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Posted: January 12, 2022

What’s with all the petulant frenzies?

Kootenay Crust

By Ian Cobb

Op-Ed Commentary

As we begin week 96 of the COVID-19 pandemic (Day 672), it is evident that a large swath of society is sick and tired, easily perturbed and petulant.

Much of the mannerless behaviour being exhibited is understandable.

Most people are not outfitted for life in Pandemia, with rules and regulations changing like a chameleon running across a rainbow and normalcy, always relative to the individual, sitting in a box in the basement labeled “2019 stuff.”

Loneliness and longing glower wildly through society, with record numbers of people dying from the quiet pandemic – opioids/Fentanyl. How many of those deceased were channeled into drug abuse due to impacts of the pandemic?

We are in a mental health crisis that won’t subside until this damned pandemic is in the rearview mirror and, obviously, we (the world) have a long way to go. Canada is doing a decent job in terms of vaccination numbers but we’re lucky members of the privileged club of nations.

With variants popping up like moles needing whacking and more than half of the world unjabbed, freedom of movement and freedoms, generally, are going to keep taking hits as we bi-pedal, thumb jabbing naked apes flail about at one another, the cracks of our egos showing as we bend over to proselytize and denigrate ‘the enemy.’

Add all that pandemic crap up with the warped, calculated hellscape that is the social media world (catch phrase: Schadenfreude for Everyone!) and whatta ya get?

An explosion of rudeness and disrespect, apparently.

It’s a stretch asking most people to consider others before themselves, but in this special time of ‘me me me against them them them’ the notion of civility, manners and respect have gone out the door, around the corner to the pub, but it’s closed, and then angrily down the street for a pop-up protest organized by an ‘influencer.’

Callous rudeness is all the rage, as is rage – toward masked, minimum wage workers deemed essential but also apparently deemed ripe for pissy abuse from thoughtless gits in need of a serious face slapping.

The cowardice developed on social media platforms where trolls can shout from their smelly holes ad nauseum, without once being punched in the nose, is now billowing from peoples’ mouths along with increasingly irrational and dangerous actions.

Not long ago, one would think twice or three times before deciding to start shouting his/her beliefs and/or demands at a stranger, no matter their particular appearance or standing in the world. Now it’s shrill barfing rudeness sans consideration of anything beyond their own existence.

Remember the horrifically mindless, heartless and soulless vandalizing of the Cranbrook Cenotaph in the early morning of November 11? To me, that personifies a growing and disturbing trend of shocking acts of disrespect in our society.

Arson is a word I’m publishing in headlines more often nowadays.

Another glaring example of disrespect came in Kelowna following its Remembrance Day ceremony, with a tone deaf, privileged fool showcasing her arrogance and ignorance.

Then there is the scorn and abuse being heaped on government employees and elected officials. While always a part of said peoples’ existence, and often for good reason, the type of abuse being hurled now also smacks of petulant privilege. Baby wants his/her bottle and he/she wants it now!

City of Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick took to social media recently to tuck into residents who see no harm in hurling threats and other abuse at city workers.

“A little peer pressure towards the abusers would help as well,” he suggested.

Naturally, some social media comment section geniuses concluded that instead of yelling at the plow driver, yell at the mayor.

Language is such a giveaway.

Why do you have to yell? What would you do if the mayor walked up to you and started yelling at you?

Who do you think you are that an initial foray into communication has to begin with elevated and agitated howling?

The City of Fernie last year removed the comments feature on its Facebook page due to rise in what it saw as hateful and threatening comments.

We media types are also currently enjoying a further plunge into the realm of the most hated profession again, as we hold the great sociological mirror up for an always determined minority of haters who have the habit of taking their personal problems out on us.

This column will surely generate some golden examples.

So what is the solution to this rise in ugly disrespect?

Social media rudeness will continue unabated as those platforms thrive on the chaos they create. The growing trend to politicize everything (who knew trying to deal with a global pandemic would become a left/right thing?) will continue until political parties find the courage and wherewithal to stand up to populist bullies and tell the egomaniacs to sit down and shut up.

We all process threat in different ways. Some people are all about flight; others are all about fight.

It’s time more people leaned fight than flight. Stand up for yourself; stand up for those you see being pointlessly attacked. Do not accept miserable, rude behaviour. Demand better of your fellow humans because mediocrity in intellect and attitude will prevail otherwise.

And for those of you who are prone to petulant frenzies, it’s time for you to sit down and shut up and contemplate walking even a few feet in someone’s shoes before judging and denigrating them in order for you to feel better about yourself.

– Ian Cobb is owner/editor of e-KNOW


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