Jerks, Filters, and Reasons Why


When you see something enough times, it plasters itself to your memory and multiplies.

Jack Kern, Staff Writer

There was a period of time a when the anti-bullying movement was at its peak, and one of the many things being drilled into the brains of elementary and middle school students was to “stand up against bullies”. You wouldn’t think it, but those movements were just as effective at stopping bullies as social media is at causing trust issues and backstabbing (which is very effective).

Anyone could say that the amount of hostility between students has gone down over the course of the years here at North, and it is most likely because of the arrival of new freshman, who have been packed to the brim with “no bullying” information every year. We all went to that Rachel Scott presentation in 7th grade. This movement, however, did not affect social media users. Anonymous accounts are created all the time that directly target people from our school.

There is a pattern there.

Things that you see daily get annoying, yes, but they’re nonetheless effective, despite our efforts to deny or ignore them.

People who are asked if they use social media and answer “no” immediately get a response along the lines of, “Wow, have you been living under a rock or something?”

The thing that differentiates between the anti-bullying movement and social media though, is that media is openly accepted almost unconsciously, whereas it took an actual sense of initiative to take part in the quote-on-quote “fight against bullying”. How could something as innocent as saying something ugly about someone into a screen even come close to comparing with giving someone a square punch in the nose, right?

And much less compare to shooting up a school.

Again, a pattern.

For the most part, this is because getting a social media account requires little to no effort compared to joining a movement, but it is also because so few people were willing to join a cause that is working against something that is so terribly feared. However, school shootings and even nose punches are much, much less common than unkind words or gossip, online or not. It’s like comparing the probability of getting struck by lightning to the likelihood that a dog will bark at some point in its lifetime.

Despite that fear, these same people felt that making a Facebook account was a good idea simply because none of the people at school had anything but nice things to say to them. No, they’d much rather go tell their dirt-bag friends about how much of a “slut” or “a-hole” they think you are. Or if they don’t even have the courage to do that, they’ll just tell it to the text box underneath the “Tweet” button. It doesn’t matter how nice or how popular you are, you’re risking yourself by having social media. I probably should not use the term “you” because then I would be a hypocrite considering I use Instagram and/or Twitter on a constant basis.

Have I been subjected to harassment yet? Yes. Do I doubt it will happen again? No. Have I seen it happen to others far more times than myself? Yes. Do I often wish I could kick the crap out of that self-loathing, ignorant coward who takes to social media to hide behind the cowl of some offensive username that they thought clever where they post insults directed at their peers to make them feel like a sack of shit while complementing others in the same place to make the people they just insulted feel even worse? Hell yes.

That is just the world we live in now. This is actually the most terrifying state the world has ever been in, with communication and information sharing being made so easy.  The scariest part of the whole thing is the how naïve to the harassment you’re placed under you can be. But things that are made popular get around oh so quickly, just like the now dead anti-bullying movement. You’ll know everything people say soon enough, because secrets are a myth in today’s world. Everyone is an assassin waiting to kill you with their words.

And with everyone out to kill you, you need to find shelter; something to deflect the sharpness of the outside’s words. Different people have different shields; some of those shields do their job quite well, while others crumble and tear under the weight of the dagger. For many its introversion, even isolation from others due to their misinterpreted understanding of the way other people are.

But why are we like this? Why do humans insist on breaking down others only for the sake of themselves? It’s an age old question and a question I’m tired of hearing, frankly.

Truthfully, I don’t need to answer it. Selfishness is a basic human default; the classic, “Look after you before anyone else.” mentality. It’s often not something taught to us, but something we teach ourselves. This story doesn’t have a happy ending. It can only have a slightly not-so-sad ending.

There will always be the jerks, and the self obsessed filter users. But a reason for them to be the way they are, in a general sense? That doesn’t exist; at least not outside of their minds.