote starts about 12 minutes in.