Trigger-happy Gen Net

Sep 24, 2011, 09:28 IST | Rohan Joshi

The Internet is known for many things, most of which have surgically enhanced breasts that can be seen from outer space

The Internet is known for many things, most of which have surgically enhanced breasts that can be seen from outer space. The one thing the Internet is not known for, however, is maturity. If you wrote a carefully considered post on the pros and cons of say, the importance of the veil in female Islamic identity, the most mature comment you could expect on the Internet is 'Ur mom is an identiti.'

You've probably heard the old saying 'Opinions are like a**holes, mine is better than yours.' Okay so I made that one up, but that's the joy of being part of the Internet generation. You can say whatever you want without thinking twice because the Internet firstly, makes you anonymous, thus making inflammatory abuse easier, and secondly, makes it possible to get your opinion out to six trillion people at zero cost. Would you bother telling the entire world you "think traffic sux. So does karela. Jus took a gr8 shit tho" if it cost you a hundred bucks to say that? Some of you just responded to that with a "Yes" and to you I say, get help. Or a social life.

Personal space: The joy of being part of the Internet generation is that
you can say whatever you want anonymously and reach out to a large

But I digress. I only bring up the Internet because everyone on the web loves a good fight ('Ur mom is a good fight') and I do mean everyone. Spend enough time on Twitter, and you'll witness a good girlfight or two, and earlier this week, I witnessed one of the strangest. NATO had a Twitter fight with the Taliban. Yes that NATO. Yes, that Taliban. This is surprising for two reasons; 1. You'd think NATO would be more mature, and 2. The Taliban know the Internet was invented.

It wasn't even a particularly entertaining fight. They just threw links with boring statistics (creepily enough, about which of the two had killed more people) at each other, and then it was time for whoever handles the account to go home, so it just sort of... Ended. I, for one, would have preferred a good old-fashioned immature fight, maybe to the effect of:

NATO: Yo Taliban, u suk
Taliban: U look lyk horse
NATO: Ur mom look lyk horse
Taliban: MY MOM DARE SHOW U HER FACE? Impudent woman, I imprison her!!!

The fight is also disappointing because these are two firepower-packin', gun smoke-lovin' organisations we're talking about. One has an annual military spend of over 900 billion US dollars, and the other illegally shot and killed an entire West-Asian country. If you tell me NATO and the Taliban are fighting, I expect embedded journalists, significant human cost and at least one Oscar-worthy 'America is awesome' film starring Matt Damon, not two nerds who haven't seen the sun in weeks calling each other names. It's like telling me Michael Bay is making a $300 million epic with giant alien robots that also turn into Salman Khan, and then giving me a film where those robots sit by the beach and talk about the complexities of modern masculine stereotypes and their role in religious discourse. For six hours.

I suppose, however, that in an age where clicking 'Like' on a Facebook post about Anna Hazare's fast counts as protest, a Twitter battle between two militaristic entities should be utterly unsurprising. I can't wait for the day we elect our leaders based on how cute their display picture is, or how many people 'Like' their Facebook page. Some of our leaders have already discovered Twitter, including Narendra Modi, who, after the court turned his case over to the SIT, tweeted 'God is great'. Funny how he left out the part about Him not being great enough to bring back everyone who died in Gujarat in 2001 though.

The good thing about fighting battles and wars on Twitter (or indeed anywhere on the Internet) is that like most real wars that don't concern you, you can turn a blind eye to them, or just block participants from view with one click. Like I blocked NATO. And the Taliban. Because on the Internet, as in real life, ignorance is bliss. And in my humble opinion, karela really does suck.

Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo

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