Someone is Wrong on the Internet
It takes two to tango, and that doesn’t even include the band. Our choices, our behaviors, are rarely as discreet as we think they are. Not only do our decisions bleed into our other decisions, they touch on other people’s lives, more often than not. No man is an island; neither is any man a peninsula.
First, consider gossip. If gossip is spoken in the woods and no one hears, does it still make a mess? Guarding our tongues is important. But we need to guard our ears as well. Without an audience, gossip dies on the vine. It isn’t gossip when I know something you don’t. It isn’t gossip when you find out what I knew first. It’s only gossip when I get to be the one telling you. Ego and pride drive the tongue and open the ear.
The same is true of controversy. In the prototypical schoolyard fight, there is typically the victim, the bully, and the cowards. While we rightly cheer for the victim and hiss at the bully, the cowards, too, deserve our opprobrium. They haven’t even the willingness to risk what the bully has, and worse still, they provide the audience he craves.
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