Somebody was rude to me on the internet!

by richardhutton

Somebody was rude to me on the internet! One moment, I had published a trenchant critique of established wisdom, explaining how the popular consensus was wrong about a certain novel; and the next, I received a barrage of disrespectful replies from common members of the hoi polloi.

“Before reading Mr Swift’s novel, Gulliver’s Travels,” I began, “I’d held strong suspicions that the travels would prove to be more fantasy than fact; and I am afraid to say my doubts were swiftly confirmed”. I thus continued: “I have to say that I was appalled by the author’s lack of citations. It was impossible to check whether or not this so-called ‘work of satire’ represents a fair commentary on the social attitudes of its author’s day. In fact, I would be tempted to conclude that Mr Swift was simply making the whole thing up. Nobody I know would ever be sufficiently petty as to divide an entire nation over something so trivial as the best way to crack a boiled egg”. And there the matter rested. Or so I thought.

To my surprise – in fact, disgust – the response I received can at best be described as dismissive; if not impertinent in every conceivable particular. Having read a number of comments to the effect that it was I – rather than Mr Swift – who had the problem, it reached a point where the effrontery simply went too far. One young ‘gentleman’ even had the audacity to suggest that I read the novel again – as if I hadn’t understood it properly the first time!

Consequently I contacted – in quick succession – the local council, social services (the office was closed, typically), the central library, and the local newspaper; before finally coming to my senses and dialing 999. I consider it my civic duty to remark that the inability of these respective offices to grasp the urgency of the situation offers irrefutable proof that they must be privatised forthwith. I would add that by contrast to all of the above, the sympathy I received when mentioning this outrage to neighbours was beyond reproach.

Far too many people are under the wholly false impression that this sort of thing exists only in the fervid minds of tabloid journalists, or the wilder elements of popular imagination; but my experience proves that it is only too real. In fact, this entire episode demonstrates everything that is wrong with our country, these days.

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