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Chicken Soup for the troll

By Mike Braswell

Opinions have been pretty much disallowed since the advent of social media. In fact, 'Opinion' has become a 'dirty word.' People today feel that their opinions are being challenged when exposed to others' ideals. So every week, I cringe when I see my column under the heading of 'Opinion.' The heading 'Opinion' possibly makes some people skip the column entirely.

Opinion: A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on facts or knowledge. If you want to collect insults and even threats, let your opinion be known on Social Media. Everybody has opinions, yet nobody ever wants to hear anyone else's. The problem is that folks have forgotten what an opinion is.

In other words, an opinion is primarily just based on 'feelings.' That is precisely why we all have opinions because we all have feelings. How ironic is it that feelings have been disallowed in this new world of virtual 'friendships?'

True friends are those with whom you can share your feelings without fearing judgment.

The word 'social' originates from the Latin, 'socialis' which translates as 'allied or friend.' Well, let your feelings be known on social media platforms, and you will be attacked and ridiculed by those who think it is a crime to have any opinion other than their own. That sounds different from the definition of a friend. 'Troll' is the word that comes to mind. An internet troll is someone who searches for comments so that they can get you embroiled in an argument.

The ability to 'agree to disagree' has vanished from society. I recall one thread on Facebook that I followed once. “I Like fried chicken. It tastes so good," was the original post, accompanied by a picture that made my mouth water. The very first response was, "You are a murderer if you eat animals." It escalated rapidly until the animal rights chicken lover threatened to do away with the KFC chicken lover. She even threatened to "pluck you and throw you in hot grease." They both loved chickens in their own way, yet they could not allow the other to share their love for the tasty birds. In my attempt to lighten up the discussion, I butted in. Of course, that was a mistake. "I think that you both have fowl attitudes." That's what I posted, hoping that the two adversaries would see how ridiculous they were being.

I am unsure if my play on words didn't go over their heads, but I am sure they united briefly to insult me. Of course, they then returned to the escalation of the great poultry debate. Both of them cackled on about their opinions without a measure of empathy for the other's ideals. One would come up with some supposed fact and then crow about how right they were and how wrong the other was. They kept pecking at each other until I was sure that a physical confrontation was about to occur as each one kept knocking the other off the roost with their 'facts.' I finally got bored of being inside on a computer and flew the coop. I hope they ultimately buried the hatchet and gave up their paltry poultry battle. If not, both may have ended up in the soup.

Our opinions are ours, and forcing them on others is undoubtedly not the right thing to do. To discuss them rationally is fine, but as humans, we communicate best when we are face to face. It is too easy to say something out of frustration when staring at a screen like a zombie. Opinions are based primarily on feelings, and if we are to lose the ability to share our feelings, then we are destined to be taken over by teams of Artificial Intelligence based beings at some point. Our feelings and our opinions are currently the only saving grace for humans. So, don't make it so that people are too chicken to tell one another what they think. Opinions are not wrong or right. They are just opinions. The only person that can change your opinion is yourself. So if you try to change another's opinion, you might lay an egg. It's not worth letting feathers fly to prove you are right when there is no such thing as a right or wrong opinion. Don't let a little 'biddy' feeling hatch a considerable resentment. It's best to stay out of hot water.


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