Remember when you were so important that Time actually named you Person of the Year? At that particular moment in history, media elites declared that the Voice of the People was finally being heard, and utopia was just a hop, a skip and a jump away.
Well, now they’ve heard that Voice, and they don’t like it, not one bit:
The response to [Shane] McEntee’s sad death captures how web users are viewed at the end of 2012: not as grown-up contributors to public debate but as the destroyers of public debate, even of lives, whose strong views are really just “intimidation”, whose arguments are a form of “terrorising”, and whose access to web-based debate is not a right after all, but apparently a “privilege”. Don’t you all know how lucky you are to have been allowed on to the rarefied plane of political and media debate? Strangely, both the old fawning over web users and the new demonisation of web-users are driven by the same thing: the aloofness of the opinion-forming classes. A few years back, sensing they were massively estranged from the public, politicians and the commentariat sought to engage with us via the web, in a largely phoney, flimsy fashion; now, recognising that they are still estranged from the public, more so than ever in fact, these same opinion-makers denounce us as trolls and write off web-based political engagement as a gigantic failed experiment. They have opted to stew in their aloofness, rather than address it.
Funny thing about stew: it invites people to stir the pot. Then again, anyone who’s spent enough time in a kitchen — in other words, anyone who can take the heat — already knows that.