What passes online for opinion, analysis, criticism and commentary too often lacks logic, coherent argument, evidence, intellectual rigor or even simple honesty. It wallows instead in snide cheapshots and ad hominem bile, scurrilousness and schadenfreude, free-floating hostility and bullying disguised as wit. We’d like to imagine the internet as a tool for democracy and Platonic justice. But the blogosphere isn’t exactly Plato’s “Republic.” It too often “Lord of the Flies.”
Character assassination is not only a subculture of the internet, it is an industry; Gawker and its many churlish imitators have turned it into cheap entertainment. They may see themselves as shining light on hypocrisy, deflating pomposity and other time-honored justifications for satire, but the supply of stuffed shirts and hypocrites simply doesn’t meet the demand, so everybody is at risk.
Will you look at all those big words? Churlish. Pomposity. Scurrilousness and schadenfreude. The Ad Age copy editing team must take a hands off approach to the site’s blahgs.