This is so the worst thing you're going to read all day.

[Trigger warning for internet bullying, rape language.]

This Slate piece, by Luke O'Neil, is truly one of the most depressing things I've ever read, for the reason succinctly stated by @nprmonkeysee here: "This piece should be called 'How I Considered Giving Thought To The Effects Of My Actions But Then I Decided Not To'."

Given a personal glimpse at the stark hostility for human dignity that mob bullying on the internet really is, O'Neil ultimately decides, "Eh, sucks to be you." Because it's no fun being the guy who's "butthurt" (hello, rape culture!) and accused of being humorless because you refuse to join in the laughter at someone else's misfortune.

It's hard to be publicly kind, when everyone else is being cruel.

To watch someone come to that realization and respond by throwing his hands up in resignation may be honest, but it's terribly grim.

It is not, as an aside, how everyone reacts in the same set of circumstances; in fact, there are many people who don't need for a childhood friend to be the victim of a har-har internet moment before they conclude that participating in mob bullying isn't a particularly decent thing to do. But people like that don't get columns in Slate, and, even if they did, they'd be regarded as sanctimonious killjoys, not people bravely speaking their own truth, or whatever rubbish was used to justify publishing this treatise on cowardice.

I'm reminded of an exchange I had with Iain some time ago:
Iain was sort of pondering aloud how he feels like his sense of humor used to be sharper, like he used to be wittier. I said, "Maybe you've just realized that some of the stuff you used to find 'witty' is really just cruelty wrapped in a joking tone."

He contemplated that for a moment. "Yeah. Yeah, I think you're probably right."

I have suffered the same death of "wit."
RIP lesser me.

Just the other day, I read a quote that really resonated with me, attributed to Abraham Joshua Heschel: "When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people."

Me, too. And I'm consistently surprised by the number of intelligent people who find reasons to rationalize not being kind, as if kindness is evidence of simplicity.

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