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What kind of mentality induces some people to tarnish other’s reputation or attempt to do so? What instigates mudslinging, a continuous and mindless vilification of someone’s character? No, I am not talking of politicians who have a tendency of throwing rubbish over the opposition’s head with or without any provocation. At least, there involves quite a bit of interest behind such activities. A greed for grasping power, position and financial benefits proves to be far greater an impetus than maintaining common courtesies of life in such cases. Though that does not make the actions justifiable, it is still understandable. I am speaking of common people continuously speaking or rather writing nonsense about someone on a public forum without any apparent provocation.

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The questions I mentioned at the beginning of this article sprung into my mind after I repeatedly observed such behaviour on chats, forums, twitter feeds and Youtube comments section in past few months. More often than not when I read or watch any piece or interview of any prominent personality of today or of a bygone era, I find the comments section is swathed with such disgusting remarks. It is true that all of us indulge in verbal bashing of people, famous or otherwise, we dislike in private at some point of time or the other. It is also quite correct that everybody has a right to criticise whoever he or she chooses to. But aren’t we supposed to follow minimum amount of decorum while venting our disapprovals in writing on a public forum? Has calling names or using vulgar phrases to describe someone’s activities became so fashionable nowadays that it is no longer considered objectionable? Or, having an opportunity of expressing one’s opinion in public automatically grants the impudence of being slanderous in the ugliest of ways?

Only a few months ago Google started the policy of forcing people to sign in before posting a comment on Youtube comments section in the hope that people will be more careful about what they choose to write because that is going to show up on their Google Plus profile. Well, I doubt that such kind of people do care about what shows up on their profiles. In all probability they act with the same nonsense attitude even in reality beyond the web world. Then there are the smarter ones who create other ids to post comments on a public forum.

Using expletives even during our daily conversation is no longer considered such a taboo as it used to be in our parents’ time. But doing so excessively certainly does not increase anyone’s image, no matter how smart it looks on the big screen as in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). Moreover, expletives may or may not be slanderous in nature. It depends on what context those are being used.

Psychologists and / or social scientists may define this phenomenon as young generation’s increasing need of venting frustrations at the condition of life or socio-economic status. But, I think frustrations and consequent stress have always been a part of any young person’s life. That does not necessarily induce everyone to foul mouth any well known person including musician, sport star, actor, author or other noteworthy personalities of the day and age. Since, mostly well known personalities are targets of such abusive languages, it is more likely the doing of a pathologically jealous mind than purely disappointed one.

When there is always an opportunity of turning over that page of magazine or newspaper and closing the browser window which shows someone who increases your irritation, it is normal that you’ll use it. Any sane person does so. He or she certainly does not waste time to write unmentionables. At any rate throwing cheap dirt at someone does not necessarily decrease one’s stature, but most certainly lays bare that person’s character who has attempted to do so. Remember that wise saying which says, ‘You must not throw mud at sun. It does not store your dirt to blacken its face, but returns the disgrace on your face only.’ No one reasonably can or need to stop such needless jibes. But it only reveals how hard we are at work to create a very sick society.

 

Image Courtesy:

Ben Cumming

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