internet nastiness

July 26th, 2006

Great article by Andrew Brown investigating why it’s so easy to be a jerk to other people online:

George Meyer, the most admired writer on the Simpsons – and so one of the funniest men alive today – said in a New Yorker profile some years ago that television comedy has got meaner and nastier because it is now taped in front of a live studio audience. If the laugh isn’t immediate, it goes; and what’s recognised as an immediate laugh is something cruel. The participants in American sitcoms routinely say things to each other which in real life would have the recipient running from the room in tears – and yet, on television, they are greeted with roars of sycophantic laughter. The Internet gives everyone a studio audience in that sense. We are all among Friends when we type.

George Meyer is also credited with the infamous Simpsons “sandwich gag” (I told that idiot to slice my sandwich!), so I’m inclined to believe him.


4 Responses to “internet nastiness”

  1. Carrie says:

    Though I tend to favor the lack of social infomation and connection theory over the idea that our culture is simply devolving towards the highly irresponsible, cruel and thoughtless, I like that article a lot– it’s (perhaps ironically) well written and thoughtful.

  2. Nick says:

    Go to hell, Jeff!

    (Hey! That WAS easy!)

    I’ll try to think of some way to compare you to Hitler…

  3. Joshua says:

    God, I love that joke. It’s the perfect joke. Perfect!

  4. Evan says:

    I thought changing public to pubic was the perfect joke. Wait, maybe that’s Jeff’s perfect joke.