Not just clickbait


Being argumentative and obnoxious in response to being ignored and invisible

In response to a response to her response to yet another response to a “story” (Confused yet? You’re not alone. It took quite a few clicks to get to the root of the tree.) on Medium, Jackie Lea Shelley said this:

“If I’m going to continue to enjoy being obnoxious on the internet, I might as well get used to being disliked. It’s still a step above invisible, or ignored”

This may seem like a “duh” to a lot of people, but it did make a few things click. A lot of people spend a lot of time (and by that I mean, any amount of time, and I am as guilty as anyone else) arguing and being outraged on the internet.

Case in point the recent Starbucks minimalist holiday cup. The outrage to the outrage quickly over took the original outrage, which was in all likelihood a marketing scheme, even if not for or about Starbucks. Someone got publicity they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. How much notariety would have ensued if the guy made a YouTube clip praising the cups?

Am I?

Not just noticed, but not ignored or invisible. It is the answer to the question implied by “I think therefore I am”. “I think” is no longer enough. It is too relative. It isn’t objective enough. Now, it is “I make a stink, therefore I am”. What’s the point of being “right” if no one hears? I need to be heard to know I am. Otherwise, I may not actually be.

I have often said the worst thing for an artist is not when people hate, even despise, one’s work. The worst thing is being ignored, not even being noticed enough to have someone hate the work, to be invisible.

A movement is by nature different than what came before, in some manner or form. That’s why novelty is so important an attribute in art. You can’t be noticed if you are saying the same thing in the same way as everyone else.

That’s why some artists take to shock. It is a way to be noticed. It is why clickbait articles exists, especially in an age where one’s income depends on page views to satisify advertising.


It’s you, not me

I don’t know the true attribution for this cartoon. If you do, let me know.
Some people don’t care if they are hated. But many don’t really want to be hated. We want to be accepted. That is the preferred option, we want to be accepted for who we are. That requires risk, requires being vulnerable. The additional beauty of the internet is the ability to be noticed anonymously. We can hedge our bets. We can set up something to be hated that isn’t really us.

I heard one person with tattoos explain she had tattoos so people would look at the tattoos and not her. We want to be noticed, but not us. Look at me but don’t actually look at me. You might hate me and I don’t want to take that chance. And if you hate me because of my tattoos you don’t actually hate me, so I don’t have to change.

If I yell loud enough about what I know is “right” and you don’t notice, if you focus on hating my appearance but don’t notice me, then there isn’t something wrong with me, there is something wrong with you. I am validated while creating the ability to dismiss you. And if something is wrong with you, I am justified in my actions against you.

You just wait!

And there is the chance for revenge. When you realize you were wrong and I was right, you’ll have to acknowledge that I am right and I will be satisfied. What is the point of being right if no one agrees? And you will agree with me, whether you want to or not when you learn the hard way I am right.

And we Christians will get our revenge! When you have to bow and confess Jesus is Lord! And you will! You just wait! You just wait Starbucks and you’ll see why you should have said “Merry Christimas”! All you gays, all you other religions, you just wait! You’ll find out the hard way and too late that we were right! Because being a Christian is about being right, it’s the most important thing!

Or not.

I don’t have the answers. I don’t know if this is even fixable. There are times when we have to be confrontational. How would the world be different if we didn’t confront the wrongs in World War I or II? Would slavery have ended if it wasn’t confronted? What about Civil Rights? Iron sharpens iron, sure. What is the balance?

What is institutionally, systemically, or culturally wrong that so many people think the only way to be noticed, to not be invisible, is to be obnoxious, argumentative, or worse, kill a bunch of people? Why are people more willing to be remembered with death than live? Why is killing and dying the way some choose to be noticed rather than being noticed by living and having and giving life?