Dear Cyber Bullies:
For so long I have loathed how the phrase “bully” became the de facto term to use to describe any mean-spirited behavior exhibited by your average jackass. However, it’s become increasingly harder to deny that much of the behavior branded as “bullying” is just that – especially when it comes to the idea of cyber bullying, the nouveau way to be a coward. A lot of focus is deservingly placed on the monstrous school kids driving their peers to suicide, but there’s something to be said of the adults behaving just as juvenile and despicable.
“I hate your life more than you do.”
“You make me love birth control more with each passing tweet.”
“May the arthritis catch you sooner than later.”
“I dare you to go do the wobble on the 405 during rush hour.”
Why is it so hard for some of you to behave on Al Gore’s Internet?
A while ago, I read a story about a New York woman being cyber stalked by a man she briefly dated. The dude was so butt hurt over the breakup that he proceeded to spread lies about her across the Internet and send constant threats where he promised to hurt both her and her dog. Like, her damn dog. Lassie can’t even sleep at night over fears that he and his owner are going to get Cujoed. Even worse, New York’s CBS 2 investigative reporter Tamara Leitner uncovered that the guy “created a video that contained very disturbing images of a woman, a blonde woman, being strangled.” Hell and no.
There are similar stories in other nations.
Then there’s the new reality for many women in media who find themselves on the receiving end of an onslaught of threats via Facebook and Twitter for simply articulating their point of view. Such was the case for Ebony.com contributor Zerlina Maxwell, whose challenge of social myths about rape was met with threats of sexual assault.
Same goes for my editor, Jamilah Lemieux, whose mentions tend to look like a virtual village idiot convention depending on whatever thoughtful sociopolitical commentary she publishes.
There’s an overall growing meanness in our culture. As often as I joke online that “trolls be winning,” the reality is that being an soulless piece of [redacted] can garner one a lot of attention – a reward for anyone dying to be acknowledged and willing to do whatever it takes to get that.
To that end, you don’t have to be completely psychotic to fall under the scope of a cyber bully who ought to run head hurt into a brick wall. No, you just have to be consistent with your cruelty.
Cyber bullying can be something as simple as trolling Rihanna’s Instagram and spewing a bunch of nasty insults. In the past, Rihanna has been criticized for giving some of you wastes of air a dose of your own medicine. I’m not subjected to daily threats and insults; I only get a few “drop dead you Blackie fag with a funny name” every now and again. I can’t say how I would respond if it ever got to the level that celebrities experience daily.
What I have never understood about this phenomenon, though, is that even if one feels like there life has been nothing more than a complete wastes of everyone else’s time, why take that out on someone better off? What do you get out of trolling someone who actually matters? Do you think if they acknowledge you that some of their relevance will rub off on you? Good luck with that, sis.
I won’t even pretend to be the nicest person, but I know how to express discomfort with a person or a particularly stance without seeming like a prick that ought to be pushed off a cliff. It’s not a hard skill to learn, trust me.
Try being better people, cyber bullies. It’s not too late. Now if you can’t, I have some advice.
Take a bottle of bleach and a pour it into a martini glass or Solo red cup. At this point, you can drink it and put yourself out of your own misery. Or, there’s the option of doing the world a favor and pouring it all over your keyboards, monitors and phones. Do I sound bitchy and evil? Good ‘cause I’m trying to keep up with the tone you bottom-feeding, antagonistic, attention whoring cowards behind a computer screen have set.
Unlike Ciara, who deleted all of her social media statues dedicated to outing your ilk, I stand by my pleas to Smithers to release the hounds, Ursula to snatch your mics, and the Big Bad Wolf to huff, puff, and blow all of your asses far, far away.
Michael Arceneaux is the author of the “The Weekly Read,” where tough love is served with just a touch of shade. Tweet him at @youngsinick.