Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Age of the Calvin Insult

I'm not sure who the first person was to hijack Calvin's image and use it to rain juvenile dislike on everything from sports teams to car brands, but I despise the concept. It's crass, vulgar, immature, and, most of all, it's something Calvin would never do. He's much too smart for that.

But, unfortunately, he's everywhere. This particular picture is a rear-window decal that belongs to someone in my neighborhood. I've never met the man (assuming it's a man, although in this day and age, you never know. In fact, I just read a glowing article about how nice it is now that women can be as raunchy and disgusting as any drunk fraternity brothers. Swell.), but I already know two things about him:

1. It would be impossible to have a rational and reasonable discussion of politics with him. Individuals who take pleasure in desecrating the name of the President of the United States have no interest in listening to opposite political views.

2. He has no respect for authority. Like him or not, President Obama is the President of the United States. I don't care if you can't stand his politics. No human being is deserving of having his name peed on.

If you disagree with the President, say so, respectfully. A thoughtfully laid out objection to an individual or his policies does far more to engender positive change than a junior-high-level insult, which, in fact, does a lot of damage.

Perhaps it's an extension of the age of the internet - things we would never say to our worst enemy in person, we can now say anonymously online. There is no accountability for anything that comes out of the keyboard these days. Spread falsehoods, start rumors, take things out of context. Everyone is fair game. And you don't even have to sign your name at the bottom.

We have lost the art of being able to civilly discuss conflicting opinions. Someone who disagrees with you on the subject of gay marriage is a bigot. Those who aren't in favor of health care reform are racists. You don't think your female coworker should get a promotion? Sexist. And, oh, my blood pressure! -- you believe it's okay to swat a disobedient child on the bum? Abuser! Call the cops!

Does anyone think things through anymore? Or is everything just a knee-jerk reaction to the assumption that all dissenting opinions are formed on the basis of hate and ignorance?

Well, I don't know about you, but I think Calvin could use a good spanking. Because, in my opinion, spanking can be an effective form of child discipline.

Disagree with me? Tell me about it. But sign your name.

And be civil about it. We could use more politeness these days.


MyDonkeySix said...

I HATE the peeing Calvin. It is so not Calvin. So does that mean I should just peeing on things I don't like? People are so crude.

fiona said...

Yeah, the peeing Calvin bugs me. So do comments on something controversial that people don't want to claim. I remember one discussion that was actually very civil, but the other view was pretty consistently represented by "anonymous," and I was pretty sure I knew who they were. I mean, were they afraid I'd go crazy on them, or condemn them for a different viewpoint, which wasn't even that far removed from my own? It made me laugh. As does all the uber-judgy stuff on-liners spew out.

kws said...

Oh Bonnie, I just love your blog.