From the desk of Roland Rocchiccioli – 26 September
You need to wonder about keyboard warriors. They are so brave while they are tucked-away under their dark rock, anonymously spewing their bile out onto social media.
HOWEVER, when challenged, it is fascinating how quickly their bravado flees. Always, they are speechless with abject remorse, which it would be safe to assume is not necessarily for any psychological damage they might have inflicted, but for having been caught out. They are wretched, embittered cowards who lack the courage of their own convictions. They deserve the full weight of public opprobrium, and the force of the law where appropriate, and possible.
They are vituperative characters who should be pitied rather than pilloried. Most of them are so disgruntled with their dull, miserable little lives they feel an overwhelming need to denigrate; to shatter the existence of those whom they envy, for whatever reason. For the most part, their nastiness is a manifestation of a gross inferiority complex. Many of them are the underachievers in life; however, they are cognisant of their impact on other people. It is why they persist. It is part of their ugly plan of action.
A rhetorical question, but why would you give a fat rat’s clacker what anyone thinks about you? As the actor, the late Gordon Chater, always said, “I am too old, too rich, and too talented!” Why would you allow someone whom you do not know, whom you have no desire to meet, and for whom you have absolutely no regard, to define, even vaguely, who you are as a person, or any aspect of your life?
Premeditated verbal assault, in whichever of its various incarnations, should be outlawed with a punishment which fits the crime. For those who have been around the block and back a couple of times, and are imbued with a core of steel, it is tantamount to water off a duck’s back; however, and of greater concern, are those more fragile members of our society; those who, for multifarious reasons, are still finding their way in the world and are less able to cope with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune; whose role and place in society is still being created, and whose sense of equilibrium is easily tilted by an ugly anonymous bully.
That some are driven to suicide as a consequence is deeply distressing. It is impossible to imagine the anguish of parents whose much loved child has found the tirade of personal abuse and bullying too unbearable. That any young person, with their life and all it entails stretching before them, is so fatally overwhelmed by someone else’s malice is a warning clarion wailing to the world.
As social media becomes more pernicious the vicious circle of invective is increasing exponentially. It is the dangerous consequence of granting everyone, including the dull and the ignorant, a megaphone to the world.
The pen is mightier than the sword, and cuts deeper. Parents have a special responsibility to be sure their children appreciate the ramifications of their words and actions. They are like ripples in a pond. As for those adults who engage in the anti-social behaviour, we all have a responsibility. Regardless of relationships, we have an interpersonal obligation to name-and-shame such people. We must stop those mongrels who are prepared to dip their pens into the ugly well of vitriol.
Bullying has become the blight of our society. For some it is a form of blood sport; a perverse means of justifying an unhappy existence.
No-one is spared. I am waiting, patiently, to meet a local amateur actor whose personal assessment, having never met me, was less than charitable. Given the influential role he occupies in the community, he ought to know better. I care not; I want only to embarrass him – and I shall, I promise!
It is time. United we can make a difference; more importantly, it might save someone’s life!
Roland can be heard with Brett Macdonald each Monday, 10.45am on Radio 3BA and contacted via [email protected].