Three lines down it all turns to custard

Three lines down it all turns to custard A Fictional Functional Family

Three lines down it all turns to custard
As an avid follower of the world of music, I read the music sections of a variety of international newspapers and magazines regularly and check out performers on YouTube. Many have postings from punters with comment on the band, the singer and the song. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly these go from nice, friendly enthusing about music to scalding comment, word weapon bashings and vitriol. Usually this seems to take around three comment entries.
The first posting might be about what a great band/ performance and how they are the best ever, perhaps even better than what's-their name. The second often supports the first but says something about there being far too much cowbell in the mix and the guitar player messed up the solo.
Then it's all on. Stirred by the battle cry of the bored and the fretless, what was sane and sensible dialogue suddenly turns to custard. The postings follow thick (or stupid) and fast. This often starts with someone sounding off about what a w****r this person must be to think the guitar player was better than you-know-what- his name who does that amazing solo in a rare and seldom heard track or does he have no ears and live in a dark and soundproofed room doing unmentionable things with a bunch of cats?
This crudely crafted riposte is quickly followed by another comment saying that both the second and third person know nothing about anything except (insert various obscenities) and what would they know about country flavoured, heavy hip hop, cross over harp and hand-towel music anyway?
The next lot of entries constitutes three rounds of low-blows, weighted with staggeringly inane failures in literacy on the merits and values of harp and handtowel music. Nothing is resolved and the exchange peters out. The reader is left to speculate on what has happened to these people following all this outpouring of hate and bad language on matters so trivial. Perhaps they found an interesting piece of fluff lurking in their navel became entranced by the potential of this discovery and went in search of a jar to put it in. Maybe their wife's/partners came into the room, saw what they were doing and unplugged the computer at the wall?
You think "what was all that about" and wonder if maybe these people need to get out more. You spend two seconds feeling sorry for them and move on. Then you read the comments under the next YouTube clip and see that the whole thing has started all over again with similarly caustic put downs thrown at anyone voicing warm and heartfelt praise for anything.
Those posting these comments don't use their names preferring to be known by taglines. Maybe being concealed behind this anonymity is what enables them to be brave and bold enough to cast their written hex on people they have never meet?
Examples such as these undermine all the talk of the power of the internet to enhance communication and bring people together. There are a number of pundits reminding us that he internet is just a networking tool. You can click the mouse to support a site, an idea or a movement but that is a gesture not an action. Just as waving to a friend across the street is not the same as crossing the road and giving them a hug, so the internet sites such as Facebook, texting or Twitter are simply superficial elements that contribute little to creating actual social change.
Examples of historic social actions such as the civil rights movement in the USA show that it is the power if people gathering to support a matter of principle that counts. Would Martin Luther Kings "I have a Dream" have had such power as a bunch of letters in a tweet?
Terry Sarten lives in Whanganui and describes himself as a reformed techno klutz. Email:tgs@inspire.net.nz

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