When to Criticize and When to SHUT UP


Out here on the internet, you’re bound to run into some pretty cruel things. If it’s not the content itself that offends you as it seems what makes up half of Tumblr I’m finding out, it’s the people themselves. Boy, oh boy, they sure can be mean!

“Now, I’m no idiot…” Is how I could start this off, but then you’d probably just write me off as an idiot. So instead I’ll start off by saying that online arguing is never going to stop, because arguing is never going to stop in reality. I’m not expecting an applause for knowing this because it’s common sense. I’m just stating that in writing this I’m well aware that my writing alone isn’t going to change much or keep thirteen year old children from calling everyone “fagit” on Youtube or racial epithets on Call of Duty 12: Suck My War.

"YOU LIL MONKEY $%&# &#^$ING ^&^#! Okay, mom, I'll be down in a second."

Alphanumeric is his second language.

I once made a comment on Youtube on a golfing video about not understanding what the excitement behind golf was. So in response, a fellow viewer privately messaged me to explain why the sport they loved so much has captivated millions around the globe through quiet determination and persevering skill.

I’m just kidding, he told me I should kill myself and that if he knew where I lived, he would do it for me.

So now I’ve been burdened with the task of trying to explain how disagreements and arguing can be two completely different things but it seems people can’t tell the difference between anymore. I don’t know why the gods chose me for this, but here I am.

"Also Taylor, could you pick up some eggs? THX BRO."

“Also Taylor, could you pick up some eggs? THX BRO.”

And why am I talking about this at all? The saying has been going around for a while now that the arguing on the internet is like the special Olympics, and you know how the rest goes.

But I could also argue that online arguments are about as valid as any argument you’d have in real life.

In the everyday world, when someone says something that one person disagrees with, the offended person may shut up altogether. They might make things awkward from that or they might ruin the tone of the entire discussion all because you said you didn’t think Michael Bay’s last cinematic effort was the masterpiece that Revenge of the Fallen was.

An anti-art MASTERPIECE.

An anti-art MASTERPIECE, I say.

Now let’s let relate the internet version. You comment on that newest trailer for Michael’s Bay tour de force action epic that is surely going to spawn several integral sequels to come and you don’t think it’s up to par. So what happens? You could be ignored, or you could have someone call you names in all caps, misspelling half the words and threatening to kill you over it. Stupid, yes. But you actually got what the commenter wanted to say as opposed to shutting you out altogether.

Much different than real life? Sure, but only in the sense that someone is still just getting mad over something that doesn’t matter. So let’s just sum this up-

People’s opinion being different than yours should not offend you.

You’ve seen it before, or maybe you’ve been a part of it. In real life or the internet. Some namby pamby know-it-all thinks he’s going to put his opinion somewhere online that your eyes are going to see? Or that your ears happen to pick up? Disgusting. No. No, this isn’t happening and you’re going to put him in his place for it. He actually thinks that the newest X-Men movie wasn’t the greatest comic book movie he’s ever seen. Someone might have to die tonight.

"If not for these chains I would but rip the heart from your chest, swine. X-Men was SO tight."

“If not for these chains I would but rip the heart from your chest, swine. X-Men: DOFP was SO tight.”

As I was told over my 5 Reasons X-Men Needs Reboot post, “It was like reading drivel…” Now I don’t exactly know how you read drivel but the point was still there, along with all of the other miniature discussions happening that were all meant to let me know that not only does the X-Men film franchise need to keep going forever, but that me thinking it should do anything differently than have Hugh Jackman scream at the top of his lungs with no shirt on are just idiotic ramblings of a nerdy comic book fan that wants the movies to be JUST like the comic books.

When a commenter retorted this, asserting that it’s just how someone else sees it (A rational human, it seemed), the original commenter asserted that the writer was calling everyone else stupid by saying a movie that’s made as much as X-Men needs to be redone.

Let me get back to my point before you think I’m just trying to type out an argument as to why that guy is just a big dumb poo-poo head- A difference of opinion is not a problem. It’s not a problem in real life and it’s not a problem online. The issue may be in how you say it, but you need to gauge yourself in terms of what offends you and why.

"But you didn't hear what he said about GOLF!"

“But you didn’t hear what he said about GOLF!”

And why does anybody get offended at someone disagreeing with them? You could leave it at “Because they’re WRONG!” but someone being wrong should hardly make you grit your teeth in anger as you rip your John Cena shirt down the middle and punch through your mama’s drywall.

It really has to do more with the fact that their disagreement may be telling us that we’re wrong and that’s something our egos just can’t take.

As World-Science.net puts it, egotism is the “motivation to maintain and enhance favorable views toward self.” In studies to find out more about egotism and what we’ll do to keep our image the way we want it, students were given money to gamble with and those that had their image called into question were that much more likely to spend all of what they had.

Basically they wanted to reenact Chevy Chase's experience during Vegas Vacation.

Basically they wanted to reenact Chevy Chase’s experience during Vegas Vacation.

And it seems petty of them until you understand what was being said, involving being told that the player might want to back out if they’re the type that “chokes under pressure.” So while it’s still petty, you can see how someone might be drawn into this. Are you gonna take that? You could show them AND take their money. That’d make’em look stupid.

You really could sum it up with Marty McFly’s reaction to be called a chicken.

What I’m saying is not that you shouldn’t voice your opinion, because I’m actually saying the opposite, but that disagreeing and arguing are two different things. Arguing is the battle for one’s own image and the hope that somebody will give you a bunch of thumbs up(?) so you can go back and look at it to feel good about yourself(?) or for people to remember that you won and you’re smarter(?).

But a disagreement can simply be an exchange of ideas; a discussion involving differences of opinion. Knowing what offends you and why is a great way to actually control what makes you mad (to a point). When you know how to deal with a problem, there’s a more likely chance you’ll do just that, rather than irrationally scream at your computer or your girlfriend. Neither deserve that.

Especially not your computer. It's a person too.

Especially not your computer. It’s a person too.

One bit of advice would be to refute the argument and not the person. Attacking what was said and not the one who said it can be a great way to actually get to the bottom of the disagreement. That is to say, it’s not all opinion anyway. And if you’re attacking the argument, not the arguer, and they get mad? Well, you can only do so much.

As Mark Twain put it, “Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

I’m just so glad Mark Twain could agree with me.

"Also, Days of Future Past sucked!" - Mark Twain

“Also, Days of Future Past sucked!” – Mark Twain

So while putting your side of it out there on why Ben Affleck will be a terrible Batman or how Game of Thrones is the greatest. show. PERIOD.- remember that someone having a different opinion is a good way for you to see another side of it rather than attempt to belittle and dismiss any minute differences you encounter in your life.


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