2020 is a Toxic, Triggered, Gaslit Mess of Abuse and Trauma Oozing all Over the Internet
The barely literate mess that is anti-intellectualism loves buzzwords, an SEO banquet of meaninglessness on steroids going off like random fireworks. It splatters every platform it touches. Sometimes, it even causes words to melt into their antonym.
Terminology once the preserve of those who had studied the human psyche in depth, had degrees, and years of considerable expertise is being bandied about willy-nilly. As a result, we have people who believe someone disagreeing with them constitutes gaslighting. Toxic, meanwhile, continues to reinforce mental health stigma some 17 years after Britney Spears had a moment with the word and sang its praises.
Because bad boys always capture the imagination.
Now, toxicity is both reprehensible and covetable in equal measure, although Alexander Litvinenko would likely have begged to differ.
Doom and gloom buzzwords are conversational and societal polonium; we get dumber, our individual and collective mental health wobbles. One day, it’s gone and everything and everyone comes undone.
Perhaps we can stop it.
Trauma isn’t caused by being unable to get a haircut or sit in a coffee shop unless you’re a hairdresser or work in a coffee shop. If so, you’re on your feet all day, poorly paid, and people are rude. And yet, you’ve been unable to earn a living for months so that may be traumatizing.
Abuse isn’t being told to wear a mask either.
Dumb is single-handedly destroying the world’s lingua franca. We’re becoming incapable of communicating in nonconfrontional, non-transactional ways. Nothing gets idiocy flowing quite like outrage. Mix with fear, anger, and greed for maximum return on investment. Verbal one-upmanship is how conversations work now as people talk at or over one another without pausing long enough to listen or reflect.
Because opinions capture the imagination.
Opinions are like nostrils, everyone has at least two but grifters and politicians have all and any opinion they can get paid for.
Humanness is money, everything that is human is a commodity, with crudest crassitudes fetching the highest price. And yet, it’s so easy to fix we’ve never even tried.
Take the money away so words can return to reflecting courage and heart.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor now based in the Netherlands. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.