All things serve the Beam.
I’m the first to admit that sometimes I have a twisted sense of humor. I’ll laugh at anything if it’s funny, even though it may be horribly offensive to a lot of people. For example, The Aristocrats.
The Aristocrats is a very old joke that every comedian who tells it tells it his or her own way, with his or her own spin on it, only keeping the beginning of the joke and the punchline intact. The premise is as follows: a family act goes to see an agent looking for work, and when the agent asks them what they do, they start describing (or performing) their act, which is where each person telling the joke adds his or her own spin whilst (damn right I said whilst) describing the act that the family performs. Now here is where it gets crazy, because most comedians will describe horrible things that they do to, with, on, or in each other. Nothing is taboo. And I mean nothing. No. Thing.
There’s a documentary that was released a few years ago about this joke, explaining its origins way back in the vaudeville days, and a bunch of really famous comedians take turns telling the joke, and let me tell you, I laughed and laughed and laughed.
I’m also a big fan of Jackass, in all its incarnations.
And I love the internet, and I love memes, and I love a lot of the crazy things that happen online and the things people come up with. I have shared many images, videos, posts, tweets, snaps, pins, and links of things that others may find offensive but which I find hilarious. Some of them are completely ridiculous, some of them are smart, some of them thought-provoking, some of them just… the internet.
But there’s a line. As open and freeing and wonderful and awful as the internet can be, there is a line.
The line should be clear. And it should be bold, and thick, and dark, and impossible to miss. Because when you cross that line, there’s no turning back. You can ruin shit. You can ruin your reputation. You can ruin somebody else’s life.
And you know what? It is! It’s not hard to miss at all! It’s right there in front of our dumb faces. But goddammit, people are so stupid. Yeah, me too, and you too, and everybody else.
You see, what happens when you cross the line is that things on the internet stop being funny and meme-y, and they start becoming real. And the silly post or tweet or update you hurriedly typed on your phone while you were supposed to be doing something else can have a massive impact, intentional or not. That video you took with your mobile phone of somebody doing something stupid? Of somebody making a mistake? When you put that online, or send it to your friend, or tweet it, or snap it, there is no way of knowing what that’s going to do to that person. It could cost them their job, their friendships, their relationship, their family, their marriage. Or maybe not!
That’s the thing though. We don’t know how far that tweet will go or who will see it and what effects it could have. A few days ago, I tweeted something which I thought was great. I was laughing hard at my own tweet, like an idiot… and nothing happened. Nothing. Not a single retweet or reply or anything. Yesterday, I tweeted something silly with hardly a thought to it and it got the most retweets out of anything I’ve ever tweeted (I think).
So since we don’t know, and there’s no way for us to know, here’s my tip. If you have a video, or a picture, or a text message, or a whatever… and if there’s even a slight chance that somebody will get hurt by that, or that somebody’s life will be affected negatively by it, don’t post it.
Seriously, just… stop. Stop caring so much about fucking up somebody else’s life and worry about how you’re fucking up your own and how you need to work on fixing it. It’s such a waste of time to be that way, you know? Nothing good comes of it. You don’t feel good, some idiot somewhere along the line may laugh at whatever it is, but really… there’s no point. There is absolutely no point. I can guarantee you that the person you are affecting probably doesn’t deserve it.
The world is such a wonderful, amazing place, full of wonderful, amazing people and wonderful, amazing animals and wonderful, amazing things. Point your phone’s camera that way.
Being an asshole just for the sake of being an asshole, and hurting somebody just for the likes or retweets is not a good thing you should be doing. It’s not a good thing any of us should be doing. So, just don’t! It’s pretty easy, trust me. Why would you want to anyway?
Be nice, for god’s sake. It shouldn’t be that difficult to not be an asshole.
Next time you’re a witness to something that can be potentially damaging to that person’s career, relationships, integrity, psyche, self-esteem, or anything else, point your camera somewhere else. Delete and report that video, that picture, that post, and if you must inject your dumb self into the situation, do it in a way where you’re not being a jerk.
Take a good look at what’s going on, and put yourself in that person’s shoes. You would never want that to happen to you, so why would you want it to happen to somebody else? Seriously, why? Why would you want somebody else to get hurt?
It feels pretty good to be nice to the people around you.
Give it a shot, you won’t regret it.