I’ve noticed on Facebook in particular and to a lesser extent on Twitter a tendency towards a hideous self-righteousness that is driving me crazy. My town of Lymington has a Facebook page called Lymington Rumour Control that is supposed to be a lighthearted watercooler (or village pump if you go back that far). The plan was that local people could gossip about local events in a lighthearted manner, share a joke and generally get along with each other.
However, in the past year a hideous form of groupthink has arisen whereby you must agree to the following tropes or be denounced and verbally shat on by the scores of mouth-breathers who inhabit the site
- Our local community hospital can do no wrong
- All local shops and business are exemplary and must be supported even if they are feckless rip-off merchants
- The armed forces are saints
- Fireworks emanate from Satan’s darkest nether regions and should be banned as they scare dogs, cats and most importantly horses
- You are a Nazi sympathiser if you don’t wear a poppy for Rememberance Day
- Cyclists and gypsies should be banned from the New Forest
- …and the list goes on
What I particularly dislike is self-righteousness of these opinions. Who would want an animal to suffer ? therefore no fireworks for anyone. If we don’t support local businesses we will end up with 23 branches of McDonalds in the High Street. It is so thoughtlessly binary; A or B, if you criticise the hospital you de facto want to destroy the NHS. There is no debate or nuanced discussion; just for it or if not for, against.
Our local hardware shop Knights closed and people rung their hands in nostalgic outrage. The fact that the owners plan to sell the land to a property developer to build retirement homes is conveniently overlooked. The news was greeted with the same degree of shock as if the National Anthem had been replaced with Gangnam Style and Winston Churchill was gay. Now we have Screwfix, a national chain, that are open longer hours, seven days a week and are, as a result a great deal more convenient. But God forbid you should mention the fact as you’ll be denounced as some disloyal, bourgeois interloper who’s only aim in life is to destroy our precious High Street which as it happens is filled with charity shops and coffee bars.
So my message to the pseudo-outraged of Facebook is calm down and get some perspective or as they say so eloquently in the United States. Take a chill pill.