Internet Crusaders

Malcolm Durfee-O'Brien

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The internet is the singular most important invention since the wheel and has made people halfway around the world feel merely fingertips apart. However, it has also undone many human inhibitions that were common within society such as respect for differing opinions, timidity and, of course, restraint. This final thing I mention is what I wish to focus on, restraint and specifically restraint in admiration of a piece of media or of a person in the public spotlight and how this lack of restraint has begun to affect society as it has quickly become a leading root of human mistakes. The internet has become a place to deify and demonize and restraint is the way to cool both views.

Perhaps the most obvious occurrence of a lack of restraint is in fan communities. Now, being a fan of something is not a dangerous or foolhardy thing and indeed can inspire people to reach for new heights, however a new kind of fan has emerged. This new kind of fan practically worships whatever it is they adore as though they are its personal disciple, as though the things they love is God and they God’s disciples, Crusaders if you will, and like any good Crusader this new fan has no room for nuance. Other people are either fellow worshippers, those who agree with the fans, or are heathens who dislike the fan community’s deity and are therefore worthy of judgement or in modern terms have earned a right to be mercilessly attacked for their opinion which differs from their own. For instance, those who fight for Social Justice, which is itself a noble cause. Of course, confrontation and ignorance has started degrading the cause. People who fight for Social Justice now prejudge the people they speak to, exploding at them for not understanding what they are trying to say immediately after they say it. They begin yelling fits because people do not use the correct pronoun to refer to a person, even though that person who used the wrong pronoun had no way to know what was the correct pronoun to use. To get people to listen to your cause, explain it to them, do not explode at them immediately, that just breeds argumentation and distrust, once you attack another person you cannot convince them to change their minds.

These “crusaders” ignore facts of flaws in what they love, replacing these flaws with absurd explanations to defend the errors made by their favorite media and people. Take Donald J Trump’s early campaign supporters and his still present base, they did not want to believe that he was a racist or that he had made mistakes as a businessman or that he was a bad person, so they rejected reality and replaced it with their own. A reality in which Trump is the closest to a perfect human being anyone has ever seen and has already done more for the whole nation than a President who served eight years in office, a reality in which Hillary Clinton runs a child sex ring and drinks the blood of babies. In their reality, Donald Trump is the misunderstood underdog who is constantly under fire from the evil “fake news” and is truly fighting for the little guy. In real life, Hillary Clinton is not an illuminati-lizard-nazi-communist trying to take your guns and kill your family by personally unlocking your door to let an illegal immigrant inside to take your place and job as though it’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” but a flawed and capable woman whose good deeds and personal accomplishments are numerous. The fix for this is simple, stop being so stubborn, accept that things can have both good and bad qualities and that just because someone disagrees with your taste does not make them the devil.

The Crusader Fan also views themselves as superior for indulging in what they love, seeing anyone who does not follow in their path as inferior, both in mind, appearance and body. Take the fanbase of “Rick and Morty,” an interesting and creative show. However, “Rick and Morty” is not what you would call a “smart show,” though it deals with dark themes and deep issues, it is, in essence, an over the top parody of “Back to The Future” that regularly uses humor on the level of a twelve-year-old and even more frequently, fart jokes. However, the fans of Rick and Morty seem completely oblivious to this fact as they yell their favorite catch phrases and brag about how only the “get the point” of specific scenes and that they are superior to all because they watch and are analytical of a show in which they make a joke about a dimension in which hamsters live inside the human anus. These people aren’t superior and just make themselves look like fools.

This new style of Crusader fan is indeed a dangerous precedent and may cause suffering of many communities, suffocating moderation in exchange for fire eaters. This is what is poisoning national dialogue and creating seemingly unresolvable misunderstandings as the crusaders attempting to brutally massacre their heathens. Though the internet brought us together, it has simultaneously divided us. To stop extremism, we must stop the crusader fans and supporters.