Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My recovery from Comments Sections, or a boycott for practical purposes

I really have to stop reading them, I really do.

Those comments sections in the Globe and Mail and the CBC – the sites I look at the most – make me stark-raving, tear-my-hair-out-by the roots insane. I don’t know why I feel compelled to look at them, but I do. It must be the same natural inclination that causes us to look at disasters, at train wrecks, at all manner of calamity with the voyeur’s fetishistic appreciation –

I’m starting to question why they are there, what is the purpose of them (other than to make this indigenous woman freak out)? What is this fad, this desire to comment on every story, like average citizen Joe Blow from Bumfuck Idunnoknow is a qualified expert on every little thing that happens in the world? There’s got to be more accountability, too. I bet if people were forced to leave an email address there’d be less of this bullshit. Like in pre-Internet days when you sent a letter to the editor of a newspaper they would publish your full name and city where you lived. So at least you had to own what you said. Here on these comments sections it’s the Wild West, with everyone shooting from the hip and shooting all over the place – into the sky, into buildings and trees and stray dogs and me.

But I have to stop reading them, I really have to. Like an addict, I have to stop.

Because this morning I read a comment so vitriolic, so laced with racism and ugliness and bile that it still makes me want to cry hot tears of angry bitterness. In fact, I think I did. I think I actually broke down and wanted to smash something. I paced around my office like the crazed puma at the zoo that is psychotic from captivity.

The comment appeared after an article in the Globe and Mail discussing Google’s threat to pull out of China due to the censorship by the communist government. As I am always interested in how business decisions impact workers’ lives and other assorted developments, I had finished reading the article and was idly scanning through the comments sections when I read some fucking swine of a commentator – who named himself “Sooty Harry” because he can’t possibly be THAT balls out dirty – meandering about Chinese censorhip and then the improvised weapon of mass destruction --

“… Robert Pickton putting the muzzle of a gun up a Native woman’s vagina and pulling the trigger saved her from a life of degradation and drug addiction.”

WTF?

I think I may actually have seen red. I went cold all over and felt a lump come to my throat. I felt violated and desecrated all in one breath by one stupid cast-off sentence probably written by some fucking white privilege muthafucker sitting in his stupid office cubicle over in some Bay Street tower plotting to part a bunch of pensioners from their life savings.

Now, the sentence is not verbatim. I should have copied it in its entirety to be more truthful about it here, but I didn’t. I instantly notified the moderator and got the plug pulled on that obscenity within five minutes, but still – why the hell did this fucking asshole feel he had the right to pull that kind of hyperbolic verbal diarrhea? And why the hell does the most venerated national newspaper in this country feel the need to entitle its readership to the ability to spew this kind of perverted racist swill?

I had to stop reading the comments around any issues regarding all aboriginal people because the level of racism that permeates these forums proved to me that most Canadians have zero regard, tolerance or understanding for my people and the reasons for the decimation in our communities. Which is why I naively thought that reading about Google in China was going to be free from this kind of shit. Wrong.

I am going to start writing impassioned letters to the people who run these boards and demand that there be more accountability. Because I’d love to show up at the door of the motherfucker who felt he could write that comment and ask why he felt he could just blithely say shit like that without thinking through the consequences, and have him tell me his reasons, just him and all six feet of righteous Haudenosaunee warrior woman in war mode. And then it would be a whole other ballgame now, wouldn’t it?