Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The End of Empathy.

Just read The End of Empathy by Stephanie Wittels. It actually took me a minute to realise she's Harris Wittels' sister. It took the mentioning of an entertainment rag announcing his death for me to make the link.

Her piece talks about the seemingly impossible existence of empathy on the internet, especially in comment sections.

She's right. I'll often write something relatively benign on the Atlantic's comment feed and get a bunch of "Millennials are the fucking worst" and non-related rants about Muslims or Feminism. It's just, the worst.

Usually, I'll try and stay away from comment sections, but the masochist in me sometimes just can't resist.

I try and offset that type of rage or ignorance through simple, kind reactions. It usually works.

This one time I also just replied:


It was an honest reaction, and my sensitive, empathetic nature was worried about his blood pressure / rage haemorrhoids.

I don't think empathy is dead, but I do think emotional intelligence is a spectrum, and that crap people love being crappy on the internet, where they can rage-out and be ridiculous with impunity, and without getting confronted/called out or punched in the face.

I actually find empathy a great tool in confronting outlandish reactions. Especially in confronting anger/shittyness.

"Are you alright, you seem really angry."

And when people need to answer with how they feel, or why they feel that way, they change their angle.

Then again what do I know. I'm a liberal man-hating queerbones baby butthole - or whatever.

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