I’m not a fan of social media. It’s usually a distraction throughout my day, and I really don’t need moment-by-moment updates from a loose acquaintance as they head to the store for milk. But I am on Facebook, because it enables me to keep up with friends and relatives, and also connects me with fan-based communities.
Recently, on one such fan page for a well-known fictional hero, there was a post that I found puzzling. It’s since been deleted by the admin, but to paraphrase: “I thought this was supposed to be a forum where we could share our appreciation of our childhood hero. Instead, I find myself and other conservatives being ridiculed, ostracized, and made to feel unwelcome by people whose political agenda disagrees with my own.” All this led the man to leave in huff, leaving behind an image of Donald Trump.
I couldn’t understand how he arrived at this offense. I have never seen any content swinging right or left. The admin suggested it had to do with a post from a few days prior, in which a single panel from a recent comic book was posted. The scene illustrated protests against the Nazis, and the person who posted it suggested it mirrored the current political climate in the United States.
So let’s examine that for a moment: one panel, a momentary snapshot from a larger narrative. Did the person who posted it suggest an agenda leaning left or right? Not that I could tell. They merely referred to how it reflects the many heated demonstrations currently going on in the U.S. Perhaps there is an implied correlation between Hitler and Trump, but the comic book writer and artist were not the first to make that connection. The comparison has been made ever since Trump began his campaign.
The angry comments also included something to the effect of, “Shame on the admin for not maintaining a place where all political views are welcome.” First of all, it’s not a political forum, so political comments are verboten (that’s German for “out of place,” kids). The Facebook page in question is about a fictional character, and commentary should be confined to that subject. Otherwise you open the door to ads for sunglasses and other forms of ridiculosity.
Sure, the catalystic post regarding protests may have skirted that boundary, but as I said, the person who posted it didn’t seem to take sides. They merely observed and reported.
I try not engage in political discussions, especially online, especially with people who do not know me personally. Too often, thoughts are expressed poorly, or misinterpreted in some way. So when I’m on a website devoted to Superman or Sherlock Holmes, I check my political opinions at the door, and confine myself to the subject at hand.
I respectfully suggest everyone do the same, and the Internet will be a much happier place. There’s already so much anger, bitterness and resentment in the world, there’s no need to create more.