Saturday, June 12, 2010

News and comments

Studies take up a lot of time. Hence, now that I don’t study, time suddenly came back; now I even read the news. However, reading the news is more often than not a depressing exercise:

• Israel killed 9 activists on a ship intending to break their blockade of Gaza. This whole situation is giving me an emotional headache. I refuse to defend either.
• The unions in Norway are striking even more than usual, despite the world economy being as fragile as in hasn’t been since the late 1920’s. I am ashamed of my nation and of my people.
• The light railway for which I work, Bybanen, collided two times in a week. No cake this Friday.

To this, the oil spill back in America is minor. Because, what is so stressful about these news is not the straight facts in and of themselves – it is all the ignorant and at times hateful comments it generates that sucks the life out of me.

Norwegian newspapers online have the habit of allowing comments on their articles, even anonymously. On one hand this is nice, because I can express my thoughts on the subject, which makes me feel like I am contributing something, I feel like my voice is heard. But on the other hand everyone else does the same, and people are in my opinion too spontaneous and courageous when they don’t look the people they are debating in the eye.

For instance, has an interesting article about some strange phenomena at a kindergarten, where magnets were flying in the air and smashing into the walls and downto the ground. They first called in some experts in magnetism to examine the area, but they couldn’t find anything. Then they called in the priest, and the frequency with which this thing happened was reduced after he said a prayer of some sort.

I don’t know if this is a clever practical joke or something else; but I am pretty certain the people working in the kindergarten believe what they say they believe. A loud portion of the commenters, however, are certain it is all rubbish, and speak despitefully of anyone open to the possibility of ‘ghosts’ or creatures we can’t normally see or sense. Of course, they could be right in their assumptions. But I am sickened by the arrogance.

Now, it is easy to be sickened by the arrogance of people with whom we disagree. But what we really should be sickened by is our own arrogance. I caught myself being overly upset about the strike: my comment left little sympathy for the unionist viewpoint. Now, I still think someone should really confront the unions (me being the totally wrong person). But I nevertheless shouldn’t have used that one degrading word.

I have come to conclude that in serious debates, there should be no field for comments. Rather, there could be track backs to blog postings and possibilities to write letters to the editor (signed full name). I would surely prefer to have a few of the most thought-through comments representing the entire spectrum of opinions, rather than the way too excessive regurgitation of thoughtless hatred I find today.

Read more:
Dagbladet: - Ting flyr gjennom lufta - Jeg kjørte på gult