The following words were written by KCPR DJ Gwendolyn Giles, who is perhaps better known as one-half of the two-piece punk rock band, Dog Party. Giles formed the band in 2007 with her sister Lucy, while the two were in elementary school. Over the last 10 years, the band matured and its notability blossomed. Last year, Dog Party went on tour with pop-punk legends Green Day.
Fame doesn’t come for free, as elaborated here by Giles:
What if a fourth grader posted a song on YouTube and you decided you didn’t really like the song she sang? What would you comment? After all, you are behind a screen, and you will probably never meet this little girl in real-life. At least one person decided to write, “Go suck a nut.” Somebody else decided to write that they, “Just can’t stand Dog Party’s new single and that it’s so horrible, it makes your ears bleed.”
What is it about the internet that gives us the entitlement to speak our minds and foster so much hatred? This is America, though, so we obviously have the right to free speech. Doing anything less would simply be un-American. I look at the comments on Facebook posts and YouTube videos and I’m sickened. It hurts. Not only do I shudder at the sheer brutality these comments possess, but I’m also whole-heartedly embarrassed to be considered apart of the same species of these so-called mind-speakers.
Perhaps it’s a combination of the most recent election and coming back from a tour with Green Day that put this realization into my mind. Internet trolling existed for far longer than either of those moments, but why has society normalized this kind of hate? Why must fame, or even success for that matter, coincide with having to deal with so much bullshit while society callously brushes any questioning to it aside with a well… it just comes with the territory.
A part of me naïvely hopes that people forget that their comments are aimed at another fellow-human, and that they forget that that person has the ability to view the comments – and that they will read those comments. After venting these frustrations with loved-ones, it was brashly pointed out to me that people simply don’t care. Do people forget that famous people have lives, families, even feelings?
Let’s be real here.
The internet is real-life and social media has regrettably become a hot house for real cyber-bullying. Oh, I forgot. It doesn’t count because they’re famous. Why shouldn’t it count? Famous people are just like us. They can even run errands in their PJs if they want to, so enough with this warped special treatment.
There is this marvelous thing called respect.
The lack of respect for individuals who are better known is not only found online. Social media has only enforced its normalization and frequency. The fact that people feel the need to make their feelings known is less surprising to me than the fact people conjure these feelings to begin with. What could possibly be the origin of evoking so much hatred upon someone? Do people naturally have a grandiose way of thinking sparking a jealously that has the potential to grow into a gargantuan flame? I really hope not.
Gwendolyn Giles is a KCPR DJ and Cal Poly graphic communication junior. She runs the KCPR airwaves on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 a.m. The feature photograph was taken by Cecilia Rogue.