Shame on the Internet

Shame-bearI’m feeling shamed right now. It’s not an overwhelming shame like I have to go to confession. It’s that dull annoying shame that comes from the internet. This particular bout of shame comes because I like shopping on Black Friday. There, I said it.

I’m not really any kind of super shopper, but over the last few years, as my kids have gotten older, we’ve found it a fun activity to do together. While I don’t remember many of the deals that we got, I remember how hard we laughed in delirious tiredness in the long line at Shopko a number of years ago. I remember the lady from North Dakota that I met in the line outside of Toys R Us who told us all about how the oil exploration was impacting her personally. I remember sending my son back to the car to get one of our extra coats for someone in line who was unprepared.

But we should be shamed for these terrible acts. Because there are people working in those stores who want to be home. Shame on us terrible greedy shoppers.

The shame isn’t just about shopping. Every other day there’s a new food shame. Shame on GMOs. Shame on antibiotics. Shame on this restaurant for having this ingredient in its food. Shame on cups for not having the right words on them. And shame on the people who want Christmas on their cups.

And there’s shame on big. Shame on big stores. Shame on big farms. Shame on big people. Has anyone shamed big buildings yet?

There’s shame on opinions. Shame on you for how you feel about gay marriage and immigration and refugees from Syria and racism and gun control.

Shame, shame, shame.

I recently read about a young girl, a teenager, who was shamed publicly by her father for doing some stupid teenager thing. She was shamed in an old-new fashioned way. He cut her long hair short, and then posted her shame images on the internet. And the internet follows you everywhere. She committed suicide.

I’m really interested in how our brains work, and sometimes how they don’t. I’m reading a brain book right now. I wonder how shame affects our brains. I want to see a picture of a normal brain (whatever that is) and a picture of a brain being shamed.

A couple weeks ago I attended a social media conference, and we learned about the art of creating a bridge of understanding with people, in an effort to be better communicators. We learned that it’s important to listen and be open to learning, to find a common ground where we can start a decent conversation with people who think differently. To me all of this shaming is like lighting that communications bridge on fire. It’s getting us nowhere. It’s divisive. Shame on shame.




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