keyboard cowardice

Four years ago, we introduced the concept of the “keystroke mentality.” I was reminded, watching a plethora of college sports the past 48 hours…


“I fear we might be close to teetering on total, civility failure. The idiots are getting far too big a voice nowadays,” said Joe Tessitore of ESPN… Yes, of ESPN.

Tessitore spoke this weekend in regard to the college gridiron. He was speaking of how fans reacted to a student on the University of Michigan football team, whose error led directly to a win by the opponent in the closing seconds of the game. I wonder… where else are his words applicable?

“Fueled by irrational hate, and numb by a far too easy to kill by keystroke mentality,” continued Tessitore.

So many of us sit behind the cowardice of our keyboards — as opposed to meeting and dealing with people face-to-face, and we make all sorts of bold statements… except… the statements are not always factual and true — and while they may be factual, they may also be pointedly disrespectful of other people.

Our society continues to too often assert opinion in such a bold way, believing that what we say is good and true and right — and then justify insult if they feel differently. Friends, if our opinion evolves into the justification for insult, there is no such thing as equating to, at least the “good” or “right” part. We must quit using our perspective as a weapon. Such is the harm of keystroke mentality.

Just because… I can type it… say it… post it on a placard… doesn’t make it true nor necessarily wise to post or say. Ah, yes… the cowardice of our keyboards. I’m reminded of the insight from one of our summer guest writers a few years back…

“… Turns out Facebook confrontation are the same thing as real confrontations-go figure? Those arguments I was typing with the distant relatives of my best friend from nursery school? Turns out they were actual people and not just dialog boxes and the ‘discussions’ we were having were being read and judged by all of our friends. And you know what else? The only opinions any of that critical closed-minded dialog changed were of me and the others who participated in it. No one suddenly changed their entire belief system based on a Facebook argument. Shocker right?”

Shocker. Joe Tessitore made his statements this past weekend in regard to a college player who is only 22 years old. It matters not; the young man has been verbally eviscerated on Facebook and elsewhere…   

“I fear we might be close to teetering on total, civility failure. The idiots are getting far too big a voice nowadays.”

The reality is that the words said about the youthful player are the same words being said about those in office or lining up to run for office. With the 2020 Presidential election still over a year away, the thought of this keyboard cowardice continuing is exhausting!

Said again by my trusted friend… “Another Presidential election is upon us… Editorials are being printed in our newspapers and opinions, lots and lots of opinions. And slowly but surely, those one sided political posts are starting to make their way into my newsfeed. I shudder to think how this one will go. After all, we’ve had years to sharpen our blades and our social media skills. How many of us will let our passion trump our reason?”

I share in the shuddering — allowing our passion to trump our reason. When did we become a country that justifies such disrespect? When did we become a country where so many of us began either intentionally or unintentionally fueling this culture of irrational hate? When did we become a country where we couldn’t see the big picture? … where we couldn’t recognize that a game is just a game? … that political opponents are not enemies? … that we are called to love our neighbor? … and when we justify such disrespect?

I close with the recognition that the Intramuralist, for one, is thankful for the many fancy-dancy techno gadgets of this information age; I love my iPad, MacBook, and all things Apple. But when any of these impersonal keyboards provide the place for us to hide behind and the impetus for disrespect, something is wrong not with the gadgets — but with us.



One Reply to “keyboard cowardice”

  1. As you stated, it’s so easy to hide when people rarely meet face to face…sometimes not ever knowing the person you are dialoguing with. If you’ve never met them and never will, it’s far too easy to confront people.

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