I read something upsetting today, and it’s all about internet meanness.
Taylor Davis is a phenomenal violinist of considerable talent. Certainly, she plays mostly movie themes, but she puts her soul into them, and reworks them to make them her own. She hosts a YouTube channel where she shares her songs with the world, for free. That’s also good marketing for her CDs and tours. She shares joy and light with all of us. Go take a listen, especially to her versions of “Skyfall” and “A Game of Thrones.”
Today, Ms. Davis went on Instagram Live to show her fans her studio, work process, and answer questions. Well, she was bombarded with mean. As she wrote later on Facebook, she was “really surprised at the number of people who were saying really disgusting, perverted and hateful things to me while I was trying to show my newest project to everyone. It honestly made me feel terrible.”
There is no excuse for that. None.
That is just mean.
If you don’t much care for Ms. Taylor’s style, or that she plays mostly themes from movies, TV shows, and video games, that’s fine. If you’d rather listen to Lindsey Stirling or Jenny O’Connor, that’s great. Your entitled. Not every artist appeals to everyone. Personal taste is acceptable. But the solution is to walk away and not listen. That’s what civilized people do. It’s what adults do. There is no call for insulting Ms. Taylor, or anyone else. Internet bullying is not acceptable, under any circumstances.
No one deserves that. Not the teen posting selfies. Not the mother showing her newborn. Not the grandfather bragging about the bass his grandson caught on a Snoopy rod and reel. Not a violinist trying to make the world a little bit better. No one. As Ms. Davis herself wrote, “They may not know me personally, but I’m still a normal human being who has real feelings and emotions and can be affected by things like that, and it’s still just as mean to say something like that online as it is to say to someone’s face.”
If you would say these horrible things to someone’s face, then you’re a bully. If you wouldn’t say them to someone’s face, then you’re a coward.
Are you going to tell me that the same people who are still talking about the 2016 World Series and the 2017 Superbowl are cowards? The same people who spend millions of dollars of superhero movies and Star Wars are cowards? We like watching heroics, so why don’t we show it ourselves.
We the People of the United States are better than that. In our infancy, we tackled the greatest empire the world has ever known. We stood up to Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan, at the same time mind you. We defeated smallpox and polio. We put twelve men on the Moon. And now, we’re cowards? We’re as mean as those enemies we fought? Yeah, well, apparently so.
We are mean cowards, hiding behind our monitors like vipers behind rocks waiting for mice. This has to stop. Otherwise, it will only grow worse. It’s already begun to creep out from behind the monitor into the streets, where we shoot people just for what they wear.
Turn on the evening news and prepare to be deluged with vomit inducing scenes of meanness. That is our fault. We are all guilty to some degree. You and I. We can stop it today.
Spread a little kindness. Be courageous. Make that clerk at Wal-Mart laugh. Smile at a stranger. Be polite to that person in the Facebook thread, even if you totally disagree with his argument. We can’t stop all the meanness, or defeat all the cowards, but if we remove ourselves from the epidemic, it diminishes just a little bit. Then, the internet will be a bit brighter.