Benign or Toxic?

For some reason I was watching a podcast/ video presentation during which the speaker was discussing benign versus toxic disinhibition. The discussion is called Why Internet Jerks Aren’t Going To Win and I guess I was looking over my husband’s shoulder or something, since he is a giant fan of Giant Bomb.

Because in my little world everything’s all about me, it got me to wondering into which category this blog would fall, benign or toxic? Let’s see…

The reason I started this blog is because I wanted to state certain opinions out  loud, but not in a context where anyone would know it was me or I could personally hurt anyone’s feelings. I continue to maintain that there is nothing more obnoxious than posting comments on That Certain Social Media Site that negatively reflect on how others are using the site. Sure, people do and say all kinds of irritating things on that site (see every single blog entry I’ve written) but it really isn’t kind to use that site as a forum to call others out for irritating behavior. I think it might be said that *some* of my motivations for writing this blog are benign. I don’t want to hurt the feelings of people I know by commenting on their behavior in a direct and personal way.

On the other hand, I’m really not very nice about other people’s irritating behavior on this blog. I’m sarcastic, I’m snarky, and I make jokes at the expense of others. Is that harsh enough to count as being toxic? I’m not doing much to spread joy, warmth and tolerance toward my fellow human beings. Unless the people who agree with me think I’m funny. That’s one kind of joy, I suppose. And maybe anonymous venting helps those of us who enjoy it to be more tolerant in other contexts, such as That Certain Social Media Site.

I guess my question is, does “toxic” always mean direct, personal, bigoted attacks? I think it probably does, and I don’t have a lot of tolerance for that in either my real world, or in this one.

It’s very hard to be witty and respect the feelings of others at the same time, I notice. Self-deprecation becomes tiresome, and it’s all too easy to count on other people to do and say things that create an opportunity for them to be the subject of your wit. Also, it’s fun to be clever and it’s fun to be outside looking in on what’s happening in your society. And I do find that it’s easier to achieve the feeling of outside looking in when one is writing under a pseudonym. And I’d like to think that anonymous wit doesn’t severely detract from any one person’s online experience.

Oh, look. I am absolving myself of being toxic. Sly and secretive, yes. Toxic, no. Benign, also no.

Thorny might be a good adjective. But in the online world, no one is going to prick herself on a thorn unless she goes looking for it.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy

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