Calling someone 'toxic' is probably the most toxic thing one could do, in that moment of confrontation. Usually one who sees themselves high up on a pedestal, looking down upon all of those they see as disgraceful, will throw that word 'toxic' around as if someone gave them the go-ahead to be what they'd like others to think should be frowned upon.
Personally, I don't like the word 'toxic' in that context. Mincing your words doesn't take away from the fact you're still attempting to insult someone. I see right through the mask.
A toxic environment.
A few hours ago I left a joke on the Steemitblog.
I said something like, "I'll offer Justin 40 STEEM for one ounce of truth."
The intention was lightheartedness. A little zinger. An innocent poke. A light jab. Some sarcasm. A bit of satire. All that in one tiny quip.
As someone who's attempted to write humor and be a humorist on occasion, for many years, I realize often the message I'm attempting to convey will be misconstrued.
It comes with the territory.
What makes writing humor more difficult around here on this platform is the fact many walks of life all intersect at the same set of lights. What makes one human laugh in Canada could be incredibly confusing to someone living halfway around the world.
What makes writing humor even more difficult here is the fact this is the internet. Some people seem to think trolling and throwing around insults is a form of humor. So when actual humor gets thrown into the mix, the joke could be misinterpreted as trolling. The humorist gets lumped into the pile of disgrace and ends up looking just as bad as the rest of the chaos.
If you want to be a lazy humorist or comedian, all you have to do these days to get a laugh is fill a room with one team and insult the leader of the other team.
Add in forced laughter and you got yourself a Stephen Colbert or maybe a Bill Maher.
Telling someone what they want to hear does not take skill.
Moving right along, we now combine political humor and the online world of trolling. What do we get?
The current toxic environment on this platform.
There's a lot drama in this world, now. People are picking teams. What's making one side laugh is hurting the other.
Humor is not supposed to hurt someone. A joke either makes someone laugh or it doesn't. I realize some people might find certain forms of actual humor offensive but in those cases it isn't the actual humor causing the pain, it is the human's own personal belief system and politics they brought to the table before hearing the joke that has caused them to feel uncomfortable.
An example of this would be if I wrote a joke full of profanity. Many people in our society have been conditioned to believe profanity should not be tolerated. There's nothing funny about this fucking sentence.
Someone out there just laughed.
In the context, the f-bomb wasn't used to insult anyone. The one-liner wasn't placed there to offend anyone intentionally. The line simply exists because the timing was right.
But I'm not writing this to claim I know what's right or wrong when it comes to beliefs. Everyone can have what they believe and I will do nothing to interfere with that. And to be fair, I expect the same in return.
I left a joke under a blog post.
If there's one thing I despise doing, it would be feeling the need to explain a joke to someone.
I left my joke there, went to sleep shortly after. I wake up, I check my messages, my jaw hits the floor.
Let me start out by saying I will not, under any circumstance, ever feel comfortable working on a platform that forces me to tiptoe around the number four.
I realize some members of this community have been throwing around fours, as a weapon, for trolling purposes, to get a cheap laugh out of those who partake in pack mentality and can't think for themselves.
I also realize there are one million and one ways to interpret something so simple as a number four.
Apparently in some cultures it's a sign of bad luck. Chain enough of those fours together and apparently that could mean some really bad luck.
I do not subscribe to those beliefs. In general, I am not one to be superstitious though there are a few things I do that might seem odd to other people. I do not use another human's belief as a weapon or tool to cause inner turmoil.
I chose the number 40.
Not to be disrespectful.
It didn't even cross my mind the number 40 could be interpreted as a sign of disrespect. The only time a 40 truly pisses me off is when I didn't notice the school zone sign asking me to slow my speed from 50 down to 40 and there's a goddamn cop sitting right there.
I chose the number 40 because that was nearly all of the liquid STEEM in my wallet at the time. What if dude takes me up on that offer? I have to be able to pay, right?
But unfortunately, the responses I received took the joke to a different place. The four I used innocently was converted into the 4 some have been using as a weapon to cause inner turmoil for certain members of this community.
Do not fuck with my freedom of speech.
It's bad enough I'll be judged for saying something like the word 'fuck'.
Now, because of the reaction my joke received, combined with the insights previously stated, would it be unreasonable for me to feel shame?
Yes. I think it is incredibly unreasonable that I had to wake up and change my original joke from a 40 to a 30 because some grubby online trolls with no class or respect thought it would be wise to make it appear as if my usage of the '4' stood for what they currently believe a '4' is good for.
I shouldn't have to put a condom on my microphone and tiptoe around not only profanity, but numbers now, too?
If I say 40 and someone comes along to cheer and act like I'm somehow attempting to be disrespectful to an entire culture....
I don't get it. Where in my '40' does it say it's okay to approach me and start acting like it's fine to be disrespectful on that level to others?
That 40 does not say what you think it means, so fuck off with your bigotry. Go have a clan meeting.
I can't even use a four...
without looking like I've done something wrong?
And somehow the use of a four makes online trolls think it's okay to chime in with their petty details?
It's clear the environment is toxic when something so simple as a number is being used as a tool to cause inner turmoil.
Being surrounded by all walks of life.
I embrace that.
Having the ability to create, then have that creation spread all over the planet within seconds with the simple push of a button...
One century ago that would have been classified as a miracle.
I love it. All walks of life are welcome in my world. People from every continent have viewed my artwork. That is a big deal to me.
I can't say I appreciate some of the trolling around here though. I can say I'm not alone either. I've read plenty of posts and comments. Many members don't feel comfortable presenting their work here at the moment. There are many reasons for that but creating a toxic environment is not the solution needed in order to bring them back.
We got enough on our plate here as it is.
Be a good person. Do the right thing.