When Did Society Get So Soft?

Typically when I write a new article, I try to put together a whole presentation:  Photos, funny captions, maybe a YouTube video or two relating to the subject matter.  This time, however, I’m not going to do all that – there might be some but it might be kept to a minimum.  No, this means with this particular piece of work on my site you’re going to have to use your brain and do a little soul searching within yourself to understand.  And it’s going to be long.  You may have to take breaks, especially seeing as most of you do not have long attention spans (which is why I often use videos and images as part of my presentations anyway, because it is an attempt to keep your interest).  Therefore I doubt many of you will make it to the end but those that do, hopefully will have learned something.

Also there is going to be a lot of writing about my personal life and self.  I usually keep that away.  I usually don’t share a whole lot of that when I get into my zone.  But in this particular instance, it works for you to hopefully understand.

I grew up in the 1980s.  The world was definitely different then.  Less technology.  You had to go outside to rent movies instead of stay at home on Netflix.  You had more social interaction… in the ACTUAL world.  If you had to talk to someone, you didn’t have a cellphone.  You didn’t have texting.  At the risk of sounding all “back in my day” you need to understand it wasn’t just about a lack of technology, but about a different mindset.

Growing up I got into fights.  LOTS of fights.  Hell from kindergarten all the way to when I left in 8th grade I got into fights.  Sometimes over stupid shit.  My friend Courtney (yes Courtney is a dude) and I once got into a fist fight outside the pizzeria because he beat me in in Street Fighter II.  My life had more face/heel turns than WWE wrestling.  Courtney and I would be friends.  Then I and Courtney would be enemies.  Then Jose and Courtney would be enemies.  Then Jose and Courtney would be friends and mad at me.   Then Jose and I would be friends and mad at Courtney.  Then we’d all get along.  Then… you get the picture.  Every week it was different but boys will be boys and that was awesome.  Okay there were some scraped knees, busted lips, insults, and black eyes.  But that was being a boy.  And that was acceptable.  That was alright.  That was okay.  Cartoons those days were great.  Transformers wasn’t a hit-or-miss Michael Bay movie; it was a cartoon with good guys vs. bad guys, gunfire, and giant robots. And that was cool.  Movies were violent yet somehow awesome; Robocop was an R Rated film marketed to kids.  And damn if wasn’t the most fun I’d ever had in a theater.

When I moved, I moved to the south and I just really didn’t know anyone.  I felt more sheltered and quieted down.  Unlike New York City you can’t just walk everywhere on the outskirts of Atlanta.  You end up at home too much too often if you didn’t have many friends and I definitely did not when I got here.  But I did have a computer.  And I did have the Internet.  I had my imagination, and my creativity.

You want to know the way I started writing articles online?  I was in the GameFan Magazine chat room and Tristan Kernick NUKED my computer – back then you could use a chat room to find out someone’s IP address and use a program to induce a blue screen of death into their computer and crash it.  I then got into an argument with him, we called each other some names, Steve Jeffery got involved, said we were both being assholes and that we’re too much alike.  We became friends.  Steve and Tristan hired me to write on Playstation Interactive.

And while writing on the Internet seems like a little thing, it changed my life.  When I first started doing my projects online, it was the late 1990s.  I was a teenager.  In high school I had a very small circle of friends.  I wasn’t popular.  I was an outsider.  And I was completely alright with that.  I had a lot to say and nobody to really say it to so when I first got online, I found that it was my platform to use all those thoughts, and feelings and ideas that I kept to myself.  As a result of that over the years I found that the blocks and stumbles that kept me from speaking my mind in person went away.  In ways the ability to work on my projects on the Internet allowed me not so much to find myself – but to be comfortable in my own skin.  I stopped giving a remote damn about whether or not my thoughts or opinions offended someone.  I realized the truest people you’ll ever meet may not always agree with your words, but they’ll stand by you as a person regardless.  It was alright to disagree or not see eye to eye.  And if you got into an argument with someone online even if you stopped talking a while, or hacked each other’s forums, or whatever, eventually you got over it and you were cool again.  People used to let shit slide so much more.

