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Misanthropy: a side-effect of reading the Herald-Sun

February 13, 2009

I went through a stage of believing myself to be misanthropic.  I can’t remember why – it just seemed to be that, for a time, I found people to be mostly annoying, at best.  It occurred to me to change my surname to “Anthrope”, but then that would have required abandoning the title “Ms” for “Miss” in order for the name change to achieve any sort of effect.  Also, it would have required then being called “Miss …”, which was unlikely in that phase of my life, and would have been considered eccentric had I insisted upon it.

It passed.  I realised that I could tolerate most of the people I came into contact with, and actually liked some people rather a lot; that I was generalising the negative to the point of irrationality. I’m not completely recovered, though, as I realised this week.  Due to an insatiable need for news on what is happening around the state, I’ve been going to news sources I would normally shun and this has reactivated a generalised loathing of folk.

The Herald-Sun allows – in fact, encourages – comments on its online stories and this, I have discovered, brings out the crazy.  Suggestions that the bushfires are, in fact, an Islamic terrorist group’s work, complete with references to the recent Benbrika trial and sentencing and that, therefore, Muslims should be deported.  Suggestions that the aid offered by neighbouring Indonesia is inadequate when compared to the aid offered by Australia in response to the Tsunami.  Suggestions that any arsonists found should be tied to trees and left to perish in fires, presumably of the vigilantes’ making.  Suggestions that it’s all the fault of the Greenies, or Labor.  Suggestions that the PM was “faking” his emotion for the cameras.  Suggestions that those who “choose” to live in the bush shouldn’t expect assistance from those “sensible” enough to live in cities.  And more.  So much more.

I realise, now, that I’m not a completely recovered misanthrope; that I retain a tendency to generalise the worst of certain people’s intelligence and behaviour to the remainder of the species.  So, I will not revisit the Hun site – I don’t need the aggro.

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