THOUGHT: DiscUSsion or – just digust?

DiscUSsion or – just digust?

I used to GET PAID for my public opinion that appeared in a printed weekly in news agent boxes on every bloody street corner, of every Ottawa city street stretching from the downtown out to suburban Orleans and Barhaven, and over to rural Perth, and into Quebec’s Chelsea and as far as Wakefield. Even across Canada to record labels, libraries and beyond. My words. My thoughts. Whatever was on my mind crafted in a confessional column style and critical thought to inspire conversation; debate in a “Letters To Editor” section and eventual online Comments section that I integrated in subsequent columns; and sharing. (Thanks Stuart Trew and Matthew Harrison).

And NOW?

Forget it. The change is this, and I’m not saying anything new. One public now-always-electronic word, one sentence out of place – and you’re blasted to high hell! The immediacy with which people REACT – not respond – is frightening because it closes the vented space in which dialogue can transpire and where two opinions can dance to an understanding. There’s no discUSsion anymore, just taunting. No learning, just abusing.

(See Ricky Gervais’ comedy show about posting the ad for guitar lessons in the public square and his comparison to the explosive reactions of Twitter).

Put another way, in our digital and virtual worlds, we’re not ‘sharing’, but merely PELTING our persona and one-way views that don’t benefit from the luxury of the back-and-forth with a real human face-to-face, nor the repair necessary for salvaging civility in a heated debate. Again, not new.

This, on the morning after an amazing four-hour visit-walk and talk with a mate hiking a mountain and venturing Montreal speaking of the current BLM, Nazis, activism, the pandemic and vaccinations, Rwanda and atrocities, Bolshevism, dating, feminism, Trump. There was room to be politically incorrect. To vent. To get it so wrong, and to have “Aha moments” of compassion for sides we didn’t see yet.

In this world of a shit-tonne of noise pollution, who is your sounding board? Your filtering-friends to help you sort out matters?

I’ve found the very groups shouting for visibility – and rightfully so – are often NOT the places I can go to learn more about their plight. I fear being turned away in a righteous, and rightfully-so exaggerated and intolerant, “oh please, lady! Figure it out!”

Reckon this is why Indigenous Elders were so valuable to a community. The passing along of information that we may never otherwise know for the seeming judgement out there that “well, you should JUST know!”

Do I know why the feck they changed Amherst to Ataken or that name that sounds like a Jedi? Do I know what bad McDonald did for his statue to be toppled? Do I understand why Steve’s Music store was looted in an BLM movement? Do I get why that girl in my old building defended her wardrobe malfunction of exposed bra and ample bosom as her ‘right.’

Good thing terraces and pubs are opening here in Montreal. That people can gather once again. Rather interesting how the blood boiled this past year with hot topics revolutionary in nature and yet — due to a mysterious spread of a mysterious bug — we all were disconnected from one another to TRULY CONVERSE and work shit out, relying only on the shit venues out there: social media, and news media.

Do you know what’s shaping your mind today? #CriticalThinking