I recently posted a rant on the Book Of Face* over an instance of butthurtedness I found particularly egregious. It happened to be a modified video test signal that included a little moving figure with an arm raised that is called -- and vaguely resembles -- a "wizard." One of the commenters took it as "promotion of witchcraft" in a very much see-what-They-are-up-to-now way (As far as I know, it's not -- you need moving object with some pointiness to reveal some kinds of flaws in high-definition video and most of the options carry unfortunate connotations.)
In and of itself, it was Just Another Day On The Intertubes, but it points to a growing culture of childishly-self-aggrandizing paranoia: whatever you (or, worse yet, "They," which would be any large endeavor of any sort) say or do, no matter how innocent, someone, somewhere, is going to take it as an attack on something they hold dear and believe to be under threat. It is a mindset in which anything, from choice of liquid refreshment to use of electronic test signals, is recast as move in an ongoing ideological struggle.
At one time, we knew a cigar is sometimes -- most times -- just a cigar. We used to have more common sense -- or, if you're paranoid enough, we used to be blinkered dupes. We used to understand that most entities aren't waging semi-covert war but merely trying to promote some product or service, however irksome or unnecessary it might be. (Do my teeth really need to reflect UV light? Isn't it enough that they are clean and healthy?) We used to understand that if someone or some group was out to gore our ox, they'd generally make that well known, rather than resorting to covert stabs in the back. (Or if they were working in secret, they strove to keep it secret rather than proffering barely-hooded jibes and dogwhistles.)
We used to suffer way less butthurt -- and we knew that most of it was self-inflicted.
All good things must come to an end, I suppose. Heck, isn't that just the way They planned it all along?
* If the newer, faster, hipper social media are the Death Of Blogging as is so often reported, it's the Death Of A Thousand Idiots: not just quicker, shorter and hipper, but dumber, too. It's Internet For The Barely Literate and I guess we shouldn't be surprised. Hello, Mr. Gresham -- how's the old law practice these days? It's not just the money, isn't it?
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
9 months ago