Fast forward to now. Gone are the cartoons with a lot of “gunfire” because we’re worried it will teach kids to shoot up a school.  Gone are the days you could get into a scuffle with your friend as a kid without your parents threatening to sue each other or trying to press criminal charges.  We took away the scraped knees and the black eyes and we replaced it with coddling and babying.  People have different opinions but God help you if you “offend” someone.  The problem is that everything is offensive to somebody and everyone has a different definition of what being offended is so pretty much everyone is cunty towards each other in some way.

The thing is, that with the outside world that way, you need an outlet to speak your mind and your views.  But the problem is the same faggotry has hit the Internet in an age where everybody has it on their phones.  Suddenly EVERYTHING is offensive to someone.  You can’t open your mouth without someone wanting an apology out of you or taking their hatred of you to some kind of extreme level.

And you don’t have a cool circle anymore because of things like social networks encouraging xenophobia and intolerance.  Intolerance isn’t about people saying things you don’t like – true intolerance is when people say something you don’t like or agree with and you take it personally and attack them.  Intolerance is the fact we lose connection with others by blocking, muting, unfriending and unfollowing our friends the minute they say something we don’t agree with.  Intolerance is the inability to let shit slide when you don’t agree, instead replacing it with vendettas and long-lasting eternal hatred because someone doesn’t like the same wrestler as you do, or didn’t like the videogame you loved, or wants an X-Box One instead of a PS4.  Intolerance is the fact that we get so easily ANGERED AND INFURIATED over what people say in 140 characters.

Example.  I just got into a war of words with a guy who got angry someone said “faggot.”  Now, “faggot” doesn’t necessarily have to be used to insult someone’s sexuality or as a gay slur – sometimes it just means a “really unmanly person.”  One Direction are supposedly hetero but I refer to them as “Five Faggots.”  Now if you use the word, some social justice warrior will find you guns blazing who searches Twitter for people using the word (or any other social network) to tell you what a horrible human being you are and how you need to be “eradicated” for using “that word.”  The person’s response is “you can think it but you are NOT ALLOWED to say it” (so now you’re not allowed to express yourself in public on your page).  Really?  Is this how far we’re going to get rid of free speech?  That we have these random maniac crusaders running around telling you THEIR definition of morality and that you BETTER stick to it “or else?”

And then if you do have a problem, you can discuss it constructively.  You can go “I don’t agree with you” and “this is why.”  Instead we sub-tweet instead of directly go head-to-head with people.  Instead of being constructive we try to be DESTRUCTIVE.  What happened to two people simply “not agreeing” and able to be cool with each other about the fact that they don’t?  I don’t think I ever 100% agree with anyone I consider close to me but I don’t hate them.  I don’t hate anyone.  I’m not plotting anyone’s death.  I’m not trying to defame, or discredit them.  And even the people I get annoyed with, or the people I don’t like very much, I don’t stay angry at forever.  I may not invite them to Christmas dinner but I really don’t have hatred in my heart for anyone that hasn’t wronged me personally.  Being wronged personally is when someone tries to harm your life, your employment, or the well-being of yourself and loved ones.  It is not when someone does not agree with your stupid point of view on stupid Twitter or Facebook.

Here is an example.  I did an article on JasonRivera.com years ago – Fat Chicks Dressed Like Yuna.  Back in 2005 when I (and Marion) co-wrote the article, I was getting more than four times the hits and page-views – in the article we make fun of fat cosplayers.  10,000 hits a day and barely anyone ever said anything.  Now we get lots of hate-mail.  The problem?  ListenToThisShow gets less than a quarter of the hits JasonRivera.com did.  What changed?  People got angry.  Suddenly it’s “not cool because you’re fat shaming.”

And I have noticed that it used to be just the real idiots who can’t spell, or form a complete sentence that got mad at me back in the day.  The only people who got angry at you were usually borderline retarded.  Now people are so sensitive that they make Skype groups to talk badly about how you offended them, make a tandem effort to make sure nobody speaks to you, and you get shunned.  Nowadays people want to wage a vendetta against you and find any way to discredit you.  The problem is this, as I was discussing with Justin a few days ago: “follow someone on Twitter and it is INEVITABLE they will say something you do not like or agree with,” and he is correct.  Not everyone is 100% exactly the same.  People are going to say shit you don’t agree with.  People are going to do shit you don’t agree with.  And that’s life.  We’re being conditioned through the Internet to censor and shun anyone who doesn’t think like we do… and isn’t that a problem when no two people think completely the same?

And the funny thing is that there’s this gross overkill about it.  Example:  In June, my father passed away.  It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure in my life.  I’ve been through dark shit in my life but nothing will ever prepare you for the loss of a parent if that parent is a big part of your life.  Every day I actually fight depression.  That’s the reality of what I go to and I don’t talk about it or admit it much.  I actually don’t talk to many people anymore as a few months prior a lot of people I spoke to both online and in real life showed me their true colors with the whole “shun people who don’t agree” bullshit I mentioned before over situations they didn’t agree with me about because instead of “talking shit out reasonably” this society has been conditioned to ignore.   But what amazes me is there are people out there who are actually pleased with the fact my father is dead because “Riv said things I didn’t like online.”  What’s wrong with that picture? “He deserves real life pain for something he said on the Internet I don’t agree with.”  Isn’t that a double-standard?  Oh, that’s perfectly okay to say because you didn’t like the fact I wrote an article making fun of the Sexual Education of Retards.  Other people still were hoping it would be the thing that “broke” me and turned me into someone sensitive and sympathetic to everyone and everything.  Into a bleeding heart like them.  Stone doesn’t bleed.  The lesson I learned from my father is “always stand by what you believe and what you think.  Don’t curb that for anyone.”

Despite the world changing, becoming softer, becoming angrier over whether or not you like the same music the person next to you does, I’ve remained the same.  I’ve stuck to my guns.  I don’t say things “solely to be offensive.”  I say what I’m thinking, and if someone doesn’t like it that’s their problem.  Why should I stop being me?  Because YOU don’t like me?  The thing is *I* like me and I have to live with me every second of every minute of every day.  I feel like I’m a hard man in a soft world.  And that’s not a sexual innuendo (actually it is because I’m usually very sexually tense as well).  I’m hoping that many of you stop being afraid of being yourselves and express yourselves regardless of who doesn’t like it.  I’m hoping many of you that try so quickly to silence the friends and loved ones you don’t agree with stop using block buttons and start using common sense and reason and begin to understand not everybody has to agree with your own values all the time.

But instead the world has moved on, possibly for the worse, possibly forever.  Look at all the celebrities that have to apologize because “someone didn’t like a tweet.”  Is this really where our heads are at?  “You said something I didn’t like on Twitter and now you have ruined my entire day?”  “You’re bullying me online?”  There’s no such thing a cyber-bully; you’re all just cyber-pussies who don’t think “maybe I should turn this shit off and get some air or do something else.”  People need to stop apologizing for being who they are.  Don’t apologize for being you; just BE you.

But maybe this is falling on deaf ears.  As said before, I used to express myself and get 10k views a day, now I get less than a quarter of that.  People are so offended by things without even having the balls to constructively disagree that they find the idea of a show I speak on every week to speak my mind and say the things most people are afraid to express, gross and unflattering and offensive.  I’ve never had such a lack of support of the people because I’m a guy from an era where people gave no fucks living in an era where everyone gives too much of a fuck about shit that should not negatively affect their day and see me as some kind of Internet “Super Villain.”  Hell if saying what I want to say when I want to say it makes me the bad guy than I guess I really AM worse than Hitler (and I have been called that for doing so).  But I’d rather be “worse than Hitler” than be censored, neutered, or uptight.  I’d rather have 50 people being a part of my projects who “get it” than 50,000 people who want me to be fake. 

I wonder what kind of life I would have led if I didn’t have friends because my parents sued them or had my friends arrested for a fight or if I could not express myself online.  Would I be better for it? Or would it be sad and colorless?  Being able to “be myself” has brought so much into my life both good and bad.  It has brought me friendships, relationships, the ability to know myself in ways I never thought I could.  I’ve gone to events like E3 and Wrestlemania because of my projects.  My sister is married to one of the people who wrote on one of the sites I wrote for.  I’ve experienced much in my life, and I would have experienced none of that if I didn’t have the freedom to express who I am at all times.  Stop being so soft, go out there, and be you, and if someone tries to stop you from doing so tell them to go fuck themselves and keep on going.  This era of the “Soft Assed Social Justice Warrior” is not going to end until or unless people start becoming unapologetic, stop being such simpletons and start expressing themselves no matter how grotesque or incomprehensible it might be to the sensitive pussies around them.

I’ve said all that was on my mind.  Hopefully it unlocked yours